Schlueter is favorite for discus title

Susan Filkins

Looking back on his career at Minnesota, senior discus thrower Jason Schlueter said he can only recall one time when his throw got a little out of control.
At the Minnesota Last Chance Meet held last weekend at the Bierman Track and Field Stadium, one of Schlueter’s throws flew off to the right and out of bounds, almost hitting some people who were standing by the pole vault pit.
“I spun out of my throw and I stopped and looked, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, those guys are going to get hit,'” Schlueter recalled. “The guys looked, and their eyes got huge, and luckily they jumped out of the way.”
The near-destructive throw is something rarely seen from Schlueter, especially in competition. Usually he dominates the event.
Schlueter has established himself each year at the Big Ten championships. When he was a freshman, he finished fifth in the discus. The following year he took third place and last year he won the title with a throw of 185 feet.
Schlueter and the Gophers will travel this weekend to Champaign, Ill., to compete in the Big Tens. Schlueter will enter the meet hoping to defend his Big Ten discus title.
He said he is not planning on losing the title but admitted the competition from his teammates will present a challenge.
“Anything can happen, but I think my chances are pretty good,” Schlueter said. “It’ll be interesting. There are a lot of good guys on the team that will be shooting to win it. It’ll be a tough fight.”
Schlueter definitely has the edge, though. This season he has provisionally qualified for NCAAs five times. He recorded his farthest throw this year at the Texas Relays with a throw of 191 feet.
Beyond winning the Big Ten title, Schlueter has one more goal he hopes to accomplish before he leaves Minnesota — All-American status.
Currently he is ranked among the top 10 discus throwers in the nation. Schlueter will need to finish in the top eight at the NCAA championships in order to achieve All-American status.
Last year he finished 18th at the NCAAs, falling short of the mark. Schlueter said that in the past, those who have won the Big Ten title have gone on to become All-Americans. He hopes this year will be his year to follow in their footsteps.
“Winning the Big Ten title is the first step to becoming an All-American,” Schlueter said. “All the guys that came through before me that won Big Tens became All-Americans, and hopefully I’ll move up to that level.”
Throwing the discus was not always Schlueter’s focus, though. During his days at New London High School in New London, Wis., Schlueter was a three-sport athlete in football, wrestling and track. When it came down to deciding on one sport, he chose to concentrate on throwing the discus because he said he likes individual sports better.
“I like the discus because if I mess up, all the blame comes back to me,” Schlueter said. “I don’t have to rely on anybody else to get the job done. If I don’t get the job done, it’s my fault.”
When Schlueter’s career at Minnesota wraps up in a couple of weeks, he said he will move back to Wisconsin and continue to train for at least a year. He has already qualified to compete in the U.S. Championships this June at Indianapolis, and he hopes to qualify for the World Championships later this year as well.
“Basically, I’ve been training for five years for an event that takes about two seconds,” Schlueter said. “It’s been fun though. Hopefully this weekend is when it all kicks in.”