Track to compete in state finals
Published: Monday, May 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 01:05
CSM Track and Field throws coach Mike Lewis always surveys throwing practicing from the same spot- a chair situated to the right of the shot-put circle at the field just above College Heights Stadium. In his 33rd year of coaching CSM throwing, Lewis still has not lost his touch.
Lewis has coached a wealthy cache of throwing talent this year for CSM. One Bulldog thrower, Evan McDaniel, ranks nationally in the men’s junior college shotput and in the top ten statewide in the men’s discus.
McDaniel’s path to CSM was a bit different than most Bulldog student athletes. The 25-year old from Reno, Nevada thought his competing days were over after graduating from Spanish Springs High School.
“(Throwing) was something I always really enjoyed,” said McDaniel, “I just had different priorities out of high school.”
After graduation, McDaniel at the time weighing 160-pounds moved on to University of Nevada-Reno where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2009. Soon after, he grew restless and moved to the Bay Area with a friend. He soon discovered a co-worker was a fellow thrower and the two began practicing at CSM, where he met Track and Field head coach Joe Mangan.
“I came up here and did some throws,” said McDaniel, who has added roughly 90 pounds of muscle since high school to develop a more prototypical thrower’s physique, “I got to talking with Joe and found out I was still eligible.”
He then made the decision to join the CSM track team and qualified for the California state finals at Cerritos College in Los Angeles County in shotput and discus.
“It’s an honor to be competing at such a high level,” McDaniel said, “(Coach Lewis) is the only reason I’m throwing far.”
McDaniel is far from the only CSM thrower finding success this year. The sibling duo of Nikki and Josh Uikilifi have been turning the throwing rankings at meets into a family affair. Both have qualified for state competition in the women’s and men’s hammer throws and shot puts, respectively. In addition, Nikki has qualified in the women’s discus and javelin with throws of 152-11 and 113-8, respectively. CSM thrower Zeke Edwards also qualified for the state finals in the javelin with a throw of 176-5.
“We have talent every year,” said Lewis, “Some years are better than others and this is one of those years.”
Sprinter Roman Skovronski qualified for the men’s 400 meter hurdles with a time of 53.31, the second best time in school history in that event.
“I don’t really find any lack of desire from these athletes,” said Lewis, “Despite most of the events being solo, we’re still a team within.”