Cloquet's Udenberg takes best shot at section track meetChanneling his inner Magnus ver Magnusson, Cloquet senior Thomas Udenberg strode into the shot put ring for his final toss of the Section 7AA high school track and field meet Wednesday at Malosky Stadium.
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
Channeling his inner Magnus ver Magnusson, Cloquet senior Thomas Udenberg strode into the shot put ring for his final toss of the Section 7AA high school track and field meet Wednesday at Malosky Stadium.
As the next-to-last competitor, Udenberg already knew he had qualified for next week’s Class AA state meet by finishing in the top two. But Udenberg also knew he had unfinished business, such as failing to surpass 50 feet during a five-year varsity career and psychologically needing to defeat rival Brady Thomsen of Grand Rapids.
With a career-best heave of 51 feet, 5 inches in the preliminaries, Thomsen led the competition by nearly 2 feet before Udenberg uncorked a mammoth toss of 53-4 to win the event.
“It’s such a mental game,” the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Udenberg reasoned. “You can’t just go into a meet expecting to win. I did that earlier this year and I lost to Brady (in the section True Team meet) and that motivated me. I made it my goal not to lose to him again.
“I told myself before the meet that this would be the one meet that I would be satisfied with second, but then I realized that it’s just not in me to take second.”
Udenberg and Thomsen will represent the section next Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Udenberg played offensive and defensive line in football and used to play baseball before separating his shoulder three times and tearing an AC joint. That hasn’t affected his throwing motion, however.
He threw 49-8½ at last year’s section meet but hadn’t hit 49 again until Wednesday’s preliminaries.
“For the last five years I’ve put everything into this … and the last three years I’ve been trying to break 50,” said Udenberg, who plans on throwing at Wisconsin-Superior next year.
He threw 57 feet in practice once last year and consistently has tossed over 50 when there’s no pressure. Perhaps now that he’s broken through that psychological barrier he will continue to improve, Cloquet throwing coach Andy Elias said.
“He’s been doing it in practice for a long time; he just hasn’t done it in a meet yet,” Elias said. “But he works so hard that he deserves it more than anybody. I knew he had it in him — he’s got 60 in him.”
Thomsen might have better throws in him, too. After reaching only 46 feet a year ago, the junior switched from a glide to a spin technique and gained 5½ feet.
Throwing coach Dan Jinks says Thomsen is the first Grand Rapids athlete to have that much improvement with the spin, a technique last year’s section champion Thomas Anderson of Andover used in setting a state record of more than 65 feet.
“He’s just scratching the surface right now,” Jinks said. “He’s very dedicated to weightlifting, is an outstanding listener and makes the adjustments necessary. You have to push him out of the ring because he’ll practice forever.”
Thomsen, an offensive and defensive lineman, admitted he thought he had the meet won before Udenberg’s monster effort. But he was still satisfied in qualifying for his first state meet.
“I had an excellent day; everything came together nicely in those first three throws,” he said.
Denfeld’s halverson clears
12-2 to win pole vault title
Duluth Denfeld junior Ben Halverson cleared 12 feet, 2 inches to win the boys pole vault title by 4 inches over Cambridge-Isanti sophomore Cody Hemmelgarn.
Halverson’s effort helped the Hunters to sixth place in the team standings after the first four finals were held. All other event finals are Saturday at Malosky Stadium.
Other highlights included: