Throwing his weight around

Tyler McIntosh

Senior track and field member eyes shot at national tournament

Brent Shelby, a discus, shot put and hammer thrower for Kent State’s track and field team, has qualified for the Mideast Regional Championship in all three events. His goal is to make nationals. MICHELE ROEHRIG | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

For redshirt senior Brent Shelby, the discus, shot put and hammer throwing events are not just physically challenging – they are mentally challenging, as well.

“It’s just a senior mindset that I have,” he said. “This is my last year to put something together. I am really focused. Past success gives you confidence. When you are throwing against Olympic development guys, you need to know you can win.”

Since joining the Kent State track and field team five years ago, Shelby has had his share of highs and lows.

One of the highs was winning the 2004 Mid-American Conference indoor track and field shot put title. That same year he also placed first in the shot put at the Central Collegiate Championships. Shelby has been to NCAA Mideastern Regional Championships twice, but he said his favorite memory is winning the 2003 MAC outdoor track and field discus title.

“I had a great meet, and it was the first big championship that I had won,” Shelby said.

However, there is one major low point in his career that sticks out in Shelby’s mind.

“Last year at the regional championships I had three discus throws that would have got me in the nationals that were fouls,” he said.

For Shelby, the start of the 2005-2006 outdoor track season is another high point in his career. Although he thinks his best event is the shot put, Shelby has recorded discus wins at the Fred Hardy Invitational and the Jim Thorpe Invitational.

The Westlake High School alumnus has won the shot put events at the All-Ohio Championships and the Fred Hardy Invitational.

Shelby, who also has a slew of second and third place finishes this outdoor season in the discus, shot put and hammer throw, has already qualified for the NCAA Mid-East Regional Championships in all three events. For some, that would be accomplishing enough, but Shelby has his eye on bigger things.

“Being a senior, it’s time to do it or go home,” he said. “I want to see the nationals one time before I’m done.”

To achieve his goals, Shelby puts in many hours of training, which he said can sometimes be very consuming.

“It’s different than say football or basketball where you are around your teammates all the time because this is an individual sport,” Shelby said. “It is about the time you put in away from practice; watching tapes, throwing and everything else.”

When he is not training by himself, he has the help of his position coach Nathan Fanger and three other throwers on the team.

“I have three of the best right now along with Nate,” Shelby said. “It helps to have input from a different perspective. We are there to help each other out with anything from technique to diet.”

When the season is over and people look back at his career, Shelby said he hopes to just be mentioned in the same breath as the rest of the great all-around throwers who have competed for the Flashes.

After Shelby’s Kent State career ends, he plans to make a run for the 2008 Olympics. He said the shot put is one of the toughest fields to qualify for in the United States, but that won’t stop him from trying.

“I have two years to train,” he said. “I think I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t at least try.”

Next up for Shelby and the rest of the track and field team is the Penn Relays in Philadelphia tomorrow and Friday.

Contact sports correspondent Tyler McIntosh

at [email protected]