Achievement from family tradition – Page 1 Publications
BGMR/Freeze Athletics Senior Brady Skeim finished sixth on the podium June 10 at the MSHSL State Track and Field Meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School in the Class A boys’ discus. He finished his high school career with a state medal around his neck, but a week earlier Brady’s road to state was in jeopardy — he faced an obstacle.
Brady spoke about this obstacle. He and his father, Shane Skeim – one of his coaches – also spoke about his and family’s track and field background, the work that has gone into Brady’s throwing career, the take on his final season, his performance in the state, his career as a whole and his future plans.
As for that obstacle, the day before the Section 8A meeting there, Brady went to the track facility in Ada to practice his shot put and discus. He did his practice discus throws and they went great. Then he made his first shot put practice throw and tripped over the toe board and rolled his ankle badly.
“I couldn’t even really walk on it,” Brady said. “And so I go over and take my shoe off and my ankle is so swollen it’s the size of a softball.”
He spent the rest of the night getting his ankle wrapped – taped really tight – and taking some anti-inflammatory pills. The next morning he still couldn’t walk well on that ankle.
He didn’t let this injury stop him from competing that day at the section meeting. He didn’t play the shot put like he usually did and didn’t claim it in this case.
“It was kind of a bittersweet (feeling) because … it bumped up (my teammate) Treston (Nichols) and he was able to go into the state,” Brady said. “And since I had a sophomore go state instead of me, I was more than happy to see him go just because he worked really hard. He’s been improving throughout the year so I wasn’t too mad about it.”
Then he shifted his focus to the discus throw.
“I’ve started preparing, preparing for this,” Brady said, “because if I don’t make it on the discus, I’m not going to compete at all and my season ended right there on that day.”
His season would not end there. He finished fourth in the preliminary rounds to advance to the finals. Skeim pitched for his last throw of the round – still in fourth place. In what might have been the last throw of his high school career, Skeim threw one of his better throws that day – 151-10 – and put him in first place.
Looking back, Skeim has athletics in his blood, especially when it comes to the throwing disciplines. Brady’s father, Shane, and his grandfather, Mitch Skeim, attended high school. Mitch attended International Falls High School in the 1960s and earned self-taught status in the shot put.
As for Brady, he started throwing around fifth grade. His grandfather was coaching throwing competitions for Thief River Falls at the time and allowed his grandson to train with his team. Brady was young at the time and only worked on footwork. Brady even mentioned how his grandfather made him a homemade wooden disc with lead weights on the outside.
Mitch – who passed away in December 2020 – had coached his son Shane and some of his other children. Mitch’s daughter Kelly was more of a runner.
“My interest in throwing also came from my dad,” Shane said, “so that kind of evolved into Brady.”
On the other hand, Shane helped coach his son Brady, starting when he entered middle school.
“It’s always been a family thing,” Brady said. “… That’s how it started, it was just a little family competition.”
As Shane explained, many high schools in the area don’t have a dedicated throwing coach.
“Having a father and grandfather who kind of taught him to learn it properly at a young age was also pretty big,” Shane said.
As part of the BGMR/Freeze Track and Field program, Skeim competed primarily in throwing competitions and competed in some relay competitions when required. As far as throwing goes, Brady has put in the time.
“Throwing, you know, is a very technical sport,” Shane said. “And the earlier you start developing good technique, the more important it is to have someone who can show you these things so you don’t learn anything wrong.”
Brady’s throwing practice involved developing that technique—that footwork. In the offseason, he lifted heavy weights and was a three-sport athlete — one who was also involved in hockey and soccer. He also attended a summer throwing program at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.
“The track season is pretty short, so a lot of the work happens in the off-season if you want to be successful at that,” Shane said. “…Our weather isn’t exactly conducive to casting outside often, especially for the discus fish, so try to find a spot inside to cast in the off-season when it’s cold, rainy, wet or whatever.” “
Fast forward back to his later high school years: Brady advanced to the state meet as a junior in both the shot put and discus – his first time in the state. There he missed the final rounds and a state medal.
“Last year … was pretty cool coming to the state,” Brady said. “…I came into my junior season knowing I was ranked pretty high. I should show off this year. I ended up putting it all together in the postseason that year and went (to testify) for both the recording and the disc (us).
The mindset changed towards his final season.
“I think going into this year the mindset is, let’s do it again, repeat, come back, throw some more,” Brady said. “…Reaching the state finals was definitely a big goal this year because it’s the top nine pitchers in your class across the state going head-to-head, which is really cool.”
He made the bottom nine this year, throwing about his season average. His best throw in state – the one that got him sixth place – came in at 151-00.
As long as he got over that 150 foot mark, he’d be pretty happy with that. When he achieved that, he was satisfied.
“I was still trying to go further, but I mean, I wasn’t expecting a miracle there,” Brady said. “But I was very happy with how it ended … I went in, I did what I could, I did what I did all year, and then I got a state medal.”
For the full story, read the June 30 edition of North Star News in print or online.