Former Airdrie Aces Athletic Club athlete Andreas Troschke put the rest of USPORTS on notice in his first university-level event Jan. 19 to 20.
As a freshman with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, the weight thrower came into the 2017-18 track and field season looking to grow as an athlete and gain experience competing against older and more seasoned throwers.
However, Troschke blew everyone’s expectations out of the water when his 16.01-metre (m) throw held up as the top distance, giving him gold at the Golden Bear Open in Edmonton.
“A few years ago, I never even thought I would be able to continue into university, but at the end of last year that was my hope and goal to come in and have this sort of success,” Troschke said. “I’m glad that I’m living up to that.”
Troschke’s winning throw puts him among the furthest distance leaders in USPORTS, currently sitting third in the country, 0.96 metres back of current leader University of Toronto’s Ezana Debalkew.
Troschke admitted being a first-year athlete with such a high ranking could lead to over confidence, but said he is focused on staying level-headed and keeping his ego in check.
“I have to be in the moment and be ready for each individual throw, instead of thinking about national rankings,” Troschke said. “I need to take it one throw at a time and keep doing what I need to do to get better.”
Although the former-Ace came away with a huge win in his first event, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The 19-year-old fouled on his first two throws and was in jeopardy of missing the second portion of the event.
He said he was able to refocus and avoided fouling out with his massive third throw, which took the gold.
“That was definitely not planned,” Troschke said. “I was unbelievably and inappropriately stressed-out to the situation.
“You need top eight to get to throws four through six, and I managed to put it all together to make it work for the third throw.”
Troschke added he took off a bit of his throw to make sure he was able to get a qualifying distance.
The Pronghorn then fouled on his next three throws and was required to sit on his distance of 16.01m instead of adding to his lead.
By being a first-year competitor and the Golden Bear Open being his first competition in USPORTS, Troschke said he was dealing with nerves but was proud of his ability to overcome them to win.
“(It was) scary, very scary. I’m used to being either the oldest or one of the oldest kids in the competition and I had guys as much as four years older than me there,” Troschke said.
“It was spooky at first, but once I started throwing well and got my bearings about me, I got a lot more comfortable.”
Troschke added he needs to work at not getting frustrated when he faces stressful situations, but felt he took a step in the right direction with his performance in his third throw.