Last updated 11/24/17

PROCESS COMPLETE: Ed Shelikoff wins T&F Male Athlete of Year
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Jul 9, 2017

NICEVILLE — Ed Shelikoff has a bone to pick with Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.

According to the Niceville discus and shot put thrower, long before Embiid turned “Trust the Process” into a rallying cry in the City of Brotherly Love and a way to glorify the 76ers rebuilding phase, the Eagles track and field team had already begun using the motto.

“That was our thing way before Joel started tweeting about it,” Shelikoff said. “The Sixers took it from us. They saw our success and wanted some of it.

?(But) I’m a Philadelphia sports fan. All my dad’s family lives there. That’s where he grew up. We visit once or twice a year and I love the city.”

For Shelikoff, The Process culminated this year in a record-setting season — one that has earned him Daily News Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Not to mention a track and field scholarship to the University of Florida.

At the state meet in Bradenton on May 5, Shelikoff placed second (200.08 feet) in the discus behind Sebastian River’s Jarez Parks (210.05 feet) and 14th (45.41 feet) in the shot put. In all, he won eight of the nine meets he entered in the discus and racked up three first-place, three second-place and one third-place finish in the shot put.

“Ed just dominated, in my mind, the state of Florida,” Niceville track and field co-head coach Jamie LaFollette said. “You just don’t have 200-foot discus throwers. For a lot of coaches, that just doesn’t come around often.

“That’s the equivalent of someone not only hitting a home run, but hitting it out of the stadium.”

Not often is an understatement. Shelikoff and Parks became just the second and third throwers in state history to eclipse the 200 foot mark.

Said Niceville throwing coach Emily Webb, ”(Ed) had a goal this year and it was to not get beat.”

At the regional meet in Tallahassee on April 27, Shelikoff won the discus with a 194 foot throw and placed second in the shot put with a 51.08 foot toss.

But like the 76ers, Shelikoff’s season was all about The Process.

Over the summer, the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder and six teammates travelled to Ohio to attend a camp run by John Powell, Webb’s former personal coach and a former discus world record holder and Olympian. (Powell also came to Niceville in December.)

At that point, Shelikoff knew he was bound for a successful season.

So did Webb, but she played it cool and gave her understudy the same goal she gives all her athletes every season: Set a personal record at the first meet, whether it’s by an inch or a foot.

Said Webb, “With Ed, he opened the season with a 13-foot PR.”

The 183.79 foot hurl at the Seahawks Open on Feb. 11 sent a message: If you want to win the 3A state championship in discus, you’re going to have to go through Ed Shelikoff.

But the senior and his coach kept their underlying goal under wraps: Throw as close to 200 feet as possible at every meet.

After a 171 at the Tiger Relays, there was another 183, this time at the Chiles Championships, followed by a new personal record of 188.45, set at the Seahawks Invitational on March 4.

Though the scores — 177.42, 170.83, 185.33, 179 — dipped a tad during the middle of the season, Shelikoff was still head and shoulders better than his competition.

“His down is still above and beyond,” Webb said.

At practice sessions Shelikoff threw 219 and 207 feet.

“For me, when I’m training him, it’s a process,” said Webb, using the P Word unprovoked. “I didn’t want him to open the season at 200 feet because it’s very hard to stay there.

“I wanted him to chip away at it gradually.”

While Shelikoff’s scores in the discus dropped a bit during the stretch, his scores in the shot put became more consistent.

In the season’s first three meets, Shelikoff threw the shot 48.46 feet, 50.07 feet and 52.30 feet (a regular-season high). He then threw more consistent scores of 50.60, 50.36, 49.87, 51.64, and 47.27 before posting a season-high 54.23 at the district meet, a 51.51 at regionals and a season-low 45.41 at state.

On April 27 at the regional meet in Tallahassee, Shelikoff was unsatisfied by his first few attempts in the discus, which sat in the 170-feet range (which would have won the meet by about 15 feet).

?(So) I did a little sprint to get my blood pumping,” he said.

It worked.

The senior threw a staggering 190 feet on his first throw of the final heat before throwing an even-better 193, yet another personal record.

“That was something I’d been trying to do all season, so that was a special moment,” he said. “That’s when I knew I was back on my game.”

Then came the grand finale: the 200.08-feet toss at the state meet.

“An unforgettable moment,” Webb said. “I literally just broke down into tears of joy.”

So did Shelikoff.

“I had a really good day,” he said. “Everything was working for me. It was a really good way to finish off the season.”

It’s two months later and so much has changed.

For the 76ers, The Process has become “Welcome the Moment” and a roster loaded with young talent. (“It’s looking good for the Sixers,” said Shelikoff.)

For Shelikoff, The Process became The Result — a high school track and field career for the ages.

Now, it’s off to Gainesville where a new Process is set to begin.

Niceville’s Shelikoff places 7th nationally in discus
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Ed Shelikoff didn’t view the New Balance Outdoor Nationals as his swan song to a prep throwing career.

Instead it was just the start of big things to come for the future Florida Gator.

On Sunday the 2017 Niceville graduate finished seventh in the discus with a throw of 183 feet, 10 inches in Greensboro, North Carolina.

It was far behind his personal record of 200-08, a distance he threw at state en route to a silver-medal finish, but Shelikoff walked away hopeful with a new-found respect for the sport.

“It was humbling to get to compete with the best,” he said. “I wanted to PR again, but things didn’t work the way I had hoped. I had an off-day but I made it to the finals, so there is nothing really I can be made about.

“Nationals taught me that no matter how hard I work, I need to keep working harder to get to that next level”

Shelikoff, standing 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, was recruited by UF as the No. 1 ranked discus thrower in Florida, a hype validated by a pair of regional titles. Now the next level is the bright lights of the SEC, where Shelikoff hopes to become a name to watch on the collegiate and Team USA radar.

“I’m going to compete at UF and hopefully experience the same success there as I did in high school and take a real shot at going to the Olympics one day,” he said.

Edward Shelikoff
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