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Hammer time for track and field thrower


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Strawberry Point, Iowa, may be renowned for at least a few things.

If one is that it’s home to the world’s largest strawberry, weighing in at 1,430 pounds, then the other is that it’s the town Iowa track and field thrower Matt Banse calls home.

The sophomore has been on a roll lately, winning the hammer event the past three weekends. At this rate, he might hold the Hawkeye record sooner rather than later.

“That’s my main goal,” he said. “I think if I keep progressing the way I am, I can take down the school record.”

The youngster is beginning to figure out his technique, and the results are getting better each meet. After dominating at tiny Starmont High, Banse made his way to the Iowa campus.

He noted the jarring difference between the two towns, especially because Strawberry Point might be one of the few places on Earth that doesn’t have a McDonald’s.

“It was definitely an eye-opener coming from a small town,” he said. “I had 46 people in my graduating class, so I basically knew everyone in my class down through seventh or eighth grade by name and face.”

Since coming to Iowa, Banse has learned some new faces who have helped him elevate his skill. One of those teachers is throwing coach Scott Cappos.

“He’s improving his technique and training,” Cappos said. “He’s working hard at getting stronger, and things are starting to fall into place.”

Cappos said the throwers try to peak near the end of the year in preparation for the Big Ten championships, so it’s no surprise to see Banse is improving this late in the season.

“We are going to focus all our training from the past nine months on getting the athletes ready for the outdoor championships,” he said.

An athlete who throws with Banse, sophomore Ryan Lamparek, noted the athleticism and intensity Banse has displayed in practice has seamlessly transferred to competition.

“He has the ability to do what he needs to, to win under pressure,” Lamparek said. “For example, this past meet he came though on his last throw to win the meet.”

Banse is extremely competitive, Lamparek said, and this year, that has brought out his athletic proficiencies.

Banse’s patience and perseverance has affected other aspects of his life. After arriving at Iowa, he has not only found comfort on the track but in the woods and on the water as well.

A true outdoorsman, Banse and a few other throwers make their way out to public land to hunt geese and ducks. His obsession could turn into a future career for the young Hawkeye.

A hunter from a young age, Banse said, there wasn’t much else to do in a town of about 1,400 people.

“My passions are track and field and hunting and fishing, and I can’t imagine doing anything other than that,” he said. “I’d love to be on a hunting or fishing show, or work for a hunting company.”

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