The Post-Journal

Battle Scheduled For Double Duty At NCAAs

The Booth Family Hall of Athletics is a brand-new 26,000-square-foot museum adjacent to the east side of Allen Fieldhouse at the University of Kansas.The Hall, according to the school’s website, “honors the university’s historic athletic programs, its coaches and student-athletes, past and present.”

Among the notables are James Naismith, Phog Allen and Wilt Chamberlain.

Guess who else is also recognized?

None other than Jamestown’s own Sheldon Battle.

In fact, a huge color photograph of the senior All-American thrower is on display in a glass-enclosed case dedicated to the Jayhawks’ track and field program. A total of 18 current athletic teams are featured in six different exhibit areas in the museum’s “Game and Gear” section.

“It’s exciting to see it and things like that,” Battle said via telephone Wednesday night from the Lawrence campus, “but I try not to get too excited.”

The 2001 Jamestown High School graduate has low-keyed it to such a degree that he maintains he hasn’t even told his family about the honor.

` Of course, he’s got a few other things on his mind, most notably the events of this weekend when he represents the Jayhawks in both the shot put and the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

As the only thrower in the country set to compete in both events – “I guess they make me do everything around here,” he said with a laugh – Battle is ranked No. 2 in the shot and No. 9 in the weight throw by and second in the shot and 11th in the weight throw on this season’s national performance list.

His personal bests are 65 feet, 4 ¼ inches in the shot put and 70-1/2 in the weight throw. He finished first and second, respectively, in those events at the Big 12 Championships in Lincoln, Neb., two weeks ago.

“I had torn my quadriceps (in the preseason), but that’s fine now, so everything is good,” said Battle, who earned All-American status indoors last year in the shot after finishing seventh at the NCAAs. “I just missed about a month and a half of practice, so I’m still catching up. It’s all coming back. Hopefully this weekend turns out good and I can get ready for outdoors.”

That’s where he really wants to shine.

In 2005, he earned All-American honors in the shot put with a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships; threw for a school record in the shot put at the USA Outdoor Championships (68-8 ½); and was named the Big 12 Outdoor Performer of the Year after winning the discus (188-10) and the hammer throw (210-0) and finishing second in the shot put (63-10 ½).

In other words, it’s been quite a two-year experience for the 22-year-old.

“I couldn’t have expected it,” he said. “Everyone has dreams about doing that stuff, and all the awards have been fun, but I go back and I don’t think about it that much. Maybe when I’m older I’ll realize it more.”

Until then, he’ll just keep on working.

“I want to be the best,” he said. “I guess that’s what it comes down to.”

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