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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Shot putter ready for future

    Claire C. Laurence/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Track and Field athletes participated in Saturdays annual Arizona International at Drachman Stadium.
    Claire C. Laurence/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Track and Field athletes participated in Saturday’s annual Arizona International at Drachman Stadium.

    You could call him a realistic dreamer.

    The soon-to-be-graduating senior and All-American thrower Sean Shields has a lot of plans for his future but isn’t about to let his dreams get carried away.

    After he graduates, Shields said he plans on taking his track and field talents to Europe, where he’ll continue competing on the big stage.

    “”Really I want to throw well enough this year so I can go to meets in Europe,”” Shields said. “”I really want to try and get top 25 in the world, and I think if I go to Europe and do well, I can do that.””

    Shields, however, is realistic about his expectations.

    “”Well, I’m going to try it. If I’m not good enough, I’m going to recognize it and I’ll stop,”” he said. “”I know too many guys who try and keep competing through the years, and they are never going to get to that level, but they still do it.””

    If that doesn’t work out, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Shields said he may also try out for the NFL or pursue a career in business.

    “”I might try and play football,”” Shields said. “”I mean I’m going to try it.””

    Even if he doesn’t make it to the professional ranks, Shields has already accomplished a great deal on and off the track field.

    Shields, who began the shot put and discus events way back in seventh grade after his sister’s suggestion to do so, is already ranked among the top throwers in the nation.

    He currently holds the second-best shot put throw in the NCAA during this outdoor season after a throw of 19.84 meters during the Arizona International April 1.

    Before that, at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships March 10-11 in Fayetteville, Ark., Shields placed third in the shot put with his best toss of 19.36 and won All-American honors for the third consecutive season.

    Shields also ranks No. 4 in shot put and No. 6 in discus, according to Trackwire’s “”Dandy Dozen.””

    During the season, Shields said he works hard to improve his performance by constantly working on his technique and doing strength training.

    “”We weight-lift four times a week,”” Shields said. “”And then we are pretty much out on the track every day.””

    He also said he tries to improve his performance by clearing his head and being confident.

    “”You don’t want to have too many things going through your mind because you won’t concentrate on what you really need to do,”” Shields said.

    The key to a great throwing performance, he said, is to also go at a moderate speed.

    “”You don’t want to be going as fast as you can because then you can’t hold positions,”” Shields said. “”And you don’t want to be going slow either. You have to find a medium in there.””

    So do his arms ever get tired?

    “”Not really,”” Shields said. “”It’s a common misconception. Most of the throwing is actually done with your legs, not with your arms.””

    Proposing success

    Off the field, Shields has found success as well.

    Shields, who got engaged last February, will marry his longtime girlfriend this summer.

    “”I found the girl of my dreams,”” Shields said. “”I’m happy everything worked out.””

    Even with all of these accomplishments under his belt, Shields hopes he will extend his success outdoors at the national level this year.

    “”I would like to win a national title,”” he said.

    In order to get there, Shields said he has to work on improving some techniques, especially in the shot put.

    “”I need to really concentrate on lifting the shot, throwing it really high in the air because I have a tendency to throw line drives,”” Shields said. “”If I lift it, it will go a bit further.””

    Aside from doing well at the national level, Shields also hopes to catch up with his rival, Florida State junior Garrett Johnson, who has already thrown 20.42m.

    But Shields has no doubt he’ll beat him by the end of this year.

    “”I gotta work on trying to catch (Johnson), but I think I can do it,”” Shields said. “”I just need to work on a couple things and hopefully get that perfect throw.””

    Winding down as a Wildcat

    With the year coming to an end, Shields also hopes he will leave a lasting legacy for his teammates.

    “”I’ve been the team captain the last two years,”” Shields said. “”I’m probably not that big of a motivational speaker, (but) I try and lead by my actions and not by just talking.””

    Shields said he tries to push other throwers, like juniors Adam Kuehl and Shawn Best, to perform at their greatest.

    And in turn they help motivate him to succeed.

    “”We are all very competitive,”” Shields said. “”I think us pushing each other really helps a great deal. We feed off of each other.””

    This shows Shields’ leadership skills as well as his maturity, said Arizona track and field head coach Fred Harvey.

    “”He’s been tremendous,”” Harvey said. “”He’s really stepped up.””

    Best said he already sees the lasting impression Shields has made on the team, saying the “”gifted”” Shields always lightens the mood for everyone on the team.

    “”He tries to be hard sometimes, but he’s soft as a butterfly,”” Best said. “”He’s like a big kid, and he keeps it fun for everybody else.””

    Shields is a great role model who inspires him to keep getting better, Best said.

    “”Every day at practice I want to chase him,”” Best said. “”I want to keep talking crap to him and say, ‘I’m going to catch him.'””

    Best, who has two years left at Arizona, said he’s going to try and chase Shields’ records until he graduates.

    In the mean time, Best looks up to Shields as a leader and a friend.

    “”And he thinks he’s handsome, but I’m finer though,”” Best said. “”No, but he’s a really nice guy. You couldn’t ask for a better teammate.””

    career highlights

    ? 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships March 10-11 in Fayetteville, Ark.,: Shields placed third in the shot put with his best toss of 19.36 meters and won All-American honors for the third consecutive season.

    ? 2005 outdoor season: named the Pacific 10 Champion at the Pac-10 Championships in the shot put with a toss of 19.95m and was runner-up in the discus with a throw of 57.62m.

    ? 2005 indoor season: Shields won the Mountain Pacific Federation Championships in the shot put wth a throw of 19.29m and placed third at the NCAA Indoor Championships to earn All-American status with a throw of 19.51m.

    ? During his freshman year with the Wildcats in 2002, Shields broke the freshman shot put record four times, which now stands at 19.16m.

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