After last year’s state meet, Emma Roethler established two goals for the next 12 months.
First, she wanted to return to state this year as a senior, but do so in both the discus and the shot put after qualifying last year for the shot put.
Second, she wanted to claim school records in both events after trading them back-and-forth with 2018 Northfield High School graduate Annalee Olson-Sola, who has spent the last year competing at Gustavus Adolphus College.
After last weekend’s Section 1AA championships at Lakeville South, she’s halfway done, thanks to her second-place finishes in both events.
“She got the first goal,” said Northfield Coach Karl Viesselman. “Now it’s time for the second.”
With her section throws of 40 feet, 1.5 inches in the shot put and 126 feet, 11 inches in the discus, Viesselman said she’s about a foot away from the record in the shot put and about six feet away from the mark in the discus.
She pulled that off without the advantage of training with Olson-Sola every day. Last year, both said they were helped to the state meet by the competition between themselves every day in practice. This year, Roethler didn’t possess an equal competitor at practice.
“It was really difficult,” Roethler said. “For part of the season I actually ended up switching over and practicing with the guys, so I’d have some difficult competition during practices.”
Specifically, she battled against junior Eli Bowman, who at sections finished fifth in the shot put and seventh in the discus. This week, though, she’ll have the help of Olson-Sola, who was at the Northfield Middle School track Monday afternoon training with Roethler ahead of Friday’s discus competition and Saturday’s shot put at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Entering this year’s meet, she’ll have a couple nuggets of knowledge she picked up last year, when she finished sixth in the discus with a top throw of 127 feet, seven inches, after entering seeded with a distance of 132 feet, seven inches.
Part of that shorter heave was nerves, she said, due to the size of the protective nets, which extend further than typical discus nets since they’re also used for collegiate hammer throw competitions.
“It felt really intimidating coming into that, and there are a lot of people, that’s the other thing, too,” Roethler said. “It’s not super common for a track meet, but there were a lot of people there.”
Roethler hopes those jitters are minimized this year, and she can simply focus on making sure her footwork for both events provides her the momentum to chuck the shot and the disc to podium finishes.
Since last year, Roethler said she’s improved her follow through in the discus and her release in the shot put, which might provide that little extra distance to send her past Olson-Sola’s school records.
“It gets to the point where if you can get your releases to be good, that can get the last couple in inches that you need in shot put and then the last couple feet, or also inches in discus,” Roethler said.