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Track and Field: Shining on a world stage

It’s safe to say that South Dakota is holding its own when itcomes to the shot put.

Custer’s Tyler Schultz won the USA Track and Field World YouthChampionships in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on June 28 to solidify a spoton the U.S. team at the International Association of AthleticsFederations World Championships in Nice, France. Schultz threwthe

5-kilogram shot put 65 feet, 10-1-1/2 inches to win the Americanevent before posting a mark of 20.35 meters (66 feet, 9 inches) atthe IAAF event to finish second to age-group world-record holderJackson “Jacko” Gill of New Zealand, who went a crazy 24.35 meters(79-10-1/2) in the win.

The South Dakota athlete who kept Schultz from winning the ClassA state championship in Sioux Falls in May, state record-holderKyle McKelvey of Beresford, took home the junior title at the U.S.Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., earlier thissummer.

That win puts McKelvey on the U.S. team for the Pan-AmericanJunior Championships in Florida from July 22-24. McKelvey won theevent with a throw of 68-10-1/2 with a 6-kilogram shot to cap offas good a senior season as the University of South Dakota-commitcould have imagined. 

“My only goal was to break the state record,” McKelvey said ofthe 67 feet, 4-1/2-inch mark held by former Custer standout EricFlores. McKelvey broke that mark on two occasions, includingsetting the new South Dakota standard of 69-3.

“There were times where I was really wondering if I could doit,” he continued. “Then one day I was feeling good, I got therecord and the ball started rolling for me from there.”

The notion that the top two high school shot putters in thecountry come from a rural state with a population of less than amillion people is a stunner no matter how you look at it.

“It’s crazy,” said former Custer throws coach Terry Long, whostill mentors Schultz and other throwers from around the state. “Idon’t even know if it’s ever happened before anywhere in thecountry that the top youth and junior throwers in the country werefrom the same state. Maybe it’s happened in California orsomething, but never in South Dakota, that’s for sure.”

The South Dakota connection is something McKelvey said he feelsstrongly, whether competing now or in the future.

“Tyler and I compete against each other during the season,”McKelvey said. “But when we’re at these national meets I’m cheeringfor him as much as anybody. I want to see him do well.”

McKelvey also wants to see his home state represented well whenhe goes off to college. It’s why he’s not heading very far from hishome to go to school.

“I love South Dakota,” he said. “I never could see myself takingmy talents somewhere else. I want to represent my home state.”

Thus far it’s safe to say two of the state’s all-timers in theshot put event are doing a heck of a job of just that.

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