CATLIN – When cousins Cody and Sean Nicholson first began throwing competitively, they didn't find themselves facing many track and field opponents.
"We didn't have much competition because we were kind of younger (than most of the throwers), but we were doing well for our age," Sean remembered.
"I learned from watching my sister growing up. I went to one meet where she was and it was an invitational indoor meet, so my mom signed me up and I got to throw. I kind of got into throwing the shot and disc from watching her and, after that, I kind of liked it."
He wasn't competing solo for long.
"So, the next time I (went to a meet), me and Cody both decided to (throw) because we weren't really old enough to compete at school, but at the meets we could throw," Sean said.
Both boys began their throwing careers in the shot put. Though Sean still competes in the event for Salt Fork, Cody prefers throwing the discus for the Storm.
"I like them both probably about even," Sean said, "but Cody's not really into the shot put. He's really big on the disc."
Sean Nicholson has a season-best 48 feet, 0- 1/2 inch in the shot.
"I just like discus because it's kind of more of a challenge," Cody said. "Discus is a lot more about form. In shot, you can use a lot more strength, but in discus you have to have really good form to get it down. I think it's something that I've learned to be better at and I enjoy it a lot better than shot."
The two juniors have welcomed the instruction of their throwing coach, Herb Wilkins, when it comes to tweaking their throwing styles.
"(Wilkins) pretty much taught me everything that my sister couldn't," Sean said, "just critiquing and modifying my form and everything."
Each has eclipsed the 142-foot mark in the discus this spring.
"Me and Sean, we wouldn't be throwing good if it wasn't for (Wilkins)," Cody said.
Sean and Cody have recorded personal-best throws in the discus (Sean, 146-0; Cody, 142-1), a distance long enough to make the pair contenders to compete in the News-Gazette Honor Roll Track Meet on Monday. They are among the area's top 10.
"(Wilkins) knows exactly what he's doing, and he really works us hard," Cody said. "He inspires me really well, and when I'm messing up we go step by step and fix what's going wrong. He tells me exactly what I'm doing wrong and we fix it."
Sean and Cody – who also were standouts on Salt Fork's football playoff team last fall – agree that competing in the same event makes them better athletes.
"We both have competition against each other, especially because we're cousins and the same age and we grew up together," Cody said. "It's good to have us both (competing in the same event) because we push each other and we work together. We both try harder when we're both there."
In last week's Vermilion County meet, Sean placed second in the shot and discus. Cody was the third-place medalist in the dis- cus.
"It's a friendly competition to where we push each other in practice as hard as we can," Sean said. "We always want to be better and better, and so we practice against each other to do that."
But don't expect these two to let an athletic event get in the way of family.
"To us, it's more about our friendship than competing for sports," Sean said. "We'd never let sports or anything like that get in between us too much. Anyway it goes, I always have his back and hope that he'd have mine.
"If (Cody) has to win something, I'm not going to be upset about that. I'm right there to cheer him on, and I think he'd do the same for me. It's a rivalry, but if we get beat by each other, we don't treat it as such a big deal. We're glad."