Roberts sits among top five in nation
Daniel Roberts is entering his senior year at Mobridge Pollock high school. Last spring, Roberts beat Tigers 2006 graduate Billy Hardcastle’s record throw and was ranked fourth in the nation among high school boys. Last season, Roberts owned the longest discus throw among juniors in the country and this August he will enter his senior year of high school holding the longest discus toss in South Dakota and the third longest throw in the country. This is generating himself, and Mobridge, national attention.
This is the first summer Roberts is eligible to be recruited seriously by universities and colleges sports programs. The NCAA’s rules on recruiting high school athletes are strict and limit contact between coaches and players to all but a passing “hello.” But July 1, coaches can call and visit players personally and suddenly Roberts found himself fielding calls and visits from coaches all over the nation.
Since June, he’s heard from six division one programs including South Dakota State University, University of Nebraska, Minnesota State University, Brigham Young University and Arizona State University. He’s had personal visits from all programs but Arizona.
Roberts seems unaffected by all the attention he’s receiving this summer.
“It’s been pretty regular so far,” said Roberts. “The decision on where to go will come to me eventually.”
Being in the top five of anything in the country is an impressive feat. Throwers from 50 different states and thousands of high schools competed for the top 10 spots in discus. What’s more impressive than that, is Daniel Roberts learned the bulk of his throwing technique from online video sharing site YouTube.
“I just picked throwing up over time,” said Roberts. “I would watch videos on the internet and then go out and try to do what I just saw.”
With little to no formal training outside attending throwing camps sporadically, Roberts has managed to hurl himself onto the national track scene. Roberts said he wants to stay close to home to be with his father, Earl, mother, Elena and sister Jennie, but also wants to compete at a high level. SDSU and Nebraska have been particularly interesting to Roberts because both are close to home, yet compete at the division one level.
Roberts hasn’t officially visited any schools as of this summer, but hopes to during the fall. Recently, he just made another big decision. Roberts wrestled with the idea of spending the fall practicing his throwing rather than playing football, but has since decided he will play. Roberts has also received attention from top tier schools to play football, but Robert’s love is the discus.
“It was a tough decision because I want to train and work on my technique, but I also want to be in shape for throwing,” said Roberts. “I’ve heard advice both ways, but I’ve been playing football with these guys for so long, they’ve almost become my brothers.”
It’s these friends, said Roberts, that keep him motivated to train and improve.
“My friends always come to watch me and get excited for me,” said Roberts. “It really means a lot to have that support. I don’t think I could do it without them.”
Roberts’ senior year is filled with decisions. His fall season will be filled with college visits and football and his Spring with track and chasing Billy Hardcastle’s shot put record, which Roberts expects to beat. He expects to make his decision on college in February, but until then, said Roberts, he’s taking life one thing at a time, trying to enjoy his blessings and the benefits of his hard work.
“This is a very new and exciting feeling,” Said Roberts. “I’m very grateful for what I’ve been given and for my family and friends and what I’ve been provided.”