World leader just the beginning for Otterdahl's senior season

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- Payton Otterdahl improved his mark in shot put this past weekend by 19 inches. Further extending his lead on the number one rank in the world this year.

"I think that's a really, really good starting point but I still believe there is more room to grow," NDSU associate head coach of throws Justin St. Clair said of the mark.

Maybe I should also add that he is just one of three collegiate athletes to ever throw 71 feet in indoor shot put.

"I think we're at a really good starting point right now," St. Clair continued. "We want to get consistent there and then kind of watch it develop off of that."

Don't let the drive for more fool you. Justin St. Clair just see's the potential in his current world leader.

That sounds funny doesn't it?

But that mark isn't safe. And there are bigger dreams on the horizon.

That's where St. Clair keeps Otterdahl's focus.

"Every track athletes ultimate goal is the Olympics and that's coming up here soon. So I try to focus on that, I focus on NCAA titles that I haven't won. I focus on records that I want to break," Otterdahl said of his focus.

"Realizing this is the ultimate goal," St. Clair said while explaining the big picture for Otterdahl. "Not what you do in March. Not what you do in April. But what do we do in June, July and maybe beyond that."

Facing his senior season Otterdahl was challenged by his coach with maybe the most difficult task yet. Competing less.

"Last year I would compete in all my events, every single meet. And really I just saw the injuries pile up a little bit. Small things, nothing huge but enough that I couldn't really compete at my fullest," Otterdahl explained.

An injured Otterdahl still took the Summit League Championship and placed 10th in two events at the NCAA Championships. But you probably won't be surprised to hear they want more out of this final season.

While the plan to alternate his schedule helps Otterdhahl physically, it's just as much a mental game.

"Of course when you're a competitor you want to compete all the time in everything. But you kind of have to pick and choose. So when we go to, say the National meet, you're still burning with desire," St. Clair said.

A competitor by nature, Saturday's are the toughest for Otterdahl, watching his teammates compete in the event he's opting out of that day.

But the season's early success keeps him on course for what could be a truly one of a kind season.