Carbondale shot put star still has some distance to cover
A lot of people would love to be as "below average" as Sam Sikon has been lately.
Despite winning the shot put at seven meets this winter and spring, the Carbondale High School (CHS) senior expressed his disappointment about coming up short of matching his previous indoor season's personal best, mostly because he injured his throwing hand this year.
“Overall, I'd rate my indoor season a C-minus, if I'm being honest with myself,” Sikon told the SW Illinois News in an email.
Then again, Sikon has high standards, going by his history at CHS. This outdoor season, he will be going for the double — winning both the shot put and discus — at the Class 2A state meet for the third-straight year.
Sikon said the season has been promising so far. He won the shot put at the Racer Relays Invitational on April 1 in Murray, Kentucky, and the Norm Armstrong Invitational on April 8 in Belleville, Illinois. He also won the discus at the first meet and finished third in the next.
“I just had a meet where I threw 64 feet 2 inches, 64-9 and 65-0.25,” he said. “I didn't hit those numbers until late May last year, so I'm cautiously optimistic about the next one and a half months.”
Another number Sikon is looking at is 70: the distance in feet he wants to throw the shot this season. But he's worried he hasn't had the offseason throws he needs to get there, and his hand injury has also set him back. But a throw of 68 feet would be a state record.
“I have had some throws go right up on 65 feet this past week, so if I can gain consistency and then correct some smaller issues I've been having, like not fully squaring up before the strike, dropping my arm slightly on the entry, and letting my blocking foot come off the ground slightly too early, then I think I can throw 68 feet,” he said.
Sikon has a history of fighting to get where he wants to be. He said that when he started throwing in track and field during middle school, he “ended up being trash."
“I didn't want to be trash anymore, so I bought a 4K shot and taught myself the spin over the summer for eighth-grade year,” Sikon said.
In his next season, Sikon went from throwing 32 feet to 55 feet, he said. Since then, the objectivity in terms of how throwers are ranked and the little changes that can mean big swings in distance have appealed to him, he said.
Sikon already has his post-CHS days set, signing with Southern Illinois University last fall. In terms of finances and education — SIU has a biomedical-science major, which is what Sikon is looking for — as well as a new coach in James Lambert, the local school appealed to him.
“Well, being local I've always said I'd never go to SIU, but the process of talking to a whole lot of [Division I] universities showed me the strength of SIU that I previously hadn't noticed,” Sikon said.
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