In what served as the last track and field action before competitions were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, Sealy senior discus thrower Luke Thielemann finally eclipsed the record length that has been burned into his memory at the Gobbler Relays in Cuero on March 14.
In an interview following his state championship appearance last year where Thielemann took third overall, he mentioned not only returning to the top meet of the year this time around, but that school record as well.
“It feels great because my mom and my dad both graduated from here so I was just trying to make them proud,” he said in a May 2019 conversion. “Next year, hopefully I can make it back to state but I would also like to break our school record.”
That 168-foot throw was on his mind coming into the afternoon and he entered the stadium feeling good and once the throw left his hand it similarly felt just as good.
“I did know right away because I had pretty much had that record memorized in my head,” he said over the phone last Friday morning. “The record was 168 (feet) and I threw 168 (feet), 8 (inches).”
Of course, he hasn’t been able to officially expand on those results with the coronavirus shutting down competitions until at least May, although the UIL is hopeful to resume competition once school returns. Regardless of when the next competition will be, he’s still putting in the work to stay in shape.
“I’ve been thinking hopefully it's not all canceled,” Thielemann said. “That they just push it back into the summer, so I can keep throwing. I've just been trying to stay busy try not to think about it honestly. … Been trying to throw at least two or three times a week and lift wherever I can.
“Honestly, it's a big mental block,” he continued. “As soon as you hit that stride you don't really want to stop. The fact that you have to stop and now try to pick it back up where you left off is hard.”
However, even if he won’t throw in a Sealy uniform again, it was the work he put in while wearing black and gold that has helped provide the opportunity to throw for the Sam Houston State Bearkats and continue his athletic and academic careers in Huntsville.
“I talked to the coach and told him I wanted to come there and throw and he offered me a spot on the team,” Thielemann said. “He talked to me during football season that he would like for me to come there. He just kept checking up on me as the season went on. After pretty much everything got canceled, I told him that I would want to come throw there, because I didn't know what else would happen. So, I just went ahead and committed then.”
He’ll get to bolster his family ties twice over, staying closer to home while also attending his father’s alma mater.
“It’s close to home, my dad went there,” Thielemann said of the main reasons why he chose Sam Houston State. “I just wanted to be closer to home and everybody and my family and everything. (My dad) and everyone has been pretty happy that I get to keep going on.”
In addition, he’ll have a familiar face on the team for at least a year in current junior Clayton Fritsch who competes in the pole vault for the Bearkats.
“Me and Clayton go to the same church and that's the other reason I kind of pushed to go there,” Thielemann said. “I knew I'd have him for my first year.”
Another thing that will likely help Thielemann in the transition to the next level are the online courses he’s taking to finish his high school course load despite not meeting in person.
“It's been something,” Thielemann said of the all-online instruction. “It's kind of harder to keep yourself in check to keep doing the work but I mean I've been doing pretty good. I try to wake up every morning and get all my work done so that I don't have to worry about it the rest of the day.”
Above all else, one thing he’s leaving behind for underclassmen who didn’t have their final seasons cut short; “Enjoy the time you have, because you never know when it'll be over,” he said.