Among the scores of high school athletes in Colorado, Mancos High School brothers Caden Showalter and Connor Showalter stand out thanks to their chiseled physiques, slickly-combed hair and smooth styles.
Far more than just physical prototypes however, the soon-to-be high school senior (Caden) and sophomore (Connor) have established themselves as two of their state’s hardest workers and staples at summer track meets throughout the Southwest.
“This summer has really helped me because I’ve gotten to throw against the nation’s best,” said Caden, who won the shot put and the discus at Colorado’s Class 2A State Track Meet this spring. “I get to see what I need to work on and pick up moves. It just makes me want to work harder and stay in the weight room.”
Among the summer events in which the brothers have competed thus far include the Great Southwest Classic in Albuquerque, the Colorado USATF Junior Olympic Championships in Aurora and the USATF Region 10 Junior Olympic Championships in Mesa, Arizona.
Caden finished first in the shot put (50 feet, ¾ inch) and second in the discus (163-8) in the boys 17-18 age division at the Colorado USATF Junior Olympic Championships, and Connor finished first in the discus (152-10) and first in the shot put (45-3¾) in the boys 15-16 age division at the same event.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing the bigger competition and I’ve enjoyed seeing what they’re throwing,” said Connor, who placed second in the shot put and third in the discus at Colorado’s Class 2A State Track Meet this spring.
“It has been good to get some new PRs in the shot put and the discus and going to those big schools has been good.”
Due to their top placings at the Colorado USATF Junior Olympic Championships, the Showalters qualified for the USATF Region 10 Junior Olympic Championships in Mesa, competing against some of the toughest competition of their careers.
Both brothers excelled, as Connor placed second in the shot put (46-6¾) and second in the discus (126-4), and Caden placed fifth in the shot put (48-6¼) and fourth in the discus (152-11).
Caden and Connor will next compete in the USATF National Championships, which will be held in Sacramento, California, later this summer. Although both brothers acknowledge that placing well at the national meet will be difficult, they indicated that they are excited for the experience.
“I’m hoping just to keep practicing and get some new PRs,” Connor said. “I want to go to California with a good mindset and get some good throws and some good results.”
Asked what keeps them working hard and competing during the summer months while many of their peers are kicking back and taking time off, both acknowledged that brotherly competition pushes them to get better.
The brothers also noted that support from their parents has been key to their success, while acknowledging that family-wide sacrifice is a necessity if one hopes to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive athletic climate.
“It’s nice to have a brother like Caden to push me,” Connor said. “We’re two of the top throwers in the state, and we get to practice against each other and keep pushing each other every day.”
“My parents take time out of their summer and spend money to get us to summer competitions,” Caden added. “I’m glad that I have my family there to support me.”
As for their goals for this summer and beyond, both Showalter brothers said they hope to continue gaining strength in the weight room and producing solid results at competitive meets.
The bothers also noted that they would one day like to compete at the college level in either track and field or basketball; both brothers have excelled as members of Mancos High School’s basketball team.
“If I do make it to the college level, I want to excel at it,” Caden said. “I want to be a really good college basketball player or a track athlete in college. Seeing (great athletes) doing great things makes me want to be like them.”
“My goal is to try to get better at all the sports that I do,” Connor added. “I want to get to college, and to do that, I want to keep working hard this summer and in the summers beyond.”