It’s 5 p.m. in Olson Forum. Humidity clouds the area and there are heat waves from constant movement. Sprinters are yelling “track” to clear their paths and jumpers are counting out steps for their next attempts. In one section, shot puts are being thrown into a chain divider. Throughout the gym, track practice has taken over.
This scene is a regular occurrence for the throwers of the Cobber track team. However, there is one new face among the daily scene.
The Cobbers recently hired a new throws coach, Brandt Berghuis. As a North Dakota State University graduate and a thrower during his time at NDSU, Berghuis has a plethora of experience to share with the Cobber throwers.
Berghuis is originally from Rosemount, Minn., and earned a scholarship to throw at NDSU, a team that was number one in the nation last year as an overall throw unit. In his five years at NDSU, Berghuis competed in all three throwing events, which included shotput, discus and hammer throw. He set a NDSU record in shotput with a personal record of 60 ft and a record in hammer toss with a PR of 199 ft. In his final year, he won most valuable field athlete in the Summit League conference. After finishing his athletic career, he decided he wanted to coach because of his passion for the sport.
“I love the sport so much [that] I’ll always be coaching somewhere,” Berghuis said. “It’s just a part of me.”
Head coach Garrick Larson believes that Berghuis has the ability to make a big impact on the throwers.
“He knows the event at a level that most coaches don’t,” Larson said. “He’s able to fix not just the big things but the small, small things and that makes a difference.”
As a recent college graduate, Berghuis has been able to connect with the throwers in a way that brings a fresh outlook and perspective to the program. Berghuis is also a student, currently attending NDSU to get his Ph.D. in plant pathology. With that, he can relate to the workload that the student athletes have and can work within their sometimes tedious schedules. According to junior Bailey Hovland, Berghuis new perspective helped her learn skills in new ways.
“He is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about throwing, and is always trying to explain his coaching ideas in creative ways so I can understand them better,” Hovland said.
Junior Adam Frazier agrees.
“He’s a cool coach, a different coach than I’ve ever had,” Frazier said. “He’s active and is able to be more hands on.”
According to Berghuis, he is eager to continue sharing his experience with throwers and see them improve. Berghuis hopes to see his athletes set some new personal records while also helping the team score points.
“I got some pretty high expectations for my athletes and I should when they work as hard as they do,” Berghuis said.
The throwers competed for the first time with Berghuis as a coach this past weekend at a home MIAC conference meet. Their next meet will take place Feb. 3 and 4 at NDSU.