Friday, February 15, 2013

PLU throwers must rely on depth

by Brandon Adam, Sports Writer
     Pacific Lutheran’s season for the throwing events in track and field is looking up, despite a number of injuries and sicknesses that have plagued the team.

    With the March 1 season opener just two weeks away, the injuries and illnesses have hindered the players from performing well in practice.

        “We’ve had some significant injuries in the past couple days,” head throwing coach Dan Haakenson said. “There’s a bunch of people that are sick and haven’t been able to train real well.”

    Senior thrower Ryan Ransavage sustained a broken leg during practice and underwent surgery. It is unlikely that he will return this season.
Kyle Peart practices the hammer throw at practice on Tuesday. “He [Ransavage] was definitely someone that everyone looked up to,” Peart said of his injured teammate. Peart competed in the hammer throw in the 2012 NCAA Div. III Track and Field Championships.

    Ransavage excelled in the hammer throw last season as a junior, throwing 179-1 feet in the 2012 NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships.

    “It [injuries and illnesses] just means that other people have to step up and work harder to prevent injuries and score more points during conference,” sophomore thrower Tevon Stephens-Brown said.

    As a first year, Stephens-Brown broke the freshman record in shot put with a distance just over 48 feet. He said he is looking to qualify in the shot put as well as the discus and hammer throw in conference.

    Last year’s champion of the hammer throw, junior thrower Kyle Peart, is willing to take on a leadership role with Ransavage gone, though he said it will be difficult to adjust.

    “I’d win a meet, and he’d win a meet,” Peart said. “He was definitely someone that everyone looked up to.”

    The roster is still formidable without Ransavage. Peart also scored high in the hammer throw last season. Peart beat Ransavage with a distance of 185-4 feet and placed fifth in conference.

    Stephens-Brown was also able to place in the top 25 during the national meet for shot put, hammer and discus.

    Other notable returning players for this season on the women’s side are junior Samantha Potter, who placed fourth in the discus throw, and senior Jorgina Moore, who placed ninth in the hammer throw.

    Coach Haakenson said his goals are clearly stated for conference and still has an optimistic view of the upcoming season.

    “We gotta do well at conference,” Haakenson said. “That’s the big show.”

    Haakenson said he hopes his throwers will score over 100 points this season. Last year the throwers produced 95 points.

    “It [the points] will be hard to get without Ryan, because he’s a big point producer,” Haakenson said.

    Even with Ransavage out of the picture, Haakenson is determined to keep the scoring goal.

    Haakenson said he thinks there are “a lot of people on the team that can win the conference championship.”

    Pacific Lutheran’s first track meet is at the Linfield Erik Anderson Icebreaker on March 1 and 2.  The PLU Invitational, the lone home meet of the year, is a week later on March 9.