Magdalyn Ewen, a senior at Arizona State University, has accomplished things most collegiate athletes never even think about. Arguably the best female thrower in the NCAA, Ewen has two national championships under her belt and has been named a first team All-American (top eight in an event at nationals) a mind-boggling nine times. But even the world’s best athletes have to start somewhere.
For Ewen, that start came in St. Francis, Minn. when she was in fourth grade. From a very young age, Ewen had her own personal coach – her dad. Bruce Ewen was an All-American thrower, a seven-time Missouri Valley Conference champion at Illinois State, and went on to participate at the 1988 Olympic trials. Coming from a long-line of elite athletes, Ewen was set up for success. This success, however, didn’t come right away. “I wasn’t very good at first,” Ewen admitted, “Honestly, no one is good at it at first since it’s such a foreign movement pattern.”
Ewen may not have excelled at first, but her high school career ended up a very impressive one. By the time she graduated St. Francis High School in 2013, Ewen had earned seven individual state championships and had personal bests of 54′ 8.5″ and 171′ 9″ in the shot put and discus respectively. She holds the Minnesota state record in both of these events. Her marks are extremely elite for a high school thrower, so it’s no surprise that a lot of big-name schools wanted her for her collegiate career.
Aside from Arizona State, Ewen’s other top choices for college were Colorado State and the University of Minnesota. “I chose ASU because I really liked the coach and they have a great tradition of successful throwers.”
After a redshirt freshman year (meaning she didn’t compete in meets), Ewen’s first year of collegiate competition brought her some impressive performances. She ended her first indoor season with a second place finish in the shot put and a third place finish in the weight at her conference meet. When she headed outdoors, her success didn’t slow down. She went to the preliminary round of nationals for shot put, discus and hammer, and qualified for nationals in the shot and the disc (where she placed 22nd and 12th respectively).
Naturally, Ewen’s success continued throughout the next couple years. 2017, her third year of eligibility, ended up being her most exciting. At indoor nationals, she placed fourth in the shot put and sixth in the weight. Outdoors, she swept the Pac-12 Conference championships, winning all three of her events. Just a month later, she scored 21 points in three event at outdoor nationals, outscoring more than 40 teams all by herself. She finished the meet as an All-American in all three events, placing sixth in the shot put, second in the discus, and winning the hammer title. Her winning hammer throw also happened to be a collegiate record.
With immense success in four different throwing events, how is a person supposed to choose a favorite? For Ewen, this is an easy question. “My favorite event is the discus. It was the first event I started throwing and the only one I threw for the first three years of my career. Even with all my success in my other events, the discus is still my baby!”
Even with all of her success, Ewen still holds her roots close to her heart. “My favorite memories of track and field are going out and training with my dad in the early days. Back then, we only threw because we loved to do it. There was no breaking records or winning titles; it was just throwing to throw and it was so much fun.”