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CORONAVIRUS CHRONICLES: Austin’s Oliver Andersen

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AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) - Austin's Oliver Andersen was looking forward to his senior track season like never before.

"I was really excited. I put extra work in," he said. "This is the hardeset I've worked for a track season."

Andersen placed sixth last season at the Class A State Meet in discus, but this year he wanted to take home top honors.

"I knew there were a couple of people ahead of me, and that I had to work towards to beat," he said.

Enter the coronavirus and everything changed. With his senior sping sports season all but cancelled, Andersen found a way to keep his competitve juices flowing. Andersen started posting his throws on Twitter using the hashtag "#MarkItChat" -- creating a group chat for throwers everywhere to continue to compete.

"One of the things that I try to do is keep it as close to a meet environment as possible," Andersen said. "Try to limit yourself to the throws that you have to get, or give yourself a distance you have to make it to, otherwise you technically lose the meet or however you place it."

And thus a virtual track meet was born. Two or three times a week, Andersen goes to the high school and competes in meet-like conditions and posts them to Twitter using the hashtag -- promoting competition among throwers looking for that extra edge. If he throws a certain distance in his first three throws, he allows himself to go to the "finals" -- just like a real-life track meet.

"I really like doing this. It's one way that I've found that I like competing, and it's been a lot of fun to just try to compete," he said. "Try to set up a scenario and be like, 'Hey, if I do this, I can win.'"

Andersen has set PR's in both discus and shotput this spring as he sharpens his skills before he goes to play football and track at Division II powerhouse Minnesota State.

"It's actually gone really well," said Andersen. "I've improved like seven to eight feet [in discus]. That's a really big jump for this technically early in what would be the track season."

Andersen is currently competing with his future Maverick teammate Brady Schlaeger, but if you want to get in on the fun, make a legal throw, measure it, and post it to Twitter using the hashtag "#MarkItChat."

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Mark Poulose

Mark Poulose is the Sports Director at KTTC.

You can find him on Twitter @MarkPoulose.

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