Track and Field getting into the swing of things

By: David Drucker/Contributing Writer

For the throwers on the track and field team this season, the expectations are record-breaking.

Head Coach Ryan Heberling sets the bar high for his team. To encourage success, he gives each freshman a certain distance to surpass in his or her first year of track and field. These distances just so happen to be the school records in these categories.

“The reason for [setting high expectations] is that we get better athletes, they push those marks further and further, and what used to be the best here is now normal,” Heberling said.

Throws and the type of athletes that participate in them are different from the other events in track and field. For example, sprinters can refine their speed, but most of them possess speed when they come in.

Hurling a javelin or tossing a hammer properly takes a combination of mostly strength and technique, both of which can be improved through the course of a college career.

Graduate student Chandra Fulwood is a prime example of this transition. She was a cheerleader who had never considered track and field until two years ago.

Fulwood had the typical thrower build though, so she was recruited and trained to the women’s team. Soon she found herself competing in shot put, javelin, discus and hammer throws.

“Here she is, a year and a half into her training, and she is really coming along nicely,” Heberling said.

Even as a head coach now, Heberling still works closely with the team. He coached the throwers for five years until he was given the opportunity to coach the collective team this season.

When Heberling was a student of the University, he started throwing the hammer and the javelin in his freshman year. His experience as both a thrower and a student of the University have been imperative in coaching up his men and women.

The women have a mix of experienced and freshmen throwers.

Junior Tiffani Hernandez is the women’s top athlete in the javelin throw. She won first place in the javelin at the 3rd Annual South Florida Multi-Cultural Games last season.

Some multi event athletes also excel in throws. Freshman Bejai Fray is a multi athlete who excels at shot put and the javelin. She was an all-state athlete in the shot put in high school.

Brittany Corbett is also strong at the shot put. She has potential to be a good javelin thrower in the future as well.

The men also feature some experience in throws. Senior Luka Mustafic and sophomore Sean Pratt of the men’s side will also look to beat their previous best distances. Pratt scored a 40.56-meter hammer throw at the Multi-Cultural Games last season – good for second place in the competition.

The men and women throwers are primed for a strong year. They have an experienced coach, a group of experienced veterans and an influx of talented youth. They will continue to prepare for indoor season until they hit the track in November.


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