Arakawa swings for the Big Sky

By Amye Ellsworth, Senior Sports Reporter

Photo by: Anna Mills
Jordan Arakawa practices the hammer throw. Throwing motion involves transitioning from a stationary position into multiple rotations of the body in a circular movement.



Sophomore thrower Jordan Arakawa has his sights set on the Olympics.

The track and field athlete hopes to eventually compete in the Olympic trials, saying it is one of his ultimate goals after he graduates. For the time being, Arakawa is working on steadily improving his performance in the hammer throw, and he has felt confident in his performances so far.

“I’ve felt good because I redshirted last year, so I came out and started seeing all these big improvements,” he said. “My biggest improvement is probably my technique as far as maturing and understanding that what I do in practice I can simulate in the meet and not let my adrenaline take over.”

Head throwing coach Marcia Mecklenburg said Arakawa’s redshirt year made a significant difference in his current level of play.

“His strength has improved. Technically, he’s a little more sound, and he’s doing things more consistently. That’s what we look for when you’re redshirting: that the kids have that year to get more technically sound in their event and gain more strength,” she said. “That redshirt year really worked for Jordan [Arakawa].”

Because he is still new to college level competition, Arakawa is admittedly very nervous before competition, especially during the bigger meets with more on the line. His method of combating his nerves involves drinking a Powerade during a meet.

“It doesn’t necessarily calm me, but it reassures me because I had a really good meet when I drank that,” he said.

When Arakawa’s Powerade superstition is not enough, he turns to another method for calming himself.

“I just have to take a deep breath and remind myself that I’ve been practicing this whole time, so I just have to go out and do what I’ve been training to do,” he said.

Despite being a sophomore, Arakawa has a strong background in his event. Unlike many college athletes, Arakawa started throwing the hammer in high school. He considers this advantage to be his greatest strength because it gave him a head start over his competition.

According to his biography on, Arakawa placed third in the State 3A Championships for both discus and hammer throw. Arakawa attended Capitol High School in Olympia, Wash. His personal best in the hammer throw for his high school career was 218-3, but his college best is currently a 208-1. This mark ranks him at second place in school history. The current record is 226-2 and is held by David Paul. Arakawa also holds the second best record in the weight throw, with a toss of 65-4.

Mecklenburg said her long-term goal for Arakawa was for him to obtain both the school record and the Big Sky Conference record. Both of these records are also currently held by Paul, who set the Eastern weight throw record in 2007 with a throw of 68-8 1/2.

Currently, Arakawa considers his age to be his biggest weakness because he is competing against older and more experienced athletes. He said his older teammates, junior Jon Buchanan and senior Marlyn Anderson, are role models and leaders in his athletic life.

“They’ve already had the rough experiences of having a bad meet, so they can always cheer me up and tell me it happens to all of us,” Arakawa said.

Mecklenburg agreed but added that Arakawa will only continue to improve.

“As he continues to work on the hammer, he’ll automatically start to get better because he’s getting older. His strength has already improved,” she said.