March 19, 2007
Eastern Washington's David Paul placed 14th in the nation in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 9-10. Th e senior was named the Big Sky Conference Men's Field Athlete of the Meet at the Big Sky Indoor Championships on Feb. 23-24. At that meet, which was held in Bozeman, Mont., he registered a 68-8.5 mark in the weight throw, the ninth-furthest mark in the country this season. Paul placed first in the weight throw and third in the shot put. Paul is a two-time all-conference performer in indoors in the shot put and weight throw. In outdoors, he was an all-conference performer in the discus in 2006. Paul spent a few minutes on the phone with John Catron of the Big Sky Conference.
Let's get to know David Paul.
Q: So we have an idea where you grew up, where in the state of Washington is Yelm? Also, how far is Yelm from EWU in Cheney?
A: Yelm is 20 minutes south of Olympia. I grew up there. Yelm is five hours from Cheney.
Q: How did you end up choosing EWU for school?
A: My high school coach was friends with Marcia Mecklenburg (EWU coach). EWU recruited me well. I wasn't a big kid coming out of high school, like most throwers are, but they kept in good touch with me. They were consistent and that's why I am at EWU.
Q: When did you start throwing? Did you immediately recognize your talent for throwing?
A: I started in the 8th grade, but at that age you have no technique, you just go out and throw. So I didn't know if I could be any good. One day as a freshman in high school I just kind of figured out the technique, and everything started clicking from there. As a freshman I went 45 feet in the shot put. Th en, as a sophomore, I went 52 feet. Every year I kept getting better, so I kept going and started pursuing it harder. My high school coach told me I'd be good at the hammer, but I wasn't too crazy about it at that time.
Q: You placed 14th in the weight throw last weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships. What did it mean to you to compete at nationals?
A: Just going to the championships was a reinforcement that what I'm doing is right. Being there made me feel really good about all the time and hard work I've put it. Th e hard work really pays off .
Q: Was it overwhelming to compete against the best collegiate athletes from all across the nation? How will that experience help you during the outdoor season?
A: I knew everyone was good. I tried to not focus on what they were doing. I just tried to focus on what I needed to do. Th e athletes I saw at the indoor championships will probably be the same ones that will be at the outdoors. That's nice because I know who I'm competing against. If I return to nationals, it won't be such an eye opener, I'll have more experience and will do better.
Q: Now, in college, you compete in the shot put and weight throw during the indoor season. During the outdoor season you compete in the discuss, hammer, and shot put. Which of these is your favorite event? Which event do you have the best shot at returning to the NCAA Championships in?
A: Discuss use to be my favorite because I picked it up first. Now hammer is probably my favorite and best event. Th e shot put hasn't really ever come together for me. I think I can make it back to nationals in the hammer.
Q: You've set the bar pretty high for yourself. You already hold the EWU records in the weight throw and hammer, and hold the third-furthest mark in conference history in the weight throw. What are your goals for your final outdoor season? You're second on the discus list, 14' feet behind Brad Bolands 193' throw. What would it take for you to be on top of that list by the end of this season?
A: I want to make it back to nationals and be an All-American. I'd also like to throw further than I ever have and break my school records. Once I'm at the nationals, I want to have a great throw. As far as setting the school record in the discus, that's a really far throw. I'm aiming for the 180s.
Q: What are your ambitions after college?
A: I want to go to graduate school and study exercise science. After that, I'd like to coach track and field at a Division I school.
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of school work and track and field?
A: There's nothing outside of school and track right now. I'm busy. But, when I have time, I like to hang out with my friends.
Favorite Movie: Dogma
Favorite TV Show: South Park
Favorite Restaurant in Cheney: Taste of India (in Spokane)
Favorite Course: Individual sports. We call it a prolab. It's a class where you learn different teaching styles for teaching different games.
Best thing about Cheney: It's a smaller city.
Favorite Music: Rock with a little metal. Not too hard, though.