Shae Carson became a discus thrower when she was about five weeks old, but the Coeur d’Alene senior didn’t know it until last spring. In between, she was just another multitalented young athlete doing a bit of everything and enjoying it all.
But a couple of track guys, Bart Templeman and Bud Rasmussen, saw so much more in the young lady with the long limbs of a 6-footer and nimble feet.
“During the season I wasn’t completely committed to track,” Carson said. “I did it. I tried my hardest, but I just kind of listened to Bud and Bart, not really believing when they said, ‘You’re going to get a big one.’ I was just along for the ride.
“Then it started getting a little bit better … then the big one came at state, the last throw, just in the nick of time I suppose.”
Carson threw 132 feet, 8 inches on her final throw at state to win the Idaho 5A championship.
“That’s a huge thing to say, it was a life-changing event, but it gave me a lot more confidence in Bud and Bart. They weren’t kidding when they said I could be good,” Carson said. “It helped me become more motivated.”
Carson parlayed that into a scholarship at Portland State. After an intense offseason she has increased her school record to a state-best 142-5, which at the time was a top-15 mark in the country.
“Last year she never won a meet until the state track meet,” said Templeman, a volunteer CHS assistant, which he was for Rasmussen’s dad years ago. “She was not very strong. She hadn’t made the commitment in the weight room. When she did that, the party was over.”
What Carson didn’t realize until recently is the party started shortly after she was born – maybe even a year before that. That’s when her mother, Stacy, returned to work after the birth of Kacy, and asked Templeman’s wife, Pat, if she wanted to baby-sit.
“We became extremely close friends of the family,” Templeman said, and grew even closer when Shae’s father died when she was 9. “We kind of decided we’d try to fill the gap there a little bit. She’s a granddaughter to us.”
Carson calls Templeman grandpa in conversation.
“They’re just as close to us as our family is,” she said. “I grew up calling Pat ‘Mom.’ She was always there. I called their grandkids our cousins. He would take us out and do guy stuff, I suppose. If I ever had a problem. … Technically, there’s no blood relation, but we love them like they were family.”
Carson grew up playing the usual sports, gravitating toward volleyball and giving up softball when it conflicted with track.
“Mom was extremely committed to anything I wanted to do,” she said. “If I said, ‘Mom, I want to join this team that practices eight days a week,’ she said OK.
“I just never saw myself as a thrower. No one in my immediate family threw. It wasn’t really a personal thing … it’s kind of become a personal thing now that they’ve given me so much.”
Actually it was always personal – “she was doomed to be a thrower,” Templeton cracked – but he was patient.
Templeton started coaching in 1969 and was at CHS when Rasmussen threw for his dad. Templeman and Rasmussen founded the highly regarded Ironwood Throwers Camp and Carson tagged along well before she got serious in the ring.
Since her breakthrough, she has dedicated herself to throwing. Templeman said the goal was 10,000 throws in the last year.
“I think Shae’s work ethic and commitment are uncommon for a high school kid,” Rasmussen said. “She has a mindset much like a college athlete already. That’s a tribute to her maturity. She has progressed academically to the college level and her training has gone with it … so she was able to expend more hours than a high school student typically could.”
He said she is poised to pop another big throw, if the weather cooperates.
Carson, who is doing Running Start at North Idaho College, is doing what it takes to be exceptional, but she sees it another way.
“Last year Bud moved back from California and he said he would work with me. It was just kind of handed to me,” she said. “Bud and Bart put a lot of time in. I probably wouldn’t take very much credit for anything I’ve done. I owe it all to them – and I have great coaches at the school.”
Though it has been a life-long journey, even if she didn’t know it, Carson can’t believe what has transpired in the past year.
“It’s just amazing. It’s unbelievable what I’ve been able to accomplish,” she said. “Once again, I would not be able to do it without the help I’ve had. Bud and Bart have essentially held my hand since day one. They deserve the credit for what I’ve done.”