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Pair of Concordia throwers used to tossing gems

Concordia throwers Cherae Reeves, left, and Olivia Johnson will participate in the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships this week. Sheldon Green / Concordia athletics

Moorhead - Cherae Reeves has the best women's shot put toss in Concordia history, but she takes comfort in the fact she isn't flawless.

"I'm happy that I'm not perfect because then I can improve," said Reeves, who is from West Fargo.

Reeves ranks among the top throwers heading into the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships that start today in Delaware, Ohio. She has the fifth-best performance in the shot put with a toss of 47 feet, 10½ inches.

A junior, Reeves will have company in the throwing circle with teammate Olivia Johnson also making nationals in the shot put.

Johnson is ranked No. 4 on Concordia's all-time women's shot put list, throwing 45-10¾ last spring. Johnson's best toss this season is 44-11, which ranks No. 17 at the national meet.

"Cherae is the ultimate specialist, where Olivia is on the other end of the spectrum," Cobbers head coach Marv Roeske said.

While both like to paint their nails for every meet for good luck, Reeves' lone sport is track and her marquee event is the shot put.

Johnson also plays women's basketball, so she misses the indoor track season, and she dabbles in all four throws for the outdoor season.

"I've been used to it since high school," said Johnson, a sophomore from Colfax, N.D.

Johnson, who attended Richland High School, was in volleyball, basketball and track during the school year and played softball in the summer.

"Instead of getting too worn out on one sport ... you can kind of get a taste of everything," Johnson said.

Roeske thinks playing two sports helps Johnson in some regards, keeping her mind fresh. Johnson said she "feels blessed" to be able to compete in two sports in college.

However, she at times wonders what her track potential would be if she focused on one sport.

"It's hard because I am still not throwing as far as I would like to," Johnson said. "But to be honest, I don't think I could do it (focus on one sport). ... I don't think I could make myself stop."

Concordia assistant coach Dave Reuter, who coaches throws, thinks Johnson has big potential in front of her.

"With her throwing, especially shot put, she is still pretty raw in her technique, but she is just so athletic," Reuter said.

Reeves and Johnson are both making their second consecutive trip to outdoor nationals. Both qualified for the event in the shot put last spring.

Reeves feel she's getting better at handling the pressure of being a highly ranked thrower, expected to earn All-America status.

"They want me to do well, and they know I can do well," Reeves said. "I try not to think too much, because I tend to overthink things."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson's blog can be found at

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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