An achievement rooted in family tradition – Page 1 Publications
Senior BGMR/Freeze Track and Field athlete Brady Skeim steps onto the podium as the sixth-place finisher in the Boys’ Class A Discus June 10 at the MSHSL State Track and Field Meet at St. Michael’s High School- Albertville. He finished his high school career with a state medal around his neck, but a week before that, Brady’s path to statehood was in jeopardy – facing an obstacle.
Brady spoke about this obstacle. He and his father Shane Skeim – one of his coaches – also spoke about him and his family’s track and field experience, the work that went into Brady’s pitching career, the state of mind ahead of his senior season, his performance at the state, his career as a whole, and his future plans.
As for that hurdle, Brady traveled to Ada Racecourse — a day before the Section 8A meeting to be held there — to practice the shot put and discus throw. He did his practice discus throws and they went well. He then made his first practice shot put and tripped on the baseboard and rolled his ankle badly.
“I couldn’t even really walk on it,” Brady said. “And then I go over there and take my shoe off and my ankle is swollen to the size of a softball.”
The rest of the night was spent getting her ankle bandaged – sticking it really tight – and taking pills for inflammation. The next morning, he still couldn’t walk on that ankle very well.
He didn’t let this injury stop him from participating in the sectional competition that day. He didn’t play like he usually did in the shot put, without letting it be known in this event.
“It was kind of a bittersweet (feeling) because … it got tossed around (my teammate) Treston (Nichols) and he was able to get to the state,” Brady said. “And having a sophomore state instead of me, I was more than happy to see him go just because he’s worked really hard. He’s been improving all year, so I wasn’t not too angry about it.
He then focused on discus throwing.
“I started preparing for this, preparing for this,” Brady said, “because if I don’t make it on the record, I’m not going to say at all and my season ended that day- the.”
His season will not end there. He finished fourth in the preliminary rounds to advance to the final. Skeim lined up for his last pitch of the round, still in fourth place. On potentially the last pitch of his high school career, Skeim threw one of his best pitches that day — 151-10 — putting him in first place and advancing to state.
Coming back, Skeim has athletics in his blood, especially when it comes to throwing events. Brady’s father, Shane, and grandfather Mitch Skeim went to high school. Mitch went to high school in International Falls in the 1960s, which led to him declaring himself in the shot put as “fundamentally” self-taught.
As for Brady, he started throwing around fifth grade. His grandfather coached throwing events for Thief River Falls at this time and allowed his grandson to practice with his team. Being young at that time, Brady only worked on footwork. Brady had even mentioned how his grandfather made him a homemade wooden disc with lead weights on the outside.
Mitch – who died in December 2020 – had coached his son Shane and a few of his other children. Mitch’s daughter, Kelly, was more of a runner.
“My interest in throwing also came for my dad,” Shane said, “so that kind of evolved into Brady.”
Later, Shane helped coach his son Brady, starting when he entered college.
“It’s always been a family affair,” Brady said. “…That’s sort of what started it, it’s just a bit of family competition.”
As Shane explained, many area high schools don’t have a pitch-specific coach.
“Having a father and grandfather who was able to kickstart him when he was young, learning him properly was also pretty huge,” Shane said.
As part of the BGMR/Freeze Track and Field program, Skeim primarily competed in throwing events, competing in a few relay events when needed. When it comes to throws, Brady has been slow.
“Throwing is, you know, it’s a very technical sport,” Shane said. “And also, the sooner you can start developing good technique and having someone to be able to show you those things is pretty important, so you don’t learn things the wrong way.”
Brady’s throwing practices involved developing that technique, that footwork. During the offseason, he lifted many weights, being a tri-sport athlete, one of which was also involved in hockey and football. He also completed a summer throwing program at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.
“The track season is pretty short, so a lot of the work you do is in the offseason, if you want to be successful there,” Shane said. “…Our weather isn’t necessarily conducive to being outside to throw a lot of times, especially for disc, so (you) try to find a place inside to throw during the offseason when it’s cold or rainy, or humid or whatever.”
Quickly reverting to his senior high school years, Brady qualified for state competition in both shot put and discus as a junior – his first time in state. There he did not reach the final rounds and a state medal.
“Last year…it was pretty cool coming into the state,” Brady said. “…I went into my junior season knowing I was ranked pretty high. I should go declare that year. I ended up putting it all together in the playoffs that year, and I went (to declare) for both the shot and the drive (us).
The mood changed as he approached his final season.
“Going into this year, I guess, the mindset being, let’s start again, repeat, come back, throw some more,” Brady said. “…Making finals in the state was kind of a big goal this year for sure because it’s the top nine pitchers in your class in the whole state that are going against each other, which is really cool.”
He qualified for the last nine this year by throwing around his season average. His best shot in state – the one that earned him that sixth-place finish – came at 151-00.
As long as he passed that 150 foot mark, he was going to be pretty happy with that. Once he got there, he was happy.
“I still tried to go further, but, I mean, I didn’t expect a miracle there,” Brady said. “But I was very happy with the way it ended… I went there, I did what I could, I did what I did all year , then I got a state medal.”
To see the full story, read the June 30 issue of North Star News in print or online.