Lucas Warning’s shot put records help lead Lehigh track and field

Junior thrower Lucas Warning throws a shotput in Rauch Field House. Warning recently broke his own record in shotput, the previous Lehigh record was four decades old. (Courtesy Lehigh Athletics)

Junior Lucas Warning throws a shot put in Rauch Field House. Warning recently broke his own record in shot put, and the previous Lehigh record was four decades old. (Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics)

As Lehigh’s track and field team progresses through its indoor season, the performance of one member, Lucas Warning, stands out after the junior broke the school’s indoor shot put record that stood for over 40 years.

Warning surpassed the 17.40 meter record set back in 1972 by John Hill, ’72. He accomplished the feat last weekend at the John Covert Classic with a throw of 17.62 meters.

“When I threw it I knew it was big, ” Warning said, “I felt it in my forearm as the shot released from my hand. I knew I had a chance of breaking 17 meters, but actually hitting the record was not on my mind.”

The mark Warning threw seeded him as the 56th best thrower in the nation, and he and his coaches have high hopes and expectations for the rest of the season.

The team’s throwing coach, Jeff Pflaumbaum, has been more than pleased with Warning’s performance so far this season.

“We knew Luke was going to break the record at some point in the season,” he said. “But after the first meet in January it became apparent to me that every competition could be the one where he did it.”

Pflaumbaum said that Warning has made a colossal leap since he first joined the team as a freshman, making an almost 11-foot improvement from where he started. He said the shot put is an event that is very technical, detail-oriented and takes a great deal of proper training to master and become consistent. He said he knows Warning has the work ethic to reach his full potential.

According to Warning, there are two common shot put techniques used by throwers: the glide and the spin. The glide is where most throwers begin, and it’s more commonly used because it’s the less technical out of the two techniques. The spin has more moving parts, making it a lot tougher to master, but it does allow the thrower to gain more momentum as they spin before releasing the shot put.

“I am a technical glider,” Warning said. “I glide because I have always done that. I tried to spin but I could not get myself to throw far with that technique.”

During training, Warning likes to go into each week with a technical goal in mind, and he focuses on that goal with Pflaumbaum through various drills and workouts. He then reassesses after every meet to check his progress and eventually pick a new goal to focus on the following week.

Track and field coach Matt Utesch does not spend much time coaching Warning, but he does see the hard work and dedication he puts into his event.

“I provide him with any support I can and hopefully some kind of motivation,” Utesch said. “I fully expect him to break his indoor record again, and then as we move into the outdoor season I hope he breaks John Hill’s outdoor record. But, more than anything, it would be great to see him win the Patriot League Championship.”

Warning and the rest of the Lehigh track and field team compete in the Bucknell Tune Up on Feb. 12.

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