North Texas Daily

Throwers lead charge for track and field with stellar season

Throwers lead charge for track and field with stellar season

FT WORTH TX MARCH 17: Track & Field at Texas Christian University in Ft Worth on March 17, 2018 in Ft Worth, Texas Photo: Rick Yeatts Photography/ColinMitchell

Throwers lead charge for track and field with stellar season
April 12
13:43 2018

Mean Green track and field is reaching the middle point of their outdoor season, and so far, the throwers have led the way for this young team.

Sophomore javelin thrower Kristyn Archuleta, junior javelin thrower Javier Lopez-Ibarra and sophomore discus and shot put thrower Karl Sralla are at the core of this team’s success.

“Mostly I think it started in the fall,” throwing coach Brandon Kelso said. “The more work you put in, the more your body learns what to do.”

Archuleta has already won C-USA freshmen of the week and has broken several school and personal records this season. This success is somewhat of a surprise to her as she did not start throwing until a few years ago, perhaps making her achievments even more impressive to her team.

“I started throwing at the end of my sophomore year in high school,” Archuleta said. “I threw in like two competitions, then I started taking it seriously my senior year.”

Kelso was excited to recruit young talent like Archuleta and Sralla for the team. Their efforts have led to competitive outings throughout the season.

On March 24, Archuleta and Sralla both finished first in the men’s and women’s javelin, respectively, at the University of Texas at Arlington.

“I wanted to be competitive in all four of the throwing events,” Kelso said. “We don’t throw the javelin in Texas high schools, so I started a search in the states around us and found [Archuleta] in New Mexico. While getting to know her, I found out she hasn’t thrown for long, but she was an all-state basketball player, holding multiple school records. I knew she was a good athlete. She is just scratching the surface of how good she can be.”

As someone with a past of playing multiple sports, this translates to her javelin skills on the field.

“I played basketball, volleyball and softball,” Archuleta said. “With softball, I got good at throwing because I was an outfielder, and I think the other sports just made me a better athlete. It make it easier to adapt to javelin.”

Sralla, meanwhile, throws in two different events — discus and shot put. In discus, he has finished top six in three of his four outdoor meets this year. While in javelin, he has finished first and sixth in two meets.

“For me it all started in the summer,” Sralla said. “I stayed [in Denton] and worked with our strength coach. I developed my strength over the summer and focused on a couple key parts of throwing far in the discus. I feel like you need a baseline of strength to throw the discus, and then your technique is what gets you to throw even further.”

While Sralla bulked up, Kelso noticed an improvement in his mental maturity.

“Karl has been throwing the discuss well for a long time,” Kelso said. “He’s built in that confidence of knowing that if something’s not going right, he can get back on track when he needs it. He can still be a strong competitor even if it is not always a personal best.”

The coaches have relied on his consistency throughout the season to provide points during his one or two events every week.

It is nothing new for Sralla, though. He has been at discus and javelin throwing for years on end, which has accumulated to his fruitful season.

“I started in the seventh grade,” Sralla said. “It’s kind of in the family. My dad threw, and I am kind of continuing that. I think it takes a long time to hone in on the right things to do and perfect your technique, and when I was 15 years old, I traveled to Sweden to compete in the world youth games and got third place. You get used to throwing in front of people, and you use that energy into throwing further.”

Finally, Lopez-Ibarra is the new record holder at North Texas as he broke the school record for a javelin throw at the TCU Invitational on March 17 with a throw of 66.55.

That was one of his two first place finishes so far this outdoor season.

Back in his freshman season in 2016, he earned six top-ten finishes and had six top-five finishes in 2017.

His work along with his years of training have finally led to the dominant outdoor season he is having in 2018.

“In my opinion, the key was the technical adjustments we did during the fall as well as in the weight room, which is an important part of javelin,” Lopez-Ibarra said. “I’ve been throwing for about six years.”

Archuleta and Lopez-Ibarra train together frequently which has contributed to their joint success this year in the sport of javelin. The encouragement and tips the two provide to each other is felt almost every day in practice or meets.

“If you have a partner, you can see what they are doing right, then you try to do it the same way,” Lopez-Ibarra said.

This trio leads the throwers at North Texas and have set high expectations for themselves while doing so. That success does not satisfy them, though, as they strive to improve heading into the late stages of the season.

“They [all] worked hard in the fall, and things just started to make sense,” Kelso said. “Our group wants to be good, and they’ve seen the success of the program, so they are continuing to buy in and put in the work.”

Featured image: Texas Christian University in Ft Worth on March 17, 2018 in Ft Worth, Texas Photo: Rick Yeatts Photography/Colin Mitchell

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Stefan Washington

Stefan Washington

UNT Advertising Major| NT Daily sports writer

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