Cloquet’s Erickson ‘throwing out’ all the stops
During last Saturday's bus ride, Cloquet track and field thrower Evan Erickson attempted to show distance runner teammate Jace Anderson how handle a three-pound discus plate.
"I've never thrown a disc in my life," admitted Anderson, a senior. "I didn't want to hold it, in case I dropped it on my foot or something."
Erickson, meanwhile, did something he's never done before: the freshman flung a personal-best 158-foot, 4-inch discus throw en route to winning the event at last Saturday's Class AA State True Team track and field competition in Stillwater, Minn.
Competing in what 10th-year Lumberjacks Coach Tim Prosen said was the first state True Team event in school history to his knowledge, Cloquet claimed eighth place out of the nine participating teams — eventually won by Totino-Grace — scoring 256.5 points, 18 of which came via Erickson's Herculean heave.
Erickson, a strapping 6-foot-4, 235-pound 15-year-old, has been throwing discus, as well as shot put, on the varsity team since seventh grade. His father, Dave, also a thrower in high school years ago, got him hooked, Evan explained.
"He talked me into it," said Evan. "At first, it was a backup plan for when I quit baseball, but after the first year, it became something I really wanted to do."
And he does it well, as evidenced by the freshman being named one of two all-Lake Superior Conference discus throwers Tuesday.
Also a defensive end and tight end for the Lumberjacks football team, as well as a defenseman for the CEC hockey team, Erickson has the perfect mix of pure strength and fast feet. He said constant weight training helps, along with hockey keeping up his foot speed.
In just four discus throws this spring (due to poor weather) Erickson has won three times.
He's just as strong with the 12-pound shot put ball. He placed eighth last Saturday and owns a personal-best toss of 48 feet. According to throwing Coach Andy Elias, Erickson is hoping to surpass the school records of 57-feet, 11 inches in shot put and 167-3 in discus.
"His goal is to break both," Elias said. "He has so much motivation and the main thing is he works so hard. He's still so young, but he's one of the best to come through here."
Erickson credits that to learning from former Cloquet High School thrower Thomas Udenberg, who advanced to last year's state meet in the shot put and continues to throw now at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
"We always text," Erickson said.
Like Udenberg did a season ago, Erickson hopes to see himself atop the Section 7AA meet next Wednesday and Saturday in Zimmerman, Minn., and to advance to state competition at Hamline University come early June.
"He's going to have to throw 150 [feet] in the disc and 50 [feet] in the shot, but he's very capable," said Prosen. "To have that combo of strength and foot speed is rare for a freshman."
Fellow freshmen Isaac Boedigheimer, Conner Denman, John Waltjer and Anja Maijala, among others, also have state aspirations as a part of a young class of non-stop, senior-guided athletes.
"They've put in a lot of time with us," said Anderson, hoping both the boys and the girls teams can qualify for State. "Some even do extra work, or even more than us seniors."
Including Erickson, and his too-heavy-to-handle objects.
"I love it," Erickson said.
"The crazy thing is, after his [personal-best] throw, his next one was 10 or 20 feet farther, but just out of bounds," Elias recalled. "He kind of just blew me away."