(Editor’s note: Story by Montana Sports Information)
MISSOULA – It would be easy to say that all Hana Feilzer does is win – which would be accurate – but more important to her coaching staff is that she also continues to progress.
Dating back to mid-February 2016, Feilzer, a thrower on the Montana track & field team, has competed in the weight throw in 13 meets. She’s been victorious 10 times.
But more than the wins is the development. That win on Feb. 12, 2016 in Bozeman? She recorded a mark of 57-9.5, up from 54-4.75 the week prior. Two weeks later, at the conference championships, she reached 58 feet for the first time.
Flash forward to 2017 and her range grew to the low 60s, even setting a school record with a throw of 62-10.75 in Pocatello, Idaho. She redshirted a year ago, but came back determined for more, and it’s showing.
After making her return, Feilzer is 3-for-3 so far in 2019, but again, most impressive is her progression, going from 60-6 at the Candy Cane to 60-10 at the MSU Open to her school record of 64-10 last weekend.
The distance and feat earned her Big Sky Conference Women’s Field Athlete of the Week honors on Tuesday, her fourth career indoor or outdoor selection.
“To start the season at 60 feet is a good place to be and a big confidence booster,” throws coach David Paul said. “She believes she can throw further and each week she continues to show that and makes it happen.”
Wins and accolades come aplenty for Feilzer, a Missoula native.
Between indoor and outdoor, the redshirt senior has scored at conference five times. She’s a conference champion in the hammer throw, qualifying for regionals in the event. That same year, she was named the Championships’ Outstanding Performer.
Feilzer owns two school records, in the weight throw – surpassing her previous school record on Friday – and also in the hammer throw.
Away from the sport, she has earned academic recognition from the Big Sky each semester and is a two-time USTFCCCA All-Academic selection.
Competing at the MSU Dual Meet Invitational last Friday, Feilzer won the weight throw, beating out competitors from Idaho State, Montana State and Utah State. Through five throws, she already had three distances better than any of the 17 other throwers, but that didn’t stop her from unleashing on her final attempt.
“I saw it was over the 60-foot marker, but I didn’t feel like it was my best throw,” Feilzer reflected. “During warmups, I think I had one that went further. But then I saw my parents up in the stands screaming, they were so excited. That’s when I knew.”
On her final throw, Feilzer reached not only a personal best, but also a distance no other Grizzly has ever recorded (64-10). The figure leads all Big Sky athletes this season, and a year ago would have ranked in the top 50 nationally.
Feilzer admits that her redshirt season, at times, was tough.
“It’s hard to go from competing for three years and then have a full year without it,” she said.
In a meet in Seattle last January, competing unattached, Feilzer threw distances similar to where she was at the previous season, which gave her the confidence that she could use the year off as a year of building.
“I’m really excited about where I’m at right now,” she said. “I felt like I was in a rut at times last year, but seeing my recent results and knowing that I still have more in the tank gives me confidence.”
Added Paul: “Redshirting can be really hard because you fall out of the groove of competing every week and staying focused on what you’re training for. She came into this year and switched gears. She’s disciplined with her movements. Her focus is there and she’s ready to compete.”
This is just the third week of the season that the Big Sky has named athletes of the week and the second honor for a Montana athlete. Erika McLeod was recognized during Week 1 for her performance in the pentathlon at the Candy Cane XI. The Grizzlies will be back in action this weekend at the prestigious UW Invite in Seattle.