by Scott Kindberg
Battle Is All-American
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sheldon Battle is an All-American.
The Jamestown native earned that distinction late Friday night after placing second in the shot put at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Sacramento State University.
Battle, a junior at the University of Kansas, was the runner-up in the event with a personal best throw of 66 feet, 7 ¼ inches, which is the second best toss inn school history.
Battle, a 2001 Jamestown High School graduate, was defeated by Edis Elkasevic of Auburn, who threw 68-6. The top-eight finish qualified Battle for All-American honors, capping a memorable first year at the Big 12 Conference school.
In addition to his lofty place inn the shot – Karl Salb is the only Jayhawk with a better throw (67-2 3/4 in 1971) – Battle is ranked second in school history in the hammer (210-0) and fifth in the discus (188-10).
Jim Painter, the assistant track and field coach at JHS, and JHS head coach Greg Sherlock are not surprised by Battle’s successes.
“We took him to the Penn Relays and we got to see college throwers, so we knew he had the right tools,” Painter said.
And Battle, a NJCAA national champion in the shot and discus last year at Mesa Community College, has been putting those tools to good use for the Jayhawks , qualifying in three events at the NCAAs. He finished 16th in the preliminaries of the hammer throw on Wednesday and placed 11th in the finals of the discus Saturday.
“We’re pretty proud of him,” Painter said. “We knew he had potential. We took him as far as we could. His junior college coach he has now is an excellent coach. Sheldon says he’s just fortunate. He reaches a plateau and the next coach takes him to thew next level.”
For that reason, Painter considers Battle one of the greatest athletes to walk the hallways at JHS.
“In all honesty, he’s pretty close to the top,” Painter said. He was a great football player, he was great in track, and he was a very good wrestler (in middle school). He is quite an athlete, a national athlete. Mechanically, he’s very good in almost everything he does, and he listens real well. I know I took him as far as I could. I just prayed he got the right help from other coaches.”