Ewen sweeps shot, discus at state meet

Maggie Ewen already might be the best weight thrower in Minnesota girls high school track and field history. But where could she be a year from now, when she will have just completed her senior season?

Maggie Ewen also took first place in girls’ shot put and in discus. Photo by Bill Jones
Maggie Ewen also took first place in girls’ shot put and in discus. Photo by Bill Jones

This much is certain: She will set her standards high.

The St. Francis junior swept the shot put and discus championships at the state Class AA meet last weekend at Hamline University – then said afterward she didn’t accomplish everything she set out to do.

“My goal was to compete better than I ever have before,” she said. “I didn’t quite accomplish that, but I’m still happy with how I did.”

Ewen has qualified for state in shot and discus every year since eighth grade. She won her third consecutive Class AA discus championship Friday with a state meet-record throw of 171 feet, 9 inches. That’s only 10 inches short of the all-time state record of 172-7 she set at the North Suburban Conference championships in May. She won the event at state by 27 feet.

Her winning shot put throw of 48-4 on Saturday was only two inches short of her personal record. Ewen repeated as state champion, while Coon Rapids junior Courtney Pasiowitz placed second with 42-2.75.

Ewen’s shot put throws this year put her at least within sight of the all-time state meet record of 51-7.5, set by Liz Podominick of Lakeville 10 years ago.

Her two victories accounted for all of St. Francis’ 24 team points at the state meet, good for a tie for 12th place in the girls standings.

Even though she now has five first-place medals at state, Ewen said nerves have sometimes kept her from performing at her best. She said she tried to address that by not watching other throwers.

“I tried to pull myself away from it as much as possible and focus on what I needed to do,” she said.

Ewen said several factors have contributed to her high school success, including having someone at home who knows what she’s going through. Ewen’s father Bruce competed in the hammer throw in the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials.

She also receives cross-training benefits from her fall sport, volleyball. Ewen is the reigning North Suburban Conference volleyball MVP.

“It’s definitely helped me in both sports,” she said. “Training for volleyball has made me a better thrower, and training for throwing has made me a better volleyball player.”

At this point, though, improvement will come from understanding technique and knowing what she needs to do to perform at her best in big meets.

“I understand now that there are little things you can do in the discus that can make a difference of several feet,” she said.

Mike Shaughnessy is at
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