Feb. 26, 2010
For the McKim's It's a Family Affair
By Ian Echlin '13
Senior Ben McKim feels at home any time he picks up a shot put. His dad, Paul McKim, is one of his technique coaches for Northwest Missouri State. Ben not only works hard on his mental and physical technique at practice but he also has the opportunity to take some advice over the dinner table at home.
"The best advice my dad has given is that hard work in the long run will beat out talent any day," Ben said. "I may not have been the most gifted, but I always worked hard."
Ben had been to Maryville Spoofhounds and Bearcat track meets in support of his older brother, Daniel, who is six years older. Now Ben has competed in those same meets for both schools. In the 2009 outdoor track season, Ben passed his brother and is ranked fourth on Northwest's top 10 outdoor performers' list. His 59-feet throw last week is the second-farthest in indoor program history.
"Northwest was my first choice, after going to track meets growing up and also coming to Northwest football games," Ben said. "I've always liked the Bearcats."
Ben also played football at Maryville and received all-conference honors after his performances as a defensive lineman and tight end, but had no intentions of playing in college.
"I didn't want to play football in college, so I stayed here for track," Ben said. "I probably could have played football somewhere, but I wasn't really interested."
Daniel earned All-America honors in the shot put back in 2003, when he placed eighth at the indoor national championship meet following a throw of 56-feet-10.5-inches. Ben's first chance at nationals came last year during the outdoor season and he delivered a personal best throw of 58-feet-9.25-inches - good for second place and the title of All-American.
"I truly believe Ben is one of those guys who should keep on competing beyond college," Northwest head coach Scott Lorek said. "He's getting better every year and his attitude allows him to work hard and stay committed."
Coaches favor Ben's positive attitude. Ben spends an hour-and-a-half five days a week in the weight room working to get bigger and quicker. Along with lifting, Ben and the throwers run sprints everyday to be better conditioned.
"My dad, our coach, says that we need to be the fastest for the first seven feet," Ben said. "After seven feet we don't have to be the fastest and we definitely aren't."
Ben has recently concentrated on developing his speed as opposed to his strength. Trying to add distance to his personal best, he plans on using his same technique, but speed up his motion.
"Instead of thinking I'm going to launch this out there when I step into a ring, I think to speed this up so it'll go farther."
Paul was an 800-meter runner in high school so mixing speed with throwing seems a natural mix. Ben's oldest brother, 10-years older, also threw shot in high school.
"I always looked up to my brothers growing up," said Ben. "That's probably why I grew to love this sport so much. When I was old enough, they helped me develop the fundamentals and always showed me ways I could improve."
Ben is the top rated thrower heading into this weekend's MIAA Championship meet and you can bet he and his father will be ready to compete. Ben has already qualified for the national meet held March 12-13 in New Mexico, but improving on a third-place finish last year is the goal this week.
"The great thing about our throwers is that they all have great attitudes," said Lorek. "The thing that I am sure of is that Ben is going to perform at his best when it counts. I'm confident that he is going to do whatever it is that he is capable of."
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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