Top thrower Abby Magnuson chasing All-American honors for DWU track and field

Apr. 30—MITCHELL — As a freshman attending Central Valley High School in Buxton, North Dakota, competing on their track and field team was the last thing Abby Magnuson wanted to do.

Although she wanted to focus solely on playing basketball in high school, Magnuson joined Central Valley's throwing team on the basis it was going to help her shooting and arm strength in basketball.

However, she quickly began to enjoy throwing due to the individual components of the sport.

"I really love the sport," Magnuson said. "It was something that I could compete against myself with and I only had to rely on myself for sure."

Fast forward to now, Magnuson, a senior, is a star thrower for the Dakota Wesleyan track and field team. She's ranked ninth in the NAIA in the shot put at 14.26 meters (46 feet, 9.5 inches) and 20th in the discus at 44.62 meters (146-5) among national qualifiers, having achieved the NAIA A-standard in the Tigers' opening outdoor event on March 30. That means she has a trip to the NAIA national championships in May to compete in those events.

By her own admission, throwing didn't start to click for Magnuson until beginning her collegiate career as a two-sport athlete, appearing in 47 games for DWU women's basketball from 2020 until last year. Though she shifted her focus to the indoor track and field season this past winter, it was basketball where she learned what it takes to be a college athlete.

"You need to be committed to what you are doing," Magnuson said. "To be good at it, it's going to take time and pretty much with any college athletics, you're going to have to put in time or you won't see results. And that's the thing basketball taught me."

The level of commitment she began to display was evident even during the leadup to the season. Magnuson was seen during the summer coming in and working on drills and conditioning among other work, and snuck in to indoor practices to put in additional work in the past during basketball season.

Despite having a more reserved demeanor about her, Magnuson's work ethic and being around a strong core of athletes on the Tigers' track and field team helped her shine. Coupled with her abilities, those around the team knew there was something special about her.

"She never complains, does what she's told to do, and she does it at a high level," Tigers head coach Matt Rosado said. "I thought to myself as much work as she puts in, she's going to be one of the best throwers in the country."

Her strong performances as one of the top athletes in throwing started in the winter, where she won the GPAC indoor championship in the shot put at 14.63 meters (48-0) while also competing in the weight throw for the first time. Magnuson's throw of 14.97 meters (49-1.5) at the DWU Alumni Meet on Feb. 3 set the school indoor record and was third in the NAIA.

Having already come into the season with fine-tuned mechanics, a lot of the adjustments transitioning to outdoor were simply to create a sound mindset going into important meets.

"Our biggest goal was preparing her to compete in big meets because I felt like she was in her head a lot outdoors," Rosado said. "So we wanted to take her to every big meet we could possibly get to. That way, when we get to nationals, it'll feel small-scale and like a triangular on a Tuesday."

Magnuson also works to clear her mind before she goes out and attempts a throw, focusing on being more fluid with her throwing motion during the season as she prepares for the upcoming outdoor conference championships, where the goals are clear.

"I feel placing high in both shot put and discus at conference are very reachable goals," she said. "I fell short of my goal of getting All-American for indoor, but I think that's a reachable goal again. But it all depends on the day and how others compete."

Following the season, Magnuson will return to work on finishing her masters in athletic training at DWU next year, with her presence on the team going to be hard to replicate.

"The role she took on as the leader of the throws group for our young folks is irreplaceable," Rosado said. "If she took away nothing but knowing her input and value here is unmatched, that would be great for me."