Opposites attract success

Athletes handle themselves in different ways.

Some are the loud, vocal and extroverted type like Nicole Engstrom.

Some are quiet, reserved and lead by example like David Loshonkohl.

Engstrom and Loshonkohl are members of the UA track and field team.

Engstrom is the "go get 'em" one.

"She is definitely somebody who gets in there and exhibits leadership characteristics," said their coach, Dave Murray.

Guess which trait Loshonkohl exhibits.

"David is more of a low-key, laid-back type of individual," Murray said.

Despite their personal differences, they are both at the top of their respective throwing divisions.

Last weekend, the pair qualified for postseason competition with incredible individual performances. Engstrom set two Pacific 10 Conference qualifying marks, one in the discus (151 feet 3 inches) and the other in the shot-put (44-7).

She normally competes in the javelin, as well. However, Saturday's Arizona All-Comers meet did not have a women's competition because the event is not an NCAA indoor sport.

Loshonkohl, a senior from San Diego, not only passed the prerequisite for the NCAA indoor and Pac-10 outdoor championships in the 35-pound weight throw, but also established a new UA record at 68-10. In addition, he won the hammer event with a throw of 193-9, and finished fifth in the discus with a toss of 148-4.

Engstrom, a senior from Payson, is the women's field events team captain.

"It's an honor when the coaches pick you, that they see something (special) in me," said Engstrom of being selected as captain.

Remarkably, it is the second consecutive season Engstrom has been selected as team captain, an honor usually bestowed upon an athlete only one time in a career.

"She's definitely a leader of the women's track and field team, not just throwers," assistant coach Mike Maynard said. "She is one of the hardest-working athletes I've ever coached."

Engstrom is a force to be reckoned with not only on the field, but also in the classroom. She has a 3.4 grade-point average in elementary and physical education.

"She's an outstanding student," Murray said. "She's consistently honored with the academic achievement award at our team banquet."

Engstrom said she eventually wants to teach physical education to school children mid

because she believes they need fitness, a factor that interested her in athletics.

"She is extremely well-rounded," Maynard said. "You never have to worry about Nicole Engstrom."

Engstrom was noticed by UA coaches as a senior in high school because of her outstanding javelin performance in the Great Southwest Championships, a meet that attracts athletes from throughout the region.

This fact drew the attention of the coaching staff because the javelin is not a sanctioned high school event in Arizona.

"We (at Payson High School) worked on it a little bit. But I didn't learn any bad habits," Engstrom said. "When I came to the UA, the coaches taught me straight how to do it."

Said Murray: "She is the best all-around thrower in stats that we have."

Engstrom said she eventually wants to compete on the professional level, but first will try to qualify for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Engstrom and the coaches believe she will definitely be ready for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

"I'm sure she'll qualify for the Olympic trials, but she needs to get over 200 feet (the world class distance for Olympic javelin athletes)," Maynard said.

Loshonkohl is on the opposite end of the spectrum personally, that is.

"He's a little bit different," Murray said. "He goes with the flow, but trains really hard externally."

Last season, Loshonkohl won the hammer throw in the Pac-10 championship. He also qualified in the same event for NCAAs, finishing fourth.

He ended the season ranked seventh in the nation by Track and Field News. However, the poll can be misleading.

"He actually beat all the other American collegiate hammer throwers (ranked before him) in the NCAAs," Maynard said.

The three individuals who finished before Loshonkohl in the NCAA championship were foreigners and ineligible for national ranking.

Speaking of rankings, Loshonkohl has the opportunity this season to dethrone his coach and take over the position of being the third-ranked all-time American collegiate hammer thrower.

"Dave is looking at the possibility of passing me," said Maynard, a former Olympic alternate in the hammer and a college roommate of former Kansas City Chief running back Christian Okoye at Azusa Pacific University.

"It's exciting for a coach to coach an athlete past where they (the coach) competed," he said of the possibility that Loshonkohl will surpass his mark of 231-4.

Perhaps Maynard's accomplishments have motivated Loshonkohl.

"Yes, he's done a lot of things I'd like to do being part of hammer circuit elite and on U.S. teams," Loshonkohl said.

Loshonkohl, a sociology major, hopes to qualify for the '96 Olympics and compete professionally. After his athletic days are over, he wants to become a police officer.

However, throwing currently takes precedence.

"Track is a priority in my life right now," Loshonkohl said. "You only have your body for a little while. You can always get an education and find a job somewhere, doing something.

"I'd work at a gas station to support myself."

On the topic of being soft-spoken, Loshonkohl pointed to his personal perception of track and field.

"A lot of people say track is a team sport," he said. "I think it is an individual sport if you work hard (individually), good things will happen."

Loshonkohl's low-key approach to his sport, and life in general, might be the reason he has struck a close friendship with Maynard.

"He's a really laid-back person," Loshonkohl said. "He just wants to get stuff done, but still gives me the vocal support I need.

"I don't need anyone on my back, I have a pretty good work ethic."

Both Engstrom and Loshonkohl have tremendous work ethics, but are definitely different individuals with different outlooks on life. However, it is obviously working for them, and to the benefit of the team.

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