Broken Record Motivates Pair of Illini Throwers
Feb. 25, 2011
By: Courtney Cheatham, Illinois Sports Information
It took just one toss for freshman Davis Fraker to set a new school record in the weight throw; a school record previously held by teammate senior Matt McHugh. While some might assume a freshman defeating a senior's school record on his first throw might produce hard feelings, it's resulted in nothing but competition and motivation for McHugh.
"It was a bit humbling to get beat and get my school record taken away, but I was completely fine with it," McHugh said. "I have a lot of respect for Davis. It mainly motivated me to work even harder this year."
On the other hand, Fraker recalls how supportive McHugh was when he broke his record. Not only was McHugh the first one to come over and congratulate him, but encouraged him to shoot for an even better throw. Fraker says it's never a thing of breaking McHugh's record rather gaining a mentor on and off the field.
From a coaching perspective, interim head coach Mike Turk believes Fraker and McHugh are a strong fit for each other.
"Davis is very outgoing, young, energetic, while Matt is more reserved, mature and more of a thinker," Turk said. "They certainly are competitive. I think on one hand, Davis' ability and the way he competes has helped Matt unlock a door he's been knocking on for awhile, but at the same time, I think Matt's maturity is an asset for Davis. Davis competed at a high level before he came here, but it's still a different environment and there are things he's experiencing for the first time."
With the Big Ten Championships quickly approaching, expectations are high for both Fraker and McHugh. They are both currently ranked in the top five in the Big Ten for the weight throw and have each notched personal-bests throws this year.
"This whole season, I've been trying not to have any expectations," McHugh said. "I just say you've been doing it for four and a half years, you're already going to figure out as much as much as you know, just go ahead and throw. It's worked thus far."
As for Fraker, he couldn't be more pumped,
"It's going to be awesome," Fraker said. "I'm so excited. It will be so much fun to compete here, because I feel like the atmosphere is so much better than the places we have competed. When you come here, it's big."
Coach Turk gave Fraker and McHugh simple advice for the weekend: "Don't bring anything home with you. Whatever you got, leave it out there and give it your all."