Danny Block stands atop the winner\’s podium after placing first in the discus at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Track Championships.[/media-credit]Goofy, funny, smiley, motivated, competitive: all words a fellow teammate and coach chose to describe All-American shot putter Danny Block.Block, a junior on the Wisconsin track and field team, was recently named a First-Team All-American after his 20.00 meter throw at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Along with this, he broke both his personal and UW records.“Definitely throwing 20 meters at Nationals was the biggest moment of my career,” Block said. “I finally caught the throw I’ve been looking for five or six years.”The list of Block’s accomplishments doesn’t end there. His notables include school record holder in the shot put, school record holder in the discus, 2013 Big Ten champion in the shot put, 2013 First-Team All-American in the shot put, 2012 Big Ten champion in the discus, 2012 Second-Team All-American in the discus and 2012 NCAA West Preliminary Round qualifier in the shot put and discus – and those are only from the past two years.“He’s into collecting All-American awards now and that’s something that’s driving him,” throwing coach Dave Astrauskas said. “You put him in a meet with other quality throwers who are near him and better than him, that’s where he usually shines.”He also believes Block’s competitive nature comes from a little sibling rivalry that he’s been able to experience first-hand. When Block was around 14 or 15 years old, Astrauskas coached his older brother and had the opportunity to get to know the Block family – Danny included. In turn, Astrauskas was able to watch him grow up alongside his brothers.“I know him wanting to surpass those marks and do better than [his brothers] is one of the things that’s driving him now,” Astrauskas said.Astrauskas and his relationship with Block is what ultimately led him to his Division 1 career at UW. After high school, Block’s 18-year-old self established that attending an SEC school far from home would be the right decision for him. Thus, he found himself at the University of Kentucky.“I thought that was what you were supposed to do: go to an SEC school, go to warm weather,” Block said.To his dismay, the distance left him homesick and, with the help of Astrauskas, he found himself with a closer option: the University of Wisconsin.“I was kind of like an orphan for a little bit. I was looking for a school and [Coach Astrauskas] kind of helped me through the process. And I decided to come here,” Block said.His decision proved to be beneficial as his awards from his 2012 and 2013 seasons have boasted his efforts.At the start of his UW career back in 2011, Block first competed in the shot put at the Red and White Open in mid-February with a toss of 16.41 meters, winning the event. Exactly one year later, competing in the same meet, he won the event with a toss of 18.79 meters. At the same meet this season, he tossed 19.34 meters – displaying a consistent improvement in his past three seasons.“I grew up a lot,” Block said. “I got stronger and I try to relax a little more and just have fun with it rather than make it a job.”His calm attitude is what sophomore teammate Scott Erickson thinks helps him in his success.“He’s never too serious about something,” Erickson said. “He’s learned to channel his emotions in a positive way by telling jokes and being himself instead of getting frustrated.”Block also said his ability to help out his fellow teammates pushes him to be his best. Fellow throwing teammate Erickson said working alongside Block has played a big part in his own success.“[Danny’s] the guy that doesn’t have the greatest strength, but he can still throw as far as the guys that can bench press 500 pounds. Most I’ve ever seen him put on a bar is 270,” Erickson said. “It helps point out to me that it’s more technique-oriented than where your mind is.”Likewise, Block believes he wouldn’t be as successful as he is without his teammates.“They all have an effect on me in a certain way. I wouldn’t get rid of one person,” Block said.Block said the teammate that has had the largest effect on him has been sophomore Alex Thompson. He said Thompson’s technical knowledge has helped him become the All-American he is today.When Block is done collecting hardware at UW, he hopes to keep throwing professionally for some time and would like to coach at a high school or collegiate level.“I know competing after college is one of his goals and in order to do that he’s going to have to work hard,” Astrauskas said.