Student Athlete of the Week: Erik Escobedo

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This week, Erik Escobedo gives the Beacon an insight into his life as a track and field athlete and how he has maintained his success all throughout his collegiate career. Escobedo is a seven-time NCCAA indoor and outdoor national champion, winning in three separate events: shot put, weight throw and hammer throw. Prior to this year, he was named NAIA All-American three times. He earned another All-American nod this past Saturday for his performance in shot put and his NCCAA indoor record-breaking performance in weight throw. On top of that he’s earned honors for Men’s National Field Athlete of the Week in the NAIA, NCCAA and Crossroads League, as well as season All-Conference honors. He holds Bethel school records in indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer throw.

  Q: What has made this season of track and field different from previous seasons? A: I’d definitely say experience. What I’ve accomplished over the last two years has helped me establish the confidence and mental stability to go accomplish new goals I never would have dreamed of achieving in the past. Q: When did you first learn the art of throwing? A: It’s funny because I came into my freshman year as a discus thrower, but I quickly became a hammer, shot and weight thrower. My sophomore year I really got into it, and I hit a couple big marks during the season. My junior year I learned I was somewhat okay at it, so I trained over the summer to improve. Then, midway through the fall, I decided I wanted to make it into a profession. Q: Who do you look to for advice on the events you compete in? A: I have multiple people that I look to. I have Rob Rose, who is the team’s throw coach. Danny Wilkerson, an assistant coach who is really good at teaching movements. Nick Banke, a Goshen College assistant coach who introduced me to the technical side to the hammer throw. Then, there’s Shaun Donnelly, who is a professional hammer thrower for Ironwood Thrower Development Camp. Q: Why have you stuck with these three events after all these years? A: Mostly because I’m pretty good at all of my events. I honestly don’t really like throwing weight or shot, but I think I’m decent at both events. I’m more focused on the hammer throw though. Throwing the hammer is an art, like shooting a bow and arrow. There’s no other feeling like seeing the hammer soar in the air either. Q: What are some of your throwing philosophies? A: Before every warm-up in a meet or when I’m having a bad meet day, I always think, “Show no emotion, don’t think and I own this.” The reason is because I try to live in the now and I try to see the light at the end of the tunnel, even when my performance isn’t going right. The reason why I say, “Don’t think,” is because if you’re thinking too much in the technical aspect of throw during the meet, everything you worked for doesn’t come natural. I’m a very emotional person too, so my emotions sometimes get in the way of my performance. As for the “I own this part,” that’s where my confidence helps me rise to the occasion. Q: What are some of your pre-meet routines? A: I usually go out to Hacienda with a former Bethel thrower, Alex Soptich, the night before a meet. Right after that, I take an ice bath and then, go to bed. Then, I wake up, eat whatever I can, get on the bus, and then I put on my playlist called, “Swagger.” The music makes me feel empowered. When we get to the meet, I joke around with my teammates because I don’t want to be too serious yet. However, when I warm up, my headphones go back in and I motivate myself with four songs and two motivational clips I always watch. Congratulations to Escobedo on being recently crowned a NCCAA indoor national champion in both weight throw and shot put. The Beacon staff wishes him the best of luck to him and his team at NAIA Indoor Nationals. (Photo Credit: Bethel College Athletics)  
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