ASU’s Ewen wins shot put for third NCAA title

Maggie Ewen takes the national title in the shot put on Thursday, June 7. (Photo: Nick Lackides/TrackTown USA)

Maggie Ewen continues to add NCAA championships to her collegiate resume.

The Arizona State senior captured the third NCAA title of her collegiate career with a mark of 62 feet, 10 ѕ inches (19.17m) in the shot put at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Women’s Track & Field Championships before a crowd of 9,702 at Hayward Field on Thursday. 

“It felt great,” Ewen said. “The hammer didn’t go the way we wanted it to, so to be able to come out and win the shot put made up for it.” 

A 2017 finalist for The Bowerman, Ewen made her return to Hayward Field after taking sixth in the shot put in 2017.

However, this year’s result was different.

“Last year I had the really great hammer meet and sub-par kind of shot meet,” she said. “It was great to come out this year and take over the shot put right from the start.”

Ewen, the reigning NCAA champion and collegiate record-holder in the hammer throw, fouled on all three of her attempts in the hammer at the NCAA West Preliminary Round in late May.

Consequently, she lost a chance to defend her national title.

“It was definitely a bummer,” Ewen said. “That regional experience was definitely not fun, but I think it got me fired up a little bit more. I think it will help a lot with the other two events I am competing in.”

Without the hammer throw in her schedule, Ewen shifted her focus to preparing for the shot put and discus. While she acknowledges it would’ve been nice to defend her hammer title during her final collegiate season, she took it as an opportunity to increase her chances of winning the discus and shot put. 

“It’s one of those double-edge swords,” she said. “I would have loved to have done it, but now I can invest that energy into two events instead of three and make these two go really well. 

Ewen will compete for the national title in the discus on Saturday. While she’s excited about her result in the shot put, she remains focused on her next competition. For Ewen, it starts with keeping a calm mindset in the days leading up to her event.

“The more calm I can keep myself, the more positive thoughts and good feelings I can have, the better,” she said.

Ewen has made appearances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in each of her four years at Arizona State.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have the experience of coming here all four years of my collegiate career,” she said. “That’s taught me how to say, ‘okay it’s a big important meet,’ but really it’s just another throw.” 

In the 10,000-meters, Kansas junior Sharon Lokedi finished with a winning time of 32 minutes, 9.20 seconds to set a school and meet record.

“It was pure joy,” she said. “I didn’t expect that. I was so happy I couldn’t believe it.”

Lokedi was one of the few women who didn’t take the lead during the 25-lap race, and it wasn’t until the last 600m that she really pushed the pace. She faced a similar situation at the NCAA West Preliminary Round, so she was able to maintain her rhythm throughout her finishing kick.

“It felt good,” she said. “Regionals was at the same pace, so I knew it was going to be fast. I just stayed with them and relaxed.”

Kentucky junior Olivia Gruver successfully defended her NCAA title in the pole vault with a clearance of 14-11 (4.55m).

Gruver missed her first two attempts at her opening height of 13-7 ј (4.15m), but came through with a clutch make on her final jump. She was the only competitor to clear 14-11.

Stanford currently leads the team standings with 25 points at the end of Thursday’s competition, followed by Florida with 17 and Georgia at 14. The women’s competition concludes on Saturday.