Cary-Grove grad Josh Freeman expects to be at best in Colombia

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Everything is pointing toward Josh Freeman producing some big throws Sunday.

Freeman finished his two summer classes at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, leaving him the past two weeks to concentrate on training for the Pan American Junior Track and Field Championships from Friday through Sunday in Medellin, Colombia.

The 2012 Cary-Grove graduate has been breaking personal-best lifts in the weight room and threw the 6-kilogram shot put almost 67 feet in practice.

“We’re on our peak right now, and that’s why our strength levels are coming up,” Freeman said Tuesday before leaving for Colombia. “It’s perfect, being a week out. It’s exactly what you want to see.”

Freeman won the IHSA Class 3A shot put and discus state championships in 2012. His 66-0 shot put throw was close to the state record set by Lake Park’s Jermaine Kline (66-53/4). Freeman won the shot put at the Missouri Valley Conference Track and Field Meet this spring.

Freeman stayed in Carbondale to train for the USA Junior Outdoor Championships, where he qualified for the Pan Am team by taking second to Purdue’s Coy Blair in the shot put. Since then, Freeman (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) he has been training for the Pan Am trip.

“I lost 20 pounds over the summer to gain speed,” Freeman said. “It’s going really, really well. I’ve gotten a lot stronger.”

In high school, Freeman threw a shot put that weighed 12 pounds. The college shot weighs 16, but the international shot for junior throwers is in between at 13.22.

Freeman did not compete in the NCAA regionals, choosing to let a sore ankle heal and aim for a trip to the Pan Am Games. He will throw around 4 p.m. Sunday and plans on bringing a medal home.

“I’ve seen the [International Amateur Athletic Federation] rankings, and I’m 10th in the world this year in the 6-kilogram shot,” Freeman said. “Basically, all the guys who are in front of me are from Europe or Asia. I think my main competition will be my teammate, Coy.”

Freeman enjoyed training in Carbondale this summer with USA thrower Cory Martin, a former thrower at Auburn. Martin was on the USA team that just competed at the World Track and Field Championships in Moscow.

“Before he left for Moscow, he was giving me some tips on competing internationally,” Freeman said. “That definitely helped.”

Freeman flew to Colombia on Wednesday and will have a few days to become acclimated before he competes.

“I may have to try and buckle down when I get there and not have too much fun, considering I compete the very last day,” Freeman said. “I need to stay in the hotel and not do too much sightseeing, and stay out of the sun or rain. It’ll be a good experience.”

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