Strickland looks to regain old form

Friday, April 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:44 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Janae Strickland wants to put the indoor season behind her.

Strickland, a Missouri shot putter, will compete in the Missouri Relays at 10 a.m. today and 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.

The meet features collegiate and high school competitors. Iowa and Tulsa are the Tigers’ main competition, with several smaller colleges and universities also attending.

In the high school division, high schools such as Hickman, Jefferson City and Helias will compete. This is the Tigers’ first home meet of the outdoor season.

An indoor All-American in 2003, Strickland failed to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships this season. She had a provisional throw of 52 feet, 3 ¾ inches, but it was not enough to earn her a berth in the crowded championship field.

Strickland said that she needs return to her form from 2003 to make sure she does not miss the championships again.

“I’m trying to put that behind me,” she said. “I need to just try to think of some things that I did last year. I focused a lot more, I paid attention a lot more.”

Strickland said she was not completely disappointed with her performance in the indoor season, for she managed to earn All-Big 12 Conference honors for the fourth time.

“I threw a lot,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, my average was pretty good in the indoor season. I just want to improve on that, work a little bit harder, lift a little bit harder and get some throws that are good.”

Strickland took an unconventional road to her career as a Missouri shot putter.

“I wasn’t a thrower in high school, I was a sprinter in high school,” she said. “When I came here, they wanted to make me a long jumper like my mom. I couldn’t long jump, so I asked if I could go throw, because I did throw my senior year in high school.”

Strickland said that her success is more than she expected.

“It’s a big blessing, I couldn’t ask for anything else,” she said. “I am really surprised with how well I’ve done. This is my fourth year actually throwing, so yeah, I’m surprised.”

Missouri senior Holly Scherder is also looking for success in the outdoor season. Scherder set the school record in the weight throw (61-10 ½ ) in the indoor season, and quickly built on that when she set a record in the hammer throw (190-4) at the College Station Relays two weeks ago.

Like Strickland, Scherder came to Missouri without much experience in her event.

“I came in as a shot putter,” she said. “The hammer is something that Brett (Halter, an assistant coach) explains to you and lets you learn all about. It’s kind of something that everyone tries out when they first come in as a thrower. I just really liked it so I stuck with it and it’s become my best event. I’m really glad he showed it to me.”

Scherder attributes most of her success to her coach.

“Brett’s a great coach,” she said. “He knows a ton. He’s got to be one of the best coaches in the country. He’s constantly studying the throws.”

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