The Iron Lady

When Sarah Loesch found out she was going to be redshirting for the Purdue women’s track and field team as a freshman last year, she wasn’t too disappointed.

The Columbus East graduate knew she needed time to develop physically and learn the weight and hammer throws, which aren’t contested at the high school level.

At least initially, the move has paid off. Loesch began her college indoor track career with a weight throw that put her in the top 10 on the school’s all-time list.

“I definitely think it was a great idea to redshirt, just because I needed time to build muscle and technique,” Loesch said. “Getting used to the academic schedule and getting used to my teammates, I’m very pleased with the decision to redshirt last year because it’s put me in the position to be competitive this year.”

The decision to redshirt came from Boilermakers throwing coach Keith McBride.

“She just needed to get in the weight room to get stronger and learn the weight and the hammer,” McBride said. “She had to learn the event completely. I think she’s kind of a natural at it, and she has the competitive drive that she wants to do good at it.”

In her first collegiate competition, Loesch threw the weight 18.48 meters (60 feet, 7 3/4 inches) to finish second in the Hoosier Open on Dec. 11 at Indiana University. The distance put her eighth on Purdue’s career list.

“It felt really good to get that mark out there,” Loesch said. “I didn’t dwell on it too long, though. I wanted to keep moving (the distance) up. I’ve been practicing at that distance for a while now. It’s just about working on the consistency of that throw.”

In her second meet, Loesch posted her first win. She threw 18.20 meters (59 feet, 8 1/2 inches) to capture the event Jan. 9 at Purdue’s Gene Edmonds Invitational.

Loesch came back with an 18.26-meter (59 feet, 1¾ inches) throw to take third in a Jan. 16 dual meet with IU.

“I’ve been pretty happy with how things are going,” Loesch said. “Obviously, there’s always still work to be done, so I’m trying to throw farther.”

This year, she has reached 65 feet in practice.

“She’s athletic, she can move the ball and she has great leverage,” McBride said. “Being 6-2 or however tall she is gives her a great advantage, especially in the weight and the hammer.”

A shot and discus thrower in high school, Loesch has been concentrating on the weight throw this indoor season. She will throw the discus and the hammer outdoors.

The weight throw is similar to the hammer, but weighs 20 pounds instead of eight. Also, the weight throw doesn’t feature a long chain like the hammer.

“It’s always easier when you have less technique to focus on,” Loesch said. “I just picked up weight for the first time last year, so I don’t have that much experience with it.”

But that hasn’t stopped the graphic design major from launching some big throws in the first three meets of her career.

“I think she’s doing great,” McBride said. “To start off a career and throw 60 feet in the weight, that’s a sign of good things to come.”

At a glance

Sarah Loesch’s distances in the weight throw in her first three collegiate meets:


Hoosier Classic (Dec. 11);18.48 meters (60 feet, 7 3.4 inches);second

Gene Edmonds Invitational (Jan. 9);18.20m (59-8 1/2);first

Dual meet vs. Indiana (Jan. 16);18.26m (59-10 3/4);third

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.