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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field preseason training is officially underway and the program is nearing the start of its indoor season. GoPSUsports.com caught up with throws coach Patrick Ebel to get a preview of this year's athletes.
Ebel enters his fourth season with high expectations for the Nittany Lion throwing group. He's coached numerous athletes who have notched phenomenal throwing performances while winning titles and breaking records in his first three years at Penn State. Ebel had the pleasure of coaching Penn State great, and now professional thrower, Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.), who graduated last year after a remarkable throwing career in which he capped it off with a second place finish in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 66 feet, 8.25 inches
Not having Hill competing will be different for the Nittany Lions, but he's left an impact beyond what he's done in the shot put circle. Coach Ebel mentioned that when Hill threw for Penn State he gave advice to the younger throwers on how to throw in big events. Even though Hill won't be suiting up in the blue and white this year, he can still be found at the Multi-Sport Facility working on his craft. The throwers that Hill has impacted look to follow up on his career with success of their own.
This year's throwing contingent has depth with a combined total of 22 throwers between the men and women. The group of women throwers returns three of its top performers in the shot put, weight throw, hammer, and discus events. For the women, senior Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.), sophomore Obeng Marfo (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and junior Alyssa Robinson (Saint Clairesville, Ohio) were all Big Ten place winners last year and look to build upon those accomplishments this season. Coach Ebel expects big things from all three throwers.
Fatherly went on to qualify for the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in shot put last season. She finished 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 54 feet, 8.25 inches.
The men's side is made up of many underclassmen throwers. Ebel said the group largely consists of incoming freshmen, redshirt freshmen, and sophomores. There are two seniors on the men's side, one of those throwers is Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.). Shuey is looking to repeat once again after winning the Big Ten outdoor javelin title the last two seasons with throws of 236 feet, 8 inches in 2014 and 236 feet, 2 inches in 2013. He also won the Big Ten outdoor competition in 2013 by over 26 feet. Coach Ebel expects a fair share of men throwers to represent Penn State at the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships.
Both the men and the women throwers are continuing to train and prepare for the first official competition of the season in a few weeks. The indoor season kicks off with the annual intrasquad Blue-White Meet on Dec. 12. Following the Blue-White Meet, is the opening home Penn State Relays on Jan. 9.
For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.