Continuing rapid rise, P-G's Lee Reiser looks to cap dominant season with state shot put, discus titles

Entering the state meet, Reiser's season best is nearly 5 feet ahead of second place in the shot put and more than 15 feet clear in the discus, making him the heavy favorite to claim both titles.

Platte-Geddes' Lee Reiser competes in the boys shot put at the 98th Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Friday, May 5, 2023, in Sioux Falls.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

PLATTE, S.D. — Lee Reiser wanted to quit.

Then a sophomore throwing sub-38 feet in the shot put and sub-85 feet in the discus, Reiser was unsatisfied with his performances, disenchanted with track and field and wanted to give up on the sport.

His parents made it clear that was not an option.

Fast forward two years and the Platte-Geddes product has evolved into one of the best throwers in all of South Dakota, with a collegiate athletic career ahead of him at South Dakota State.

But there's one more meet for Reiser to make his mark, as the senior looks to repeat as a state shot put champion and win his first state discus title this week at the Class A state track and field meet in Sioux Falls.


"I'm feeling pretty good," Reiser said. "I've just been letting it go and everything's been going well. I'm just going to keep working hard with another week to really lock in and figure things out before state."

Platte-Geddes' Lee Reiser competes in the boys discus throw during the Region 5A track and field meet on Thursday, May 18, 2023, in Alexandria.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Overnight improvement

Over the past 13 1/2 months, Resier's performances have improved so greatly that they're borderline unrecognizable.

In the shot put, he's pushing 60 feet, and in the discus, he's nearing 170 feet, but Reiser still vividly remembers when his 35-foot shot put tosses turned into 40s.

"I really started to love the weight room and then I was going to practice and throwing 40 (feet), which I thought was super far and made me feel good," Reiser remembers with a small chuckle. "Then, one day, it randomly clicked and has turned into a future for me."

Following Reiser's dedication to improvement in the weight room, the then-junior added nearly 15 feet of distance in seven weeks.

He started the 2022 outdoor season with a mark of 40 feet, 9.25 inches and by the end of the season, at the 2022 Class B state meet (P-G moved from Class B to Class A last offseason), Reiser took down the state title with a throw of 54 feet, 8 inches.

In the discus, he added almost 27 feet during the season, starting at 113-7 and finishing with a season-best of 140-1. A throw of 134-8 placed him ninth at the state meet.


Given his in-season improvement last year, expectations were high coming into 2023, and Reiser has continued to raise his own standard. With new personal records of 59 feet, 4 inches, in the shot put and 169 feet, 9 inches, in the discus.

Perhaps the most impressive part is that Reiser's ceiling for improvement remains quite high. While many of his fellow elite throwers spin as part of their shot put routine to help maximize distance, Reiser has stuck with the simpler glide step, a sort of backward shuffle.

In other words, Reiser, listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds on the Black Panthers' football roster from last fall, is reaching his current distances relying more on raw strength than technique. As he continues to work on the technical side of throwing, another period of rapid improvement may very well follow.

"I've got a lot more power and can definitely get a lot better with my technique," Reiser said. "I should be spinning, but I've never learned it, so I think I get a lot out of my power and speed in the ring. With discus, my spin isn't crazy fast, either. I just have a lot of power to it."

Platte-Geddes' Lee Reiser competes in the boys shot put during the Region 5A track and field meet on Thursday, May 18, 2023, in Alexandria.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Going for two and beyond

One aspect to Reiser's pursuit of more state titles that wasn't there last year was the pressures that come with being at the top.

"I definitely feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed," Reiser said. "But I don't want to look like a flop to everybody else because I feel like there's a lot of (outside) pressure on me, too."

Comparing Reiser to his Class A peers, he's separated himself in the rankings. Entering the state meet, his season best is nearly 5 feet ahead of second place in the shot put and more than 15 feet clear in the discus, making him the favorite to claim both titles. Overall, Reiser is third in the state in the shot put and fourth in the discus, with only Class AA athletes ahead of him.


Of course, Reiser's primary goal at the state meet is to win both the shot put and discus championships. Beyond that, he's aiming to eclipse 60 feet in the shot put, which he considers his favorite event.

As for his athletic future in Brookings, Reiser is excited to continue improving at the college level, where he plans to focus on the shot put but hasn't ruled out continuing to throw the discus, as well. One thing he'll bring with him for sure is an appreciation for the journey he's been on.

"I was always set in stone thinking I was going go to technical school because I was never very good at track," Reiser said. "But after state last year, I knew (throwing) is what I wanted to do, and that's really what I want to do now."

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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