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Second-generation stud: How Maggie Ewen's athletic upbringing led her to track and field success

With an All-American thrower as a father and a knack for the sport, ASU track and field thrower Maggie Ewen has made her mark on her team.

ASU's Maggie Ewan winds up in the second flight of the women's hammer throw during the first day of the 2016 Pac-12/Big Ten Invitational track meet at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, on Friday, March 25, 2016.
ASU's Maggie Ewan winds up in the second flight of the women's hammer throw during the first day of the 2016 Pac-12/Big Ten Invitational track meet at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, on Friday, March 25, 2016.

Although ASU's track and field team is filled with talented student athletes, sophomore Maggie Ewen, one of the team's redshirt throwers, has often stood out from the rest.

Ewen comes from a family of athletes. Her father, Bruce Ewen, was an All-American thrower at Illinois State who also competed in the Olympic Trial during 1988. Her mother, Kristi Ewen, and her sister, Alicia Ewen, both competed in college volleyball at Ohio State and University of Mary, respectively.

With an athletic, Minnesotan family and a young interest in competitive sports, it’s easy to see how sports impacted Maggie Ewen. 

However, Ewen said her family — including her pro-athlete father — never pressured her or her sister to specifically pursue track and field or volleyball. 

“They never pressured it on us in any way, we just happen to fall into the same sports that they did in college.” Ewen said.

Ewen began participating in sports in her third grade year, and she wound up leaving St. Francis high school with a wealth of a resume: She was a four-time state discus champion, a three-time state shot put champion, a second place 2013 Pan-American Games shot put winner and a five-time high school All-American.

When it came to choosing a university, Ewen said she decided to go to ASU for the coaches.

“It has a lot to with coach (Dumble), and his success,” Ewen said. "Not necessarily with ... kids who came in all-stars from high school -- he turned them into national champions. What impressed me more is the kids he took as walk-ons or tryouts and turned them into All-American. I have a lot of faith in him."

ASU throwing coach David Dumble said he was impressed with Ewen when he saw her compete and work out.

“For her age, she was definitely very coordinated, (and) very strong,” Dumble said. "We tested in the weight room, the bench, the squat, the clean ... at the end of the fall semester, she hit a total of those three lifts that was second best all-time in ASU history. Definitely showed she was a great athlete right from the beginning." 

However, Ewen sat out her freshman year. She said she wasn’t ready to compete and that she needed to improve her throwing so that she would not "trash" her first year. 

In the two years that followed, Ewen saw a lot of success. She took third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship Weight Throw, placed herself in the ASU record books and took sixth place in both weight throw and shot put during the indoor season. Throughout the outdoor season, Ewen continued to see improvement, taking third place in shot put and weight throw as well as fifth in the hammer throw during the Pac-12 Championships.

This season, Ewen has been one of ASU’s most consistent competitors: She earned a spot in the top five for almost every meet, and during this season's MPSF championship, she won a weight throw event by throwing 20.31 meters.

Ewen said her confidence and technical improvement helped her out this season.

“I think a lot of it is just better understanding of my technical cues, (and) better understanding of what my coach wanted me to do," she said. "I think, last year, making it to nationals and not doing as well as I wanted to -- but at least making it -- really boosted my confidence. I had a much better personal perspective of how I'm doing, and how I want to do this year."

Greg Kraft, ASU's head track and field coach, said in a statement that Ewen's improvement has been incredible.

"She's always had unbelievable ability," Kraft said in the statement. "She came in as a true freshman and was second on our task for lifting out of all of our lifters. She's incredibly strong and dynamic, so we're really not surprised by it. She doesn't have the mass of a typical thrower, particularly a typical shot putter, but she's so dynamically strong and such a great athlete, and it correlates well to her success in the hammer.”

With all the pressure that comes from these big meets, Ewen said she appreciates how her family has been supportive with the full knowledge of what competition demands of an athlete.

"Having everyone in my family have that background, have that lifestyle already pre-programed into them just made everything that I'm doing and everything (my sister and I've) done so much easier," Ewen said. "We have them to fall back on right away for experience, for life tips, they are my best people to go to." 

Reach the reporter at or follow @omarksoussi on Twitter.

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