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Sawler paying his dues
By Hayley Traeger
Some may find it unusual that a 6-foot-1, 215-pound NCAA weight-throwing champion would be working with fleet footed-sprinters.
Instead of looking to have a shot putter add inches to his or her throw, Timberlane Regional High School assistant track coach Jaime Sawler, a Stratham native, finds himself helping the sprinters shave hundredths of seconds off their times.
At some point in his coaching future, Sawler sees himself as a high school head coach or even a collegiate-level coach. But in order to one-day achieve that goal, Sawler is currently working to master all aspects of the track coaching agenda.
"I like where I am right now as a coach," said Sawler. "In the next four to five years I would like to see myself become a head coach.
"I would like to find some success at the high school level and if I enjoy that, I'll probably stay with that or move on to more of a challenge (at the) collegiate level."
Since his days at Exeter High School, track has been an important aspect of Sawler's life.
"I was a hurdler, 400 runner, shot-putter and high jumper," said Sawler, referring to his high school days. "But when I went to college I played football at Bates (in Lewiston, Maine)."
But Sawler's track days, were not behind him. After arriving at Bates, where he was a defensive lineman on the football team, he made the decision to take part in the school's track program. And the results of Sawler's decision were rewarding.
In 2002, Sawler earned the Division III national championship in both the outdoor hammer throw and the indoor weight throw, which qualified him as a two-time All-American. His weight throw in the 2002 indoor season measured 19.55 meters and in the outdoor season he won the national hammer throw championship with a throw of 57.56 meters.
"Bates College has a very good history in track and field, and throwing in particular," said Sawler. "My college roommate was going to do track and so I figured that I would throw the shot.
"There was this one guy on the team who was a five-time All-American and another guy who was a multiple national qualifier," said Sawler. "So there was definitely a very successful history there. A lot of people have gone through the Bates program and become All-Americans and national champions and so I felt pretty much like one of the masses."
Sawler eventually found himself in the position of many of the teammates who he had admired, but his success did not occur overnight.
"I threw freshmen year, but I wasn't very good," admitted Sawler. "Sophomore year I was getting better and then junior year I started to win some meets.
"I ended up going to nationals in indoors in the 35-pound weight throw and placing seventh."
Following graduation, Sawler entered a career as a high school math teacher, bringing him to Timberlane and giving him the opportunity to coach the sport he had grown to love.
"I knew that I wanted to stay involved in the sport," Sawler said. "When I got to Bates I really just fell in love with the sport. My head coach, Al Fereshetian, really did a good job of bringing together all aspects of track and field. We ended up having a lot of success as a team and as a result I really just fell in love with the team aspect of the sport.
"I went to a couple of clinics and I learned a lot about the other areas (of track) from my head coach at Bates.
"I really enjoy the (kinesiology) of the sport, which are the body movements," said Sawler. "It�s fascinating to me. I�ve gone to clinics where they talk about the biomechanics of sprinting and they use words that I�ve never heard of before. It�s just kind of fun to learn these things."
In studying all aspects of track and field, Sawler hopes to become a better all-around coach, similar to Fereshetian, his college coach.
Sawler, who is coming off his first season with the Owls' track program serving as the indoor sprinting coach, will continue working with the sprinters as the outdoor season is set to begin.
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