Healdsburg shot put hurler takes first, lures fans to sport
Erdman's 56-foot toss beats runner-up by 9 feet; he also wins discus title

By DEWEY FORGET
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

PETALUMA -- The shot put. A mere mention of putting the shot conjures up images of 
very large individuals pushing a steel sphere from under their chin with loud grunts 
to punctuate their effort. 

The shot put is not one of track and field's glamour events. It's usually held in 
a tucked-away corner of the track's infield, with only a few spectators supplying 
encouragement for the participants.

Healdsburg's Daniel Erdman is doing his best to change the long-lived image of the 
shot putter. The senior is leading a sort of renaissance, a renewing of interest in 
the sport that Erdman calls, "a special event."

Ranked fourth in the state with a personal-best toss of 59 feet, 5; inches, 
Erdman attracts a crowd and applause when he throws. He also is not the typical shot-
putter. Long and lean, he looks like a runner. To prepare for his specialty, he has 
run the 1,600 relay for the Greyhounds.

"It helps with my speed and explosiveness," he said. "People have told me it's an 
unusual combination."

On Saturday at the Sonoma County League championship meet at Petaluma, Erdman took 
home first place with a 56-6 toss. Teammate Luke Wilson (47-6) was second and Mike 
Stone of Analy third.

Erdman, who is considered a technician, has improved incrementally each year. His 
goal is to break the 60-foot mark.

"It's like breaking the sound barrier. I need just a little more effort. Technique 
will get you further distance than size," he said.

Next up for Erdman is the Redwood Empire Track and Field Championship on Saturday in 
Crescent City, a qualifying meet for the North Coast Section meet at Berkeley in two 
weeks. Erdman also added the discus title to his resume, spinning the disk 149-7 to 
upset top-seeded Joe Durling of El Molino.

Casa Grande freshman Jacque Taylor continued her assault on the record book, running 
5:05.9 in the 1,600 meters to break Casa's Ashton Leseur's record of 5:08.2.

As expected, Taylor ran away with the 3,200, though her time of 11:07.7 was far 
from her best mark of 10:36.03, which ranks sixth in the state. Brittany Escamilla 
(El Molino) was second and Sarah Sumpter (Healdsburg) third.

"I wanted to go for my PR, but the wind was pushing me back," said Taylor, who is 
hoping to peak at the state meet in three weeks at Sacramento City College. "I'm too 
small to get through it. I think without the wind I would have gotten my PR. At Redwood, 
I will try again."

One of the more entertaining races came when twins Sterling and Devin Lockert (Petaluma) 
squared off in the 800. With 200 meters remaining, Sterling took a 10-meter 
lead, only to have Devin overtake him 30 meters from the line. Not to be outdone, 
Sterling came back to nip his brother at the wire in 2:01.5. Oddly enough, their 
preliminary times Wednesday were identical, 2:00.0.

The two also ran one-two in the 1,600. Sterling won in 4:33.7. Devin out-kicked 
teammate Cole Yungert in the final stages for second place. Sterling also added a gold 
medal in the 3,200.

Petaluma boys' amassed 126 points to claim the team title. Healdsburg (88) was second 
and Casa Grande (70) third. The Trojans completed an undefeated season at 7-0. The 
Sonoma girls out-distanced second place Casa, 126-84. Analy was third. The Dragons 
went 7-0 for the season.