Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Molli Detloff is going to leave UND as the best hammer and weight thrower in school history. And the best part is, she’s not close to being finished.
Elk River, Minnesota
B.S. in Rehabilitation and Human Services.
Outdoor Shot Put: 14.29m, 46’ 10.75” – Beach Invitational (April 2017)
Indoor Shot Put: 14.05m, 46’ 1.25” – UND Open (January 2018)
Weight Throw: *20.82, 68’ 3.75’’ – Big Sky Conference Championships (February 2018)
Hammer Throw: *64.98m, 213’ 2.25” – NCAA West Preliminary Round (May 2017)
Discus: *54.33m, 178’ 3” – Charleston Southern Spring Break Invitational (March 2017)
*North Dakota Women’s Track & Field Records
Nobody in a North Dakota jersey has thrown a hammer farther than Molli Detloff. Not only does she own the women’s record, she’s out-thrown the men, too. In fact, she’s the only athlete in North Dakota history to surpass 200 feet.
It’s this type of jaw-dropping statistic that makes sense for North Dakota’s first Division I national qualifier in track and field. Detloff is the best thrower the Fighting Hawks have seen, and she still has a couple years of eligibility.
Detloff admits she tries to fly under the radar, but it’s hard not to notice her when she’s on top of the throwing leaderboard.
Her trajectory to stardom began her freshman season when she broke North Dakota’s freshman record in the weight throw three times. She picked up where she left off in the beginning of the outdoor season. In her first hammer throw competition, she won the Coach O Coastal Carolina Invitational, sending the hammer 178 feet through the air. More than two months later she threw the hammer farther than any freshman at the NCAA Division I West Prelim meet. The Top-12 from that meet goes to nationals and Detloff missed it by six places.
“Once I finished 18th, I was like, ‘Wow, this could be realistic,’” Detloff said. “I didn’t know I had it until then.”
What was once a dream for Detloff became reality last June. After sitting out the outdoor season in 2016, she came storming back in 2017. In her first meet, she flung the hammer over 200 feet and made history. Her scores improved from there. Her second time at the Prelim meet, she finished fifth and cruised to a spot in the nationals. It was the first time in the Division I era a North Dakota athlete would compete in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“It was a crazy experience. That’s been my goal since starting track and field, was to be an All-American,” Detloff said, nine months after finishing 12th in the meet, good enough for second-team All-American honors. “I believed in myself and Coach (Drew) Jones believes in me.
“Coach Jones has taught me all of the hammer technique, the turns and the finish, and we work on that literally every single day, so I think the years of perfecting the craft really help in my development.”
Track and field head coach Kevin Galbraith told the Grand Forks Herald last June that Detloff is the “flag bearer” for the track program and is the “archetype” for what the team is trying to accomplish.
“It was a crazy experience. That’s been my goal since starting track and field, was to be an All-American.” – Molli Detloff
When asked about blazing the trail for a new generation of North Dakota throwers, Detloff shrugs and says she doesn’t think about it and is focused on accomplishing more.
“We have some good throwers coming in,” Detloff said about her younger teammates. “A couple really good discus throwers who should be really good and we have a couple hammer throwers, too.”
Maybe one day another thrower will arrive in Grand Forks and break Detloff’s records. But in the meantime, the living legend is still adding to her record distances.
2017, NCAA All-American second team in hammer throw
2017, NCAA Outdoor National Meet qualifier
UND Women’s weight throw, hammer throw and discus record-holder
2017, Big Sky Conference Athlete of the Meet
2017, USTFCCCA All-Academic individual honors
2017, Big Sky Conference Spring All-Academic Team
Two-time Big Sky Conference champion – once in discus, once in weight throw