Competitive throws team trains, prepares for bigger meets
While most of the Gophers men’s track and field team will travel to either Iowa or Wisconsin this weekend to compete, one section of the team is taking the weekend off.
The throwers will not be heading to the Bill Bergan Classic in Ames, Iowa, or the Warren Bolus Open in Menomonie, Wis., but their weekend will hardly be a break.
The “off” week is so the team can completely train through the week, assistant coach Lynden Reder said in an email. The team will lift weights Saturday as well.
“January is really used to get guys strong and throwing well again after the holiday break,” Reder said in the email. “And then February will be fine-tuning things and getting them more explosive as we head into the championship meets.”
Reder said sacrificing results for more training in the beginning of the season makes for better performances at the end of the season.
But throwers junior Jon Lehman and seniors Quentin Mege and Micah Hegerle have still managed to notch some impressive distances.
In fact, Lehman achieved the farthest weight throw in the NCAA this season at 20.74 meters during one of the first meets of the season.
While Lehman earned his first Big Ten weekly award for his performance, his success is following that of his teammates.
Mege is a two-time Big Ten outdoor champion in the hammer throw and is the school record holder in the event. Hegerle is a two-time Big Ten indoor champion in the weight throw and holds the school record for that event. He’s also a Big Ten outdoor champion in the hammer throw.
“This will be by far the best group,” Reder said about this year’s team. “In fact, I joke with a lot of the coaches. … I’ll tell them this is definitely the high watermark. We’ll never be this good again, I’m 32, and it’s all downhill from here.”
Hegerle said what makes this group successful is the driven dynamic.
“I think we’re all just super competitive,” Hegerle said. “It’s nice to see guys do well, but at the same time you want to do just as well.”
Lehman said wanting to outdo his teammates helps everyone push each other in practice and earn better marks at meets.
But the main goal is never individual accomplishment.
“Our main goal as a team is to win a Big Ten championship,” Lehman said. “I mean, we all would like another ring.”
All three have experienced success, but Reder said they all have a different style.
“Quentin is an outstanding technician and not necessarily a powerhouse strength-wise,” Reder said. “Where Jon is at the opposite end of the spectrum where he’s maybe not quite as good of a technician yet, but he’s 6 feet 5 inches and 280 pounds … and then Micah is kind of the hybrid of the two.”
Mege, voted a team captain this year, almost didn’t come back for his fifth year of eligibility in order to take a job. But the calm he finds in the throwing circle was enough to lure him back.
“The fewer things I’m thinking about means the more I’m ready to go,” Mege said. “So I just kind of enjoy the sensations I get during a throw.”
The indoor season may have just started, but the three throwers know there is a lot of anticipation surrounding their results this season.
“I think there’s definitely an expectation,” Hegerle said. “It’s easy to look ahead and psych ourselves out and feel like we need to repeat … but at the same time we just need to go out and compete at the meet we’re at.”