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Rock Chalk Talk With Kansas Thrower Mason Finley

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Since we're equal opportunity here at Rock Chalk Talk and because Mason Finley was so gracious to join us, today we have a question and answer featuring a potential future Olympian.

We've covered Finley's recent performances here at Rock Chalk Talk and discussed the prospect of a football career on the side, today we have a fairly candid and light-hearted conversation with the man himself. 

For those that are not aware, Mason Finley throws both the shotput and the discus for the Kansas Jayhawk track and field team.  During his freshman campaign Finley was able to capture second place nationally in both the discus and shotput events and most recently finished 8th at the U.S Nationals this past weekend.

Finley is a mountain at 6'8" and calls Salida/Buena Vista Colorado home.  If I might say so myself, this was one of the more fun and candid interviews I've had lately and I'm happy to report that Mason and I plan on kicking back in London with Michael Phelps during the 2012 Olympic games.  At least that's what he promised me.  He probably thinks it was a joke, we'll see about that.

Getting on with the task at hand, hopefully this brings a little something new and different to the folks here at Rock Chalk Talk and a little attention to a sport that doesn't always see the spotlight.

Owen

Mason, first off thanks for joining Rock Chalk Talk, to start why don't you talk a little about your background, how you got into track and why Kansas?

Mason

I started into track because of my father Jared Finley.  He threw discus at Wyandotte High School and went to college at University of Wyoming for the discus. He coached me from the beginning.

I chose Kansas because of the throwers coach here; he is an amazing guy and the most knowledgeable coach I could find.

I took visits too ASU, Mizzou, Texas A&M, and UCLA.  My dad didn't want to get too involved because he wanted me to make my own decision, but I had him meet with all the coaches and he did help me figure out which one would be best for me and that was at Kansas.

Owen

Besides the coach, what else stood out about Kansas?

Mason

Well honestly it's just like the other schools to me I guess, it was just a better coaching situation for me.   I have made a lot of friends here though, so the people are pretty cool and I like that about Kansas.

Owen

Talk a little about your freshman year, what was the biggest adjustment and how did your season go?

Mason

The biggest adjustment was the fact that I did not know anyone and I was thrown out of my comfort zone.

I am content with my first year competing, it went pretty well, but know I have a lot to improve on and I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Nationals were really cool.  I didn't do so hot in the discus, but I still made finals.  In shot I had a personal best.  I was just really excited to throw with professional level guys and meet all the other athletes.

Owen

How does that work with track and field vs. other sports? It seems you guys are often competing with pro athletes. Are these open competitions or how does that work?

Mason

Yeah, pretty much a pro can enter themselves in most meets that are open, they do this primarily because there are not many meets that are set up for just pros.

They get sponsorships, some meets pay them to come to a meet, and some meets pay them if they win or place.

Owen

Getting back to Kansas, the Olympic sports often get lost in the shuffle. What do you see KU's Athletic Department doing to bring these sports to the forefront?

Mason

Well as Oerter said, discus won't be a popular sport to watch unless they let us throw it at each other.  In all seriousness though I think about the only thing we can do is just keep getting better and competing at a high level.  Then maybe more promotion.

Owen

Is there still talk of the Olympic sport complex at Kansas? I know it was tossed around recently, but I hadn't heard an update.

Mason

I think with the football thing getting scrapped, the track facility might also be on hold. But I'm not 100 percent sure to be honest.

Owen

You mention Oerter, Did his legacy at Kansas have any impact in your choosing Kansas as the place to hone your skills?

Mason

Well it was a cool that he trained here, but again I pretty much just looked for a coach that could take me to the next level. But Oerter was remarkable.

Owen

Another thing you mentioned was making discus a popular sport if you threw them at eachother. Let's expand on that. If you were to enter a competition where that was the objective, which would you choose?  The shotput, the discus or would javelin maybe be an option?

Mason

I guess it would depend on how close we were.  I wouldn't choose the shot in any situation because it's heavy and can be avoided easily.

I can throw the discus farther but I think I would still go with the javelin because it's more accurate and looks closer to a weapon than the other two.

Owen

Fair enough. Which do you prefer to throw in competition?

Mason

I like the discus better just because it flies farther

Owen

Are you hinting that you could envision a second career in Frisbee golf?

Mason

Heck yeah, I think I could be good at that.

Owen

I would guess that you would be strong off the tee.

On a more serious note, where do you envision yourself when your time at Kansas is done. What are your professional goals?

Mason

I think I will be a professional thrower, but if that doesn't work out I will want to coach and just stay in the throwing world.

Owen

Olympics?

Mason

Yeah definitely that is my overall dream.  I am going to try and make 2012.

Owen

I'd be happy to go along as your official media correspondent?

Mason

Sure let's do it

Owen

Works for me, maybe Micheal Phelps will want to hang out or something.

So here's another random question for you.

Earlier you and I talked about Panchos in Buena Vista Colorado and their fantastic breakfast burritos. What's your favorite spot and meal in Lawrence Kansas. Where does a guy of your stature go to get ample nourishment?

Mason

I like this place called jade garden it's like Mongolian barbeque and there is this waiter there that in my opinion is the best

Owen

The waiter? What's so good about this waiter?

Mason

I don't know, he is the nicest guy and never lets my drink go empty and has this aura about him

Owen

I hear you, the power of the always full drink, it makes a big difference.  I'm guessing he's nice because you scare him. 

Well hey I appreciate your time and thanks for interview here this afternoon.

Any last words or things we should know about Mason Finley? You are officially on the Rock Chalk Talk radar so we'll be covering your career from now on.

Mason

Awesome man, I don't really have anything else to say except thank you to all the people that have supported and helped me out.

Owen

Great, well I'll go ahead and book my flight to London and I'll be in touch.

Mason

Awesome, I'll talk to you later.