Three shot put attempts, each one moving Minnesota’s all-time record further into rarefied air, punctuated Maggie Ewen’s track and field farewell.
Despite also holding the all-time record and four state titles in discus throw, Ewen, a senior at St. Francis, had to consider last Saturday’s Class 2A state meet shot put performance the most memorable of her career. Right?
“It’s definitely up there,” Ewen said. “I still love the memory of being in seventh grade and placing fourth in the section meet. My coach was like, ‘Maggie, you’re only two places away from going to state,’ and I was like, ‘What is state?’ ”
Ewen would learn fast. She racked up seven individual titles (four in discus throw, three in shot put). Her record marks of 175 feet, nine inches, in discus throw and 54-8 ½ in shot put could last a while.
Ewen spoke to Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about going off to Arizona State as a champion, the mood surrounding Saturday’s shot put performance and her legacy within the growing St. Francis program.
Q: You won four discus throw titles and three shot put titles but do they mean a little more as a senior?
A: Yeah, it does. I can’t wrap my head around that it is my senior year and that I won’t be back here next year but it’s nice. I’m glad it ended how it did.
Q: Going in, did Saturday feel like a good shot put day?
A: Yeah, everything seemed to come together. Perfect weather. Perfect day.
Q: Did you pick up any sort of different energy from those around you on Saturday because it was the last time?
A: I think a little bit. I think they were really nervous for me because they know I’ve really been striving for [the shot put] record.
Q: To break Liz Podominick’s 10-year-old record on your first shot put attempt, did that help ease your mind?
A: It definitely killed all the nerves I had. I could just bring out everything and not worry about anything anymore.
Q: Your coach, Andy Forbort, said your shot put technique has really come on.
A: Yeah, I’ve only been doing shot put for about four years, so that was probably a lot of the reason why I was struggling. This year I didn’t play winter volleyball so I got to focus on shot put. That was all we worked on and it really paid off.
Q: Your parents hugged and your mom was in tears after the shot put competition. What do you think it meant to them?
A: It means a lot to them because they know it means a lot to me.
Q: When spectators started clapping in unison before your final shot put, you started giggling and tried to hide your face behind the shot.
A: [Laughs]. I don’t like to be the center of everyone’s attention. When the clapping started I knew that mean everyone was looking at me.
Q: I’m told the girls’ throwing program at St. Francis has really grown during your career and people credit your success for attracting others. How does that make you feel?
A: It’s nice. There were about 40 girls throwing this year and a lot of them are looking really good. I expect [eighth-grader Amanda Anderson] to be here at state next year. She would have qualified in discus in five of the eight sections but our section is so strong she couldn’t make it.
DAVID LA VAQUE