Work in progress for many freshman throwers

BY AMY TIFFANY | MARCH 29, 2011 7:20 AM

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The wisp of a discus off the hands of an Iowa thrower drove down the inner-field at the Cretzmeyer track on Monday afternoon.

With a cool breeze and temperatures around 40 degrees, it was, according to the throwers waiting for their turn, a nice day. For the last few weeks, the Hawkeyes have been practicing outside, rain or shine.

“I think we’ve had maybe one practice inside since we started going outside,” said assistant coach Scott Cappos, who works with the team’s throwers. “So they’re pretty tough.”

The throwers, specifically, compete in three events unique to the outdoor season: the javelin, discus, and hammer throw. They also compete in the shot put, which is both an indoor and outdoor event. But there is no weight throw in the outdoor season like there is indoors.

Instead of having to be stationary in one closed area of the Recreation Building, where the flight of their implements often cross, they throw lighter weights and have more room to move around.

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Saturday will mark their first competition of the outdoor season. Seven members of the women’s team will travel to the LSU Invitational, two sophomores and five freshmen — three of whom are redshirts.

While the Hawkeyes’ inexperience may be a factor this year, they have improved depth. Only two current members of the team competed in the outdoor season least year: sophomores Majesty Tutson and Rachel Curry.

Tutson, who will compete in the hammer and discus this weekend, said she enjoys the outdoor season more because the weights travel farther.

“It amazes me more to see things go 200 feet,” she said and chuckled.

Freshman Courtney Fritz, who will compete in the discus and hammer, also said she enjoys the outdoor season more. She has been throwing the discus since seventh grade, and she started learning hammer this year.

Cappos expects the discus to be the Hawkeyes’ deepest event. Tutson also favors the discus, with good reason — “It’s the one I’m best at,” she said.

Iowa has five athletes who can compete in the event, and it also has five who can compete in the hammer.

“Majesty is probably the most ready to do some big things in [the discus],” Cappos said. “And I think Kelsey [Taylor] and Jasmine [Simpson] are ready to do things in the hammer.”

With eight throwers on the roster, the main goal for the Hawkeyes is to master technique with the newer throws, such as hammer and javelin. Because there is no javelin and hammer throw at the high school level in Iowa, it’s often new for the team’s throwers, many of whom are native Iowans. The fortunate side of this is throwers don’t enter with bad technical habits, Cappos said.

But at most high schools, there is the shot put and discus, so if an athlete has a poor high school coach, she can come in with bad habits that are hard to break. Working on the techniques of all four throws take time, but Tutson said learning the new techniques of javelin and hammer is one of the things that makes the outdoor season so great.

“Having two sophomores and five freshmen, I just want to see what they can do [at LSU],” Cappos said. “We have practice throws, and then you have competition throws, and we’re hoping they move up from their practices throws at a meet.”

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