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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

By Bethany Bradsher

ECU track and field discovers success in throwing


When Michelle Clayton-Boswell looks at Danielle Eiler, she sees glimpses of herself a decade ago. Eiler is a young athlete intent on making her mark in the track and field world, a thrower who is eager to get stronger and sharper on the collegiate stage.

For Boswell, now the East Carolina strength coach for track and field, the owner of five ECU throwing records and a 2004 Olympic trials participant in the hammer throw, working with Eiler is a special treat. Eiler, a freshman from McHenry, IL, has placed in the top three in at least two throwing events in the Pirates’ last three meets. She is 1.21 meters shy of Clayton-Boswell’s school record in the discus and has also been consistently strong in the javelin, an event she just learned when she arrived at ECU.

Eiler's potential, according to her strength coach and mentor, is impossible to measure.

“She has no idea what she’s capable of,” Clayton-Boswell said. “Her future is going to be unbelievable. She’s kind of the one I’ve taken under my wing, because it’s my record she’s going to be breaking.”

“She’s a little bit more athletic than we thought she was,” said David Price, who coaches the throwers for ECU. “She came in and picked up the javelin, and that’s the most technical of all the track and field events.”

Eiler is just one Pirate thrower who has helped etch out a name for East Carolina in the nation’s track and field venues. This season so far has been characterized by accolades for the men and women who compete in the shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throws.

Besides Eiler, another woman who is turning heads is junior Chelsea Salisbury, who came in as a javelin thrower but was hindered by a car accident during her freshman year. She has rehabilitated so successfully that she has won two javelin titles in a row, as well as placing second in the hammer throw at a recent meet in Chapel Hill.

On the men’s team, Eric Frasure is helping to set the pace. After placing seventh in the nation in the NCAA national indoor meet in the weight throw, he has placed first in the hammer throw at three outdoor meets this season. He also set a school record and qualified for the NCAA regionals in the discus at the Diet Pepsi Classic early this month.

“The sky’s the limit for him,” Clayton-Boswell said. “He’s still relatively new to the sport.”

Another thrower who has showed the potential for national success is junior Terrance Myers, who along with Frasure has earned NCAA regional qualification in the hammer throw.

While today’s throwers like Eiler share similarities with yesterday’s standouts like Clayton-Boswell, Price said that the current group of athletes came in several steps ahead of previous teams. For one thing, the 2006 team has Clayton-Boswell as a strength coach, whereas she had to direct her own conditioning during her collegiate career.

Because of her own background, Clayton-Boswell has crafted workouts that bring out the best in the Pirate throwers.

“It makes a huge difference because she understands throwing events, and she also understands resistance training and how the two correlate,” Price said. “That’s a throw coach’s dream, to have somebody that can do that stuff.”

Another major difference is the state of the practice facilities. Under the leadership of athletic director Terry Holland and associate AD Nick Floyd, ECU constructed a new javelin runway, shot put circle and cage for the hammer throw.

“That’s part of the success right there,” said Price, who has noticed a marked difference when the throwers get to compete in a similar environment to the arenas where they train.

Because of the individual nature of their sport and the advancements that have been made in training and facilities at ECU, the throwing events have the potential to put East Carolina on the map more quickly than high-profile team sports, Price and Clayton-Boswell said.

The next step in that heightened exposure? The Pirates leave this weekend for the Penn Relays, the most prominent track meet in the nation.

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02/23/2007 01:12:59 AM

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