EWU athlete throws himself into new sport

By Erika Meyer, Sports Writer

It was not until his junior year of high school that EWU junior thrower Jordan Arakawa decided he wanted to try something beyond playing football and baseball.

A Washington native, Arakawa is one of the top throwers at Eastern, holding a record that is second of all time in school history. During the indoor season he competes in the weight throw, and during outdoor season he competes in the hammer throw. He used to compete in the discus, but realized he was not built enough for that throw.

“I was a discus thrower, but I am not a massive human being so I couldn’t get away with throwing the college discus,” said Arakawa.

During his high school years at Capital High School in Olympia, Wash., Arakawa played football and baseball, but going into his junior year he got injured during football season. He decided to take another path.

“I kept getting injured in football, so I thought maybe a non-contact sport be a better option,” said Arakawa.

Arakawa also played baseball, but he said he was not fond of the program at his high school.

“After football and baseball, my dad said I needed to try out for another sport,” said Arakawa. “So I tried track. I was originally was going to run, but then I decided to throw the day of try outs.”

During his senior year of high school, Arakawa placed third at the State 3A Championships in the discus and hammer throws. He then placed second in the hammer at the 2010 USATF National Junior Track and Field Championships with a throw of 213-7.

Arakawa’s best marks during his time at Capital High School were in the discus at 172-9 and hammer at 218-3.

Coming to Eastern was one of Arakawa’s only option due to starting his career late.

“Usually your junior year, that’s your big opportunity to show schools you’re college material,” said Arakawa. “But since I started so late no colleges looked at me, and [Mecklenburg] gave me an opportunity to try out and it all worked out.”

According to Arakawa, head women’s and thrower’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg gave him the opportunity to come to Eastern.

“[Arakawa] is a very explosive young man,” said women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “He is genetically gifted with his explosive strength. He is not very big but he is able to overcome that with how explosive he is and is passionate about his events.”

Arakawa first made his appearance in the outdoor season of 2011. He had a season-high discus throw of 156-2 feet and in the hammer throw, Arakawa hit a mark of 196-3, which was good for his personal best and the fifth all-time spot at Eastern. He also placed fourth in the hammer at the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships and seventh in the discus. He advanced to the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round in the hammer and got off a throw of 193-11 to place 21st overall.

In 2012, Arakawa saw action in his first indoor season. He threw a personal best of 59-5 3/4 feet in the weight throw at the Idaho Vandal Indoor to rank eighth all-time at Eastern, and took seventh at the Big Sky Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships with a throw of 57-7 1/2 feet.

During this season he redshirted for the outdoor events.

Going into 2013, Arakawa tossed personal best of 65-4 feet in the weight throw at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships, and placed second. That mark sits second in school history only behind school record holder David Paul, who has 68-8 1/2 feet.

During his outdoor season, Arakawa competed in the hammer throw, clearing the 200-foot mark five times during the season. He placed second at the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships with a throw of 208-4 feet. His personal-best was of 213-8 feet also putting him second all-time holder at EWU.

Arakawa went on to compete at the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round, where he placed 21st with a throw of 201-11 feet.

Coming into 2014, Arakawa has already qualified for the Big Sky Conference Championships for the weight throw with a toss of 62-3 1/4 during the Candy Cane meet on Dec. 6-7.

On Jan. 31 Arakawa launched a personal best with a throw of 66-1 in the weight throw at the Ed Jacoby Invite, a mark that continues to rank second in school history. He is currently ranked 23rd in the nation.

“I would like to have 10 Jordan’s and [Mecklenburg] would agree with me,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “He’s a top student in the university and has a good work ethic.”

According to Mecklenburg, Arakawa puts in a lot of time to learn about his events with Internet research and takes time to study and learn about his events.

“He loves his events,” said Mecklenburg. “He learns as much as he can about them, so he is very knowledgeable about the hammer and weight throw. He would be a dream for any coach to work with.”

Not only is he successful at throwing at EWU, but he puts in time to be known as a student-athlete.

Arakawa holds a 3.92 GPA and is majoring in pre-med.

“I really enjoy school and I really enjoy learning,” said Arakawa. “And a reason why I am fond of the hammer throw is because I am constantly studying it.”