by Scott Kindberg
July 1, 2001
Battle Goes Out In Style With Titles In Shot & Discus
“It was fun trying to see who was stronger and try to throw it farther than everybody else,” he said recently. “It was fun then… Now it’s like a job.”
But don’t feel sorry for Mr. Battle, folks. After all, it would appear the Jamestown High School graduate is on the fast track to collegiate stardom.
“I’ve never seen an athlete like Sheldon Battle,” JHS boys track coach Greg Sherlock said.
And, more than likely, it will be quite a while before we see a thrower of his ilk again.
In the last month, Battle has won four New York State titles – two in the shot and two in the discus and earned All-American honors after placing third in the discus (193 feet, 3 inches) at the Adidas/Foot Locker Classic, a national meet in Raleigh, N.C. When combined with his Western New York and school record-setting performances of the past three months, it’s quite clear that Battle, 18, is the obvious choice as The Post-Journal’s boys’ athlete of the year for the second straight year.
“As far as we’re concerned, he’s the top kid we’ve worked with in the shot and disc,” said assistant JHS coach Jim Painter, in what amounts to a huge understatement.
“Everybody realized when he was a young kid that he had great potential coming up from the Chautauqua Striders, and he seemed to get better and better.”
And it all came together this spring when he set a WNY mark in the discus (192-10) during the regular season and was less than two inches shy of surpassing Sweet Home’s Aaron Mitchell for the top spot in the shot (Battle’s best toss was 59-3 ¾).
That’s why Sherlock was convinced that Battle had a realistic chance of returning home from the state meet in Uniondale with titles in both events.
Battle didn’t disappoint.
He culminated all his hard work through the years by winning four titles on Long Island, claiming New York State Public High School Athletic Association titles in both the shot (58 feet, 10 ¾ inches) and discus (182-0) as well as Federation championships in both events. Throw in his public school and Federation discus titles in June 2000 as well as being a member of the JHS football in November 2000, Battle is the proud owner of seven state championships in a 12-month span.
“For a long time the only thing that held Sheldon back was Sheldon,” said JHS assistant football coach Joe DiMaio, “Until he began to believe in himself, he didn’t reach his fullest potential. I don’t think he’s reached anywhere near where his potential can be yet.
That’s a scary thought, but one that Battle agrees with.
“Right now I’m probably not throwing it as far as I could have been throwing,” he said prior to his trip to the states, “But when I get to college everybody there will have been lifting since they were in high school. They’ll all be huge and they’re not really going to progress (physically as much). I’m going to get to college and I’m going to lift real hard, an I’m going to take big leaps.
He’s taken plenty already. One can only guess how much bigger they’ll get.
“He has so much to learn and it’s scary to think where he’ll end up when he does get that college-caliber coach,” Sherlock said. “I just think the sky’s the limit for this kid.”