What a difference a year makes.
As a freshman, Carson High’s Ian Schulz’s best effort in the discus was 123-5. Nearly a year later, Schulz has improved by 30 feet, 2 inches, and the improvement hasn’t gone unnoticed by throws coach Mike Louisiana.
The improvement makes Schulz a viable contender when the Division I track postseason kicks off Saturday with the regional trials at 9:30 a.m. at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex at Carson High.
When asked about Schulz, Louisiana looked through paperwork on his desk and finally pulled out an index card.
“After Ian threw 152, I looked at several people I’ve coached or am coaching,” Louisiana said. “Zach Stetler (from Elko), I coached for several years, and Marshall McKown (from Douglas), who I currently work with. I looked at their progress. When Zach was a sophomore, he threw 154-6. When Marshall was a sophomore, he threw in the mid-140s. So far, Ian has a best of 153-7, and he potentially has three more times to throw this year, and he those meets are right here.
“His technique is not where I’d like it to be. He’s tall and lanky. He doesn’t know what he’s doing yet. He rushes. He jumps out of the back of the ring instead of driving through the ring. He hasn’t caught the feeling (that comes with consistency). At the Carson Invite, his last throw was 153-7, and he got a drive through the ring. Once he catches on (and drives through the ring all the time), he’ll be a thrower to be reckoned with. I’m excited to see that happen.”
Schulz knows any farther distance will come more from improved technique than anything else.
“I’ve seen big guys that have horrible technique that don’t throw that far, and there are smaller guys who throw farther because they have the right technique,” Schulz said. “Part of my improvement has come from being stronger, but my technique has improved. I need to get better drive out of the back. Sometimes I do that and sometimes I don’t. I have to be more consistent. It’s the little things that will add the distance.”
Schulz said he would like to get to 160 feet this year, and Louisiana believes he can do it, especially given that the remaining meets are at Carson.
“Once I hit that, I’d like to get to 170,” Schulz said. “If I can get to that (170), that will put me in the running for second or third at state.”
Reno Tuufoli of Liberty has a best of 196-10. McKown is second at 171-10, and teammate Colton Waggoner is third at 165-6. Schulz is ranked third in the north and ninth in the state. Less than 7 feet separates fifth from ninth in the state standings.
“If I throw my best — what I’m capable of — I think I can beat both Marshall and Colton,” Schulz said. A mark of 160 certainly would give him a chance to win Saturday.
“This is his home,” Louisiana said. “He’ll be comfortable here. I see him making it to the state meet. He has beaten Colton before. My job is to get him ready mentally, prepare him for the next couple of weeks.”
First, Louisiana is stressing to Schulz to make sure he finishes in the top nine, which would advance him to the regional finals May 17. The top three from the regionals move along to state, which is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend at Carson.
“He has the tools (to be really good),” Louisiana said. “He’s lanky and has long arms. He hasn’t learned the weightroom yet. He’s a good athlete, a three-sport athlete. If I had him all the time, it would be a different story.”