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UND's Detloff takes the country's sixth-best hammer throw into Big Sky meet

UND's Molli Detloff swings the weight during the women's weight throw event earlier this season at the UND High Performance Center. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

When it comes to predicting the potential of UND junior Molli Detloff, Fighting Hawks throwing coach Drew Jones has learned to never say never.

"Every time I set a goal and say this is what I think we can accomplish and this is the end game, she goes beyond that," Jones said.

Detloff will continue to push the limits this weekend at the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Idaho.

The events will begin Thursday for Detloff, beginning with the hammer throw at 10 a.m.

"She's just been one of those people who hasn't been in awe of anyone," Jones said. "In track and field, you can get awestruck at the top end. You never feel like the top-end things are attainable.

"She's never stopped and said, 'Hey, that's enough.' It's always, 'Hey, what's the next step? How do I beat them?' A lot of young athletes don't believe in themselves enough. I've never come across that with Molli. She's never said I don't think I can throw that far."

Detloff, a junior from Elk River, Minn., was named the UND Grace Rhonemus Female Athlete of the Year for a stretch that began at the 2017 Big Sky Conference meet a year ago, where she led the conference with 22 points to become the first UND athlete to be named Big Sky MVP.

She won the conference title in the discus and was the runner-up in the hammer and shot put. She went on to place 12th nationally in the hammer at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, becoming UND's first Division I track and field All-American.

This season, Detloff ranks sixth nationally in the hammer throw. She has broke her own school record in the hammer seven times.

Jones said Detloff's hammer ranking is about 30th in the world right now.

Detloff credits a change in her technique from a two-turn throw to a three-turn throw. The change has her ranked in 2018 ahead of two throwers who outplaced her at the national meet in 2017.

"That's a big step," Detloff said of the three-turn technique. "But I can still throw further because I'm still not doing it right."

Jones said Detloff's national standing a year ago as a two-turn hammer thrower is rare and a credit to pure strength.

"A lot of people looked at her as a two-turner and scoffed at it and didn't give her credit from a technical standpoint," Jones said. "To be a successful hammer thrower, 9.9 out of 10 times you're a three-turner, or even a four-turner. To commit to the three turn has paid off. Her upside as a two-turner wasn't going to be much more."

The Big Sky meet is just the beginning for Detloff's goals this season. She hopes to return to the NCAA event in Eugene, Ore., where a year ago Jones and Detloff vowed to return—and this time get on the podium as a top-eight finisher and a first team All-American.

Is there even more out there for Detloff to accomplish?

"Absolutely," Jones said. "We're missing some pieces we would like to attain from a technical standpoint. If she does those things, there's no exact math, but I think that's 2 meters."

In total for UND, 55 Fighting Hawks athletes will compete in 67 events at the Big Sky meet, which ends Friday.

Detloff (discus), Kyley Foster (pole vault) and Katelyn Weber (shot put) are UND's No. 1-ranked Big Sky performers.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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