JavelinTown USA

Article by, Ian Grande

In 2004, Stanley’s Riley Dolezal set the North Dakota State High School Track Meet record in the javelin with a throw of 208’ 3” (still standing). Exactly one decade later, fellow Stanley native Austin Schmidt took home a state Javelin title of his own.

Fast forward a few years and the duo is as strong as ever.

Schmidt is currently in the middle of another stellar season at North Dakota State in which he is ranked 24th in the country. Dolezal is also at North Dakota State where he is serving as a volunteer coach, he is also throwing for Team Nike.

Dolezal has been working with the Bison throwers since he graduated from NDSU, something that has helped his throwing career reach impressive heights. “I’ve been working mainly with the javelin group, but I’ve also been observing and learning from Justin St. Clair in the other throwing events,” said Dolezal. “This has helped me become a better thrower by seeing NDSU athletes throw and help them with some of the same problems I have had in my career, both technically in the throw and also with rehab exercises to stay pain free.”

Having a familiar face at NDSU has helped smooth the transition from high school to Division 1 athletics for Schmidt. “Riley is definitely someone that I look up to,” said Schmidt. “How he recovered from having tommy john surgery on his elbow to becoming the 2013 USA champion in the javelin is incredible. His success played a large role in my decision to pursue javelin at the collegiate level.”

While many athletes struggle with transition to Division 1 athletics, Schmidt made it look easy, qualifying for the NCAA Division 1 National Championship and finishing as a second team All-American his freshman year.

Austin Schmidt 2016 NCAA Prelims Javelin
Austin Schmidt competing at the NCAA Track and Field National Championship (Photo courtesy of the North Dakota State Athletic Department)

Dolezal points to Schmidt’s work ethic as the primary reason for his early success, “He is a hard worker that wants to learn and puts in the extra time to get better,” said Dolezal. “A lot of that comes from growing up in a small town. He is steadily getting more consistent and is ready to toss some big throws.”

The Bison track team is full of talent once again this season, especially in the javelin. Fellow NDSU thrower Matti Mortimore ranked #2 in the country for javelin, making for some interesting competition in practice between him and Schmidt and Dolezal. The Bison throwers have performed well in some of the nation’s top track and field meets this season, the team recently featured three of the top six finishers in the javelin at the loaded Stanford Invitational Track Meet in California (Schmidt finished 2nd).

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That early season success has empowered Schmidt to set some lofty goals for himself and the rest of the bison track team, “My goal this season is to return to the NCAA National Championship meet again,” said Schmidt. “Our overall team goal is to win the Summit League conference meet again. Within the throwers we want to qualify as many as we can to both the NCAA West Preliminary meet and also nationals. Our coach Justin St. Clair is arguably the best throwing coach in the nation and under his direction, I have no doubt that these goals are easily in reach.”

Dolezal will be trying his best to help the Bison throwers reach those lofty goals, while keeping his own impressive career rolling. The accolades for the former Stanley Blue Jay standout have been piling up at an impressive clip in recent years. Dolezal has won numerous national events, including the 2013 USA World Championship. He was all runner-up in the 2014 and 2015 USA World Championships.

NCAA 2015: USATF National Outdoor Track &  Field Championships JUN 25
Riley Dolezal competes in the Javelin at the 2015 USATF Track & Field (Photo courtesy of the North Dakota State Athletic Department)

One of the perks of performing so well on a national stage is getting an opportunity to be sponsored by the most well-known athletic brand in the world, something that has allowed Dolezal to continue pursuing his passion, “Throwing for Nike has been a complete surprise and a blessing,” said Dolezal. “Starting out with javelin in high school, I never thought I would ever come close to where I am today. They have helped with travel, clothing and gear. It has also given me the financial flexibility to focus on training while teaching part time.”

Schmidt and Dolezal both have some unfinished business that they would like to take care of before they hang up the spikes, but the duo has already left an impressive mark on the national javelin scene. Add in Schmidt’s older brother Cody (All-American javelin thrower at Minot State) to the mix and the title of “JavelinTown USA” seems pretty fitting for the small western North Dakota town of Stanley.

*Editors note: Stanley native Paul Rudolph was also a standout javelin thrower at Minot State. Rudolph held the school record in the Javelin for nearly two decades before Cody Schmidt topped the mark in 2015.

*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. If you have any comments or concerns please email StanleyGazette@gmail.com

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