The men’s and women’s throws group is among the top in the nation and they have no plans to stop the ascension.
The North Dakota State men’s track and field throwers ranked number one in the country, as a team, in the shot put and weight throw half way through the indoor season. The women’s team was right there with them, ranking second in the shot put and first in the weight throw.
NDSU is becoming a hotbed of talent for track and field throwers across the nation and the rise has been steady since the Division I transition. Throwing marks by underclassmen tell us this program is going to be near the top for year’s to come.
A lot of the credit goes to throws coach Justin St. Clair. The associate head coach is in his sixth year at NDSU. Since his arrival, every throwing record—indoor and outdoor—has been broken, including the seven that were broken in the past calendar year.
“What I love about him is that he’s not a cookie cutter coach,” senior Katelyn Weimerskirch said about St. Clair. “He has the ability to take our strengths and weaknesses and use them to our advantage.”
Weimerskirch is a senior and is in her fifth year under St. Clair’s tutelage. She holds the indoor weight throw and outdoor discus records at NDSU. Her men’s counterpart Alex Renner has also put his five years at NDSU to good use.
Renner holds the NDSU indoor and outdoor shot put records. He was also named a second-team NCAA All-American in the outdoor shot put in 2016.
Weimerskirch and Renner are two of the many throwers at NDSU who have ascended the school to never before seen heights in the college track world. And with a bevy of talented underclassmen, who knows how far the Bison throwers can go among the nation’s elite.
Alex Renner Conversation
Bison Illustrated: The men’s throw team was ranked number one in the country for most of the indoor season. How much do you guys pay attention to that?
Alex Renner: “I look at them a little bit. More than anything, it’s to see where you’re at, but it’s not like you dwell on it. I try not to throw a certain mark because then you start pressing and you should just go out and throw. There’s a point where you look at them too much and you obsess with them and you can’t focus on what you’re supposed to do. You have to focus on the little things and do the little things right.”
BI: Do you guys talk about it as a team?
AR: “It’s cool seeing the team ranking that came out. That’s just a testament to the hard work. I think people talk about the team rankings because it includes everyone and everyone plays a part in that. It’s not just one person. That’s really the type of rankings that we’re happy about. Individual stuff is cool. Everyone has worked for that. The team ranking stuff is more fun and more rewarding.”
BI: Last year, the men’s throwers had a great group. Could this year be even better?
AR: “(It) could be. We have a couple young guys that are going to step up. Every year is a little different. The bar gets raised a little bit more and more every year, and we’re seeing that a lot more now in the weight throw for sure. It’s insane how each event has gotten a little better every year. The thing is, we haven’t lost a lot of guys. Last year, we lost Brandt (Berghuis), which was a big loss, but then you have other guys that are getting better and getting better distances, young guys stepping up.”
BI: It’s your last year. Do you have any unfinished business?
AR: “I really want to make it to the indoor Nationals (Editor’s Note: He did!). I just missed it last year by under a foot. I don’t know where I’m going to be (at the end of February), but if I can do the little things and it increases my distance. That’s the one thing I want to do, other than that, I’m just enjoying my time with the team. You don’t get to do this the rest of your life.”
Katelyn Weimerskirch Conversation
Bison Illustrated: If you watch your throws group, you’re all very encouraging to one another and more active than the other schools. Why is that?
Katelyn Weimerskirch: “Personally, I tend to overthink my throwing sometimes. You get in you own head sometimes. So, I use my joking around a little bit as a way to distract myself from overthinking. We like to have fun. We’re out here to do a good job, but in the end, you want to do a good job and have some fun while doing it.”
BI: You’re an accomplished discus thrower, but are there other throwing accomplishments you want to hit before you’re done?
KW: “My goal is to make it to Nationals as a Top 16 in the country (weight throw). I believe I was ranked 16th coming into this meet, so gotta step up my game a little more. My goal is to get better no matter what. I try not to think as much about the distances and hitting certain marks and numbers because that can become a head game so I usually try to get better, do what I do and be confident in what I can do.”
BI: What are you going to miss about being a Bison when it’s all said and done?
KW: “Once a Bison, always a Bison. There’s so much pride here for this state and for this school. Just the community backs it 100 percent. That’s really amazing to be a part of and to be a part of something I love so much that I can share with my teammates, family and friends. Having the best coach in the nation is just incredible. I got really lucky.”
BI: Is there anything you can take from this experience and apply it to life after track?
KW: “There are so many things that I’ve learned that I will use forever. Things like discipline, being able to work hard and never giving up. You really develop that more in college and throughout your five years. I couldn’t imagine just being here four. I’ve had all these experiences in five years. They’re things I’ll cherish forever and will bring me through the rest of my life.”