2017 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day: OSU's Mikayla Pivec turns to javelin to prepare for sophomore season
SAN FRANCISCO – Despite having lost the entirety of the “Big Three” of Ruth Hamblin, Jamie Weisner and Sydney Wiese that got the Beavers to the Final Four in 2016 and losing three starters from last year’s team that made a return trip to the Sweet 16, Oregon State is still picked to finish fourth in a deep Pac-12. Part of that is the program – Scott Rueck has worked wonders the moment he stepped foot in Corvallis, and the Beavers have become a respected power on the West Coast.
On the other hand, part of that is also talent, and sophomore guard Mikayla Pivec is one reason why the Beavers are expected to make another NCAA Tournament run. The second leading returning scorer behind post Marie Gülich, Pivec averaged 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while starting in 27 of the 36 games in which she played. As a sophomore, the expectation would be that those numbers go North for Pivec, especially with Wiese no longer on campus.
But to prepare for the upcoming season, Pivec turned to another sport, joining Oregon State’s track and field team in the spring for the javelin throw. After talking it over with Rueck, Pivec joined the track squad late in the season and made an impact. She threw 142-4 at the Oregon Twilight Meet in May, a mark that is fourth-best all time at Oregon State.
“I went home for spring break and saw my sister competing in track, and it sparked my interest again,” said Pivec, who competed in track and field in high school. “I knew competing in track would keep me motivated to work on my strength, work on my speed, and that would help translate well to basketball. So I did it as a way to get stronger, stay competing, stay competitive. It was a lot of fun.”
Rueck, a big fan of track and field himself, was supportive of the idea (it probably also didn’t hurt that Pivec didn’t miss any on-court activities).
“Every single individual sport student that I’ve coached in my career has a mental toughness advantage over anybody that’s not competed individually,” Rueck said at 2017 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day. “So when she approached me with that, we talked about, well, you’re here for basketball. How are you going to manage your improvement in the off-season through basketball? Do you believe it’s a good decision for you at this time? And she said yes, and I said I agree. So go, go do it and win the Pac-12.”
Pivec is unsure if she will compete in the javelin throw in future years for the Beavs – basketball comes first, after all – but perhaps another good season on the hardwood will persuade her that javelin training can continue to pay off dividends for upcoming seasons.