Athlete of the week: Molli Detloff, Elk River, track-and-field: Raw Power

by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor

Molli Detloff  originally went out for track in seventh grade for the purpose of running fast, which she knew she and her sister Dani, two years older, were very good at.

“I didn’t even know about field events,” she said. “They had us do ‘Try Day’ where they put you through every event, in the auxiliary gym. They (coaches) had us throwing shot and disc into the net. Then they told me, ‘OK, you’re doing this.’ I said, sure, I’ll try, if it’s something I can be good at.”

Ironically, while Detloff has become the best throwers in Elk girls track history, she’s also tried to avoid sprinting, but it seems to keep pulling her back. More on that later.

Molli Detloff is a three-time state qualifier in throws and relays, and holds Elk records in shot put and discus. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Molli Detloff is a three-time state qualifier in throws and relays, and holds Elk records in shot put and discus. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

The North Dakota recruit is the Elk record holder in the discus with 142-5, achieved her sophomore year at the state true-team meet (last year she topped out at 140-6), and in the shot put with 40-6 1/2, at Zimmerman last year. She is a three-time state qualifier in both discus, placing third in ninth grade, and the 4-by-100 relay.

At conference, Detloff has won discus and placed second in shot put each of the past three years. Last year she also took fifth in the 100 and second in 4-by-100. At Section 7AA, Detloff has placed second in discus three times and third in shot twice. Last year she won the 100 with 12.68 after posting a personal record of 12.53 in prelims, fourth-best all-time for the Elks.

“She had early talent at throwing, even as a seventh-grader when she placed in the section meet,” said Dave Anderson, the discus coach. “She has very fast reflexes, and she is very strong girl. She actually got speed, too; she won the 100 meters in section last year, which is very unusual for a thrower to do. For throws, you look for athletic people that have explosive push like she has.”

Detloff, who’s 5-foot-6 and a hard-packed 195 pounds, loves attacking the disc and shot. Running is another matter. “I hate sprinting,” she declares.

Still, she’ll do it for the team. After having some sprint success in seventh grade, she stuck to throws in eighth and ninth grade, but in 10th grade, a little trash talking one day with her sister Dani, the team’s top sprinter, about who was actually faster, led Molli to resume the 100 and 4-by-100 for the true-team meet and beyond.

Detloff continued to both sprint and throw her junior year and was clearly the MVP on a champion team. Her mettle especially showed at true-team section, when she had a burn on her hand, from spilling some hot soup, that throbbed while running, but she helped the Elks pull out the title with one of her finest days: first in disc, third in shot, fifth in the 100, third in 4-by-100.

“Molli really toughed it out,” said Steve Hamilton, the coach last year. “She was in tears running the 100, from the pain. … We can’t win this thing without her.”

However, doing both a relay and discus at state two straight years seemed to take a toll on her there. After placing third as a freshman with 132-0, she didn’t make finals the last two years. This year the plan is to concentrate on throws at sectional and state.

“I think will mainly focus on throwing,” she said, “but if we need points, if there’s a possibility of winning conference or true-team (section), then I will sprint for the points.”

Current Elk coach Brenda Holmgren said of Detloff: “Molli is one of the best, most complete, athletes in our school. She’s our fastest runner, strongest thrower, and if given enough time and training, could probably also compete in distance events.  She loves to compete!  She’s also a very good student and has a quick wit; life is meant to be fun.”

Detloff has set goals this year of getting into the 43s in shot and 156 in discus. She is joined in the ring by two tall and very athletic youngsters, freshman Sidney Wentland and sophomore Abi Scheid, whom she has “taken under my wing” with hopes of a big year by the trio.

“I feel like we can go one-two-three at conference,” Detloff said. “I hope we can do that.”

In basketball, the undersized forward contributed mainly with speed and rugged rebounding. “I’m not a big shooter, but I try get rebounds and assists,” said Detloff, who totaled 192 points and 243 rebounds in two years.

“Molli is fast and strong, and plays much taller than she is,” coach Reed Caouette said. “She’s good in the transition game, very unselfish and a good passer. And she can throw the ball the length of the floor so easily.”

In the fall, Detloff was content to take up tennis the last two years, playing JV doubles, just to have a fall sport. “It was either tennis or soccer,” she said, “and remember, I hate  to run.”


Molli Detloff
Molli Detloff

Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents Kristi and Dan; sister Dani, 20; brother Connor, 16 … Sports: track, basketball, tennis … Academics: 3.7 GPA … College plans: University of North Dakota, track, major undecided

Favorite stuff — Class: Occupational Foods … TV show: “Just sports, any sports event. Tennis, NHL, NFL, anything.” … Reading: Sports Illustrated … Movie: “White Chicks” … Teams: Packers, Eagles, Lynx … Athlete: Maya Moore … Food: “My mom’s French dips.”… Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, chocolate milk … Wants to visit: New Zealand