SEATTLE - Washington kicks off the 2014 season this weekend with the annual UW Indoor Preview in the Dempsey, the first of five home indoor meets and the first chance to test where long months of training have brought the Husky track and field athletes. To preview the upcoming season, GoHuskies.com talked to some of the top returners in each event group, along with the event coaches. The throwers are next in line.
Youth reigns once again on the throws group, with javelin throwers Quinn Hale and Curtis Clauson the only throwers in their third years at Washington, and Clauson is returning from a redshirt season after an elbow injury. With the graduation of All-Americans Joe Zimmerman and Jimmy Brookman, Hale and Clauson, along with sophomore Carson Fuller will be next to carry on UW’s outstanding recent javelin success. Hale has scored at Pac-12s each of his first two years and reached West Prelims, while Fuller surprised with a big throw at Prelims to make NCAAs as a freshman and earn All-America honorable mention.
But assistant coach T.J. Crater, now in his third season, is looking for more points from the other areas of his group, despite the growing pains still to be expected from such a young group. Hannah Sherrill threw discus at Pac-12s as a freshman and is much healthier heading into 2014, and Jack Scheideman could be a big contributor as he was improving at every indoor meet last year before a knee issue forced him to redshirt the outdoor season. Another great recruiting class will certainly help that cause.
Junior Quinn Hale and sophomore Hannah Sherrill talked about what’s to come for Husky Throws this season.
GoHuskies.com: How has the fall training block gone for your group as a whole?
Quinn Hale: As far as javelin throwers go, our whole fall training was just to condition ourselves and to get into good shape. We’re now entering more of a muscle building, strength phase, getting us prepared for the next 6 weeks. It was a lot about getting in shape so we could handle more throwing. We did a lot of crossovers like running and hitting weights three times a week so that was good. So because we don’t have to compete in indoors, that was all about getting ready to really make some good strides this winter and then meeting in the spring.
Hannah Sherrill: I definitely think it is going a lot smoother than last year. Last year we were a really young group and this year we are still pretty young, but we have a couple more upperclassmen. We’ve just had lots of lifting, lots of drills, and not too much real throwing yet. But I think we are all really ready and strong.
GoHuskies.com: Even though the season doesn’t necessarily start for everyone this weekend, with the first indoor meet coming up, what is the excitement level like?
Quinn Hale: The shot putters have been working hard, busting their butts and really getting after it. Their season is about to start. I’m just chomping at the bit. This is going to be my third indoor season getting to watch and cheer them on. I think for the javelin throwers, we’re all really excited. We’ve been throwing a lot, and I think the freshmen are all really excited to get their first taste of throwing in a collegiate meet and seeing what it’s all about. I’m sure there are going to be some nerves, but I think they’re ready. Coach T.J. did a really good job getting them ready. I think they’re all just taking this first one to go out there, give it your all, and see where you are.
Hannah Sherrill: Everyone is just so excited. People keep saying, ‘one more week, one more week!’ So I think everybody feels really good about this year. There are a lot of really talented people so we’re really excited.
GoHuskies.com: What are some areas that you think could see some improvement this season compared to last?
Quinn Hale: We are a young team this year on the throws side, both for the men and women. We’ve got three freshmen on the men’s side Campbell, Boyden and Brosseau, and they’re all working hard and seeing a lot of improvement. It’s tough making that move up in weight with their events. Then learning the weight throw, but they’re really making some strides. Then we’ve got newcomer Brian Hutchison coming from Cal Poly, and he’s exciting to watch, a good guy to have at practice. Jack Scheideman is coming off of knee surgery so that’s really exciting to see where he can go, picking up from last season. He was making some really good strides, and I think he is going to have a really good year. And then Rob Henderson is looking really strong. I think he’s going to be ready.
Hannah Sherrill: I think overall, as a whole, we are a lot more confident. This last year I think we were lacking a little bit, but in all our eyes we have the best coach in the world. He is really making us prepared and doing everything he can to fill those gaps.
GoHuskies.com: What returners might take a big step this season or surprise some people?
Quinn Hale: I think Jack Scheideman is going to have a really great year. I live with him and see how hard he works and how hard he gets after it day in and day out. I think Curtis (Clauson) coming off of surgery is really going to get after it. There have been some improvements on his technique this year and helping him get away from what caused his first injury. I think he’s going to come out and surprise some people. Carson Fuller is just going to take up where he left off. For him it’s about keeping consistency and staying near that 70-meter mark and above. But I think the throws group in all is going to be very exciting.
Hannah Sherrill: I really think Jack is due for some big throws. He had his injury last year that kind of kept him from doing what he can. But this year, he’s doing really well. We’re all really excited to see what he can do. On the women’s side, I think Bev and Alyx are due for some big shot put throws. They definitely look good in their training.
GoHuskies.com: How have the freshmen adjusted so far and fit in with the group? It’s a large class of throwers to be sure.
Quinn Hale: Good, there are some quiet ones and some loud, just different personalities. But all in all, they’ve meshed in pretty well. They’re close in age, a tight group, living in the dorms together. They fit in well, they work hard and get after it in the weight room and I think they do a good job. Everybody that has come in has done a really good job of fitting in. I like the chemistry that the team has right now.
Hannah Sherrill: We’ve got a lot of really talented freshman. I was surprised when I heard their marks from high school. Everyone on the team just looks like they’re fitting in really well. They’ve adapted to the training and heavier implements really well, for the boys. The girls’ side looks really promising and they keep throwing their PRs in practice. With Gina Flint it’s exciting for me to have someone to compete with in the discus.
Questions With Coach Crater
GoHuskies.com: What are your thoughts on the fall training months and the work the group put in?
Coach Crater: I think we started off pretty rough. Nothing that the kids could have done, we’re just a big group, and we’re so young, we have eighteen throwers, fifteen of them are sophomore or younger. But we survived the conditioning portion, and I’d say in the last three or four weeks I’ve started to feel like we’re starting to get rolling and see what I’ve been hoping to see for a while. I’m happy that it’s slowly building. Some of the returners look really good right now, some of the freshmen are showing flashes of some good stuff with some struggles in between, but that’s kind of what you expect.
GoHuskies.com: The men obviously have a few more experienced guys, but graduated a couple leaders in Joe Zimmerman and Jimmy Brookman, so who do you see stepping up in the group?
Coach Crater: I think Quinn (Hale) has done a really good job of stepping in and trying to be the leader when he can. Curtis (Clauson), being injured last year, I think he’s just at the point where he’s confident enough in himself to really believe he’s back, and he’s starting to step up. Jack Scheideman’s done a really good job just being the quiet leader, leading by example. He’s healthy again after last year. So I think we’ve got a good core of three or four guys. Brian Hutchison’s done a good job stepping in as the new guy, but Quinn’s kind of the old, sage veteran right now and Curtis right there with him, they’re doing the best they can with the javelin side of things.
GoHuskies.com: What’s the key to getting so many new throwers acclimated?
Coach Crater: I’m just trying to keep our expectations as clear as possible, and keep consistency in their training. Keep things steady and reliable, and give them time to settle in. I think we’ve got a very talented freshman class, but it’s big, and there are some people that aren’t going to be quite ready to get after it this year, but we have some people that are going to be ready to be contributors, so keeping things consistent is big. Keep them healthy and let them keep progressing the way they have through high school and I think we’ll see some cool stuff. Dan (Boyden) and Gina (Flint) are the two young pups that we’re going to throw into the fold here early, and those are two people that we expect to lean heavily on this year. I want to see that what they’re bringing to the table Monday through Friday is going to show up on Saturday, and if that happens then we’re in a good spot.
GoHuskies.com: Jack Scheideman is someone who Quinn and Hannah both thought was looking good so far.
Coach Crater: Jack last year indoors was starting to surprise me. What I saw him capable of doing. Unfortunately the knee caught up with him. He got himself healthy three months ahead of schedule to compete and throw. He’s been nothing but determined, and he has been focused beyond belief. I’m seeing him operate how I’ve seen some other guys I’ve coached that have gone on to a high level, he’s starting to operate that way. So I wouldn’t be surprised to have him be a breakout story and get a lot of who-is-that-guy? type looks.
GoHuskies.com: Carson Fuller broke out with a huge PR at prelims and made it to NCAAs last year, how is he looking to build on that?
Coach Crater: Carson realizes one throw is what it was. I give Carson all the credit in the world for putting that throw together, but he realizes that his body of work is that one throw right now. He knows he didn’t score at Pac-12s, he knows he didn’t make the All-American podium. He did some really cool stuff for us, but I think that was the biggest moment of his life as far as turning the light on for what it really takes. He came back this fall knowing that he needs to be a better thrower every day, not just when he lines one up, and he’s really done a good job of putting the focus on being a better javelin thrower, not just throwing farther. He’s taking a pretty heavy academic load this year, and it’s been tough to keep him training consistently, but he knows what he’s trying to do to become a more reliable thrower. His upside is as high as it’s ever been, but we just have to get his bad throws better, and more reliable on the off days.
GoHuskies.com: How is Hannah Sherrill coming along in her second season?
Coach Crater: Hannah probably had the roughest physical and emotional freshman year I think I’ve seen anyone go through. Had she not been injured, or had we identified the injury earlier, we probably would have redshirted her just to salvage that year, but unfortunately we didn’t, so she toughed it out, as tough as anyone I’ve seen, through some really dsifficult conditions. But she is healthy right now, she is as fit as I’ve seen, her, she is as happy as I’ve seen her, she just made the Dean’s list, her training is going fantastic in the discus, her shot is coming around, so I’m really excited to see what Hannah is capable of. Last spring has done so much for her toughness and her perspective and confidence; I’m really excited to see what she can do this spring.
GoHuskies.com: The women’s group being especially young, what kind of challenge is that from a leadership perspective?
Coach Crater: That is my one sticking point right now is I don’t have a clear cut leader who is going to take the reins confidently. I think Hannah has done a good job with Gina and some of the javelin girls as far as being there to look over their shoulders a bit. But Alyx (Toeaina) and Bev (Coleman) have done a good job, and Carolyn (Gravelle), and it’s kind of been by committee, but we need that leader. I think that will emerge this spring and it will be someone that will be throwing far and has the respect of the group, and also the guts to stand out in front and take that role, not just leave it up to me where I’m trying to monitor everybody at once. I’m looking forward to this group maturing. It’s good that we’re talented and have a good future ahead of us, but it’s bad the fact that half of our team hasn’t been there. Hasn’t been to a college meet, doesn’t have someone to look to. The sophomores are a little better, but they’re not hardened seniors. It’s been a good stress, and it’s going to be a roller coaster of big ups and some downs and if we can limit the downs I think we’re going to be a pretty good group, and contribute to our team in more ways than the javelin.