Tuesday, June 18, 2019

NCAA Men's and Women's Hammer Throws

The women's and men's hammer throws in sweltering Austin, TX, added some thunder and lightning of their own to the proceedings.

These two articles appeared in edited form on the Track and Field News website (access with subscription).


Birthday Thunder
2019 NCAA Women's Hammer Throw
Thunder, lightning, drenching rain – the women’s hammer had it all. In an event that began almost two hours late, Cal-Berkeley’s super sophomore Camryn Rogers led from first round until last to clinch the title.

Rogers, 2019 Pac-12 and West Regional champ, sealed the deal in a highly competitive field with her 4th round 234-7/71.50, but not before several others had their say.

The World U20 champion seemed to be on her way to a dominating win until Indiana State’s Erin Reese uncorked a 5th round 231-2/70.46 that capped her progression from 19th to 4th to 3rd to 2nd, after an opening foul.

Reese gave Rogers a scare with her final 233-2/71.06; Reese’s 5th round toss had moved her into 2nd to stay, and she was the only athlete with two throws over 70.00m (229-8).

UCLA’s own super soph Alyssa Wilson was never off the podium. 2nd or 3rd the entire competition, Wilson’s 228-10/69.75 fourth round toss moved her back into second at the time, only to be surpassed by Reese’s late meet thunder.

Ohio State’s junior Sade Olatoye joined the party late as it took her several rounds to find her rhythm; her 5th round 227-7/69.37 left her only 15”/38cm short of a place on the podium.

A surprise in 8th was Tennessee’s Stamatia Scarvellis, the SEC and East Regional titlist, who came into this meet undefeated with 5 wins in a row. She did not improve from her second round best of 221-9/67.59.

There is a youth movement afoot in women’s hammer. With two sophomores on the podium, a total of five of the top nine finalists will return next year.

“It’s kind of surreal (to win the championship),” said Rogers. “It still hasn’t hit me, and I don’t think it will hit me for a little bit. It’s a crazy feeling to walk out of the cage after your last throw and go hug your coach, and for me, to go hug my mom, and just see all my teammates so happy. It feels really good… Anything I can do for this awesome team is amazing." 

The Richmond, British Columbia, native, has accomplished much in her young career; she won her NCAA title the day before her 20th birthday. This year, she has much more than her birthday to celebrate.

First First
2019 NCAA Men's Hammer Throw
Daniel Haugh took the road less traveled to his and Kennesaw State’s first NCAA individual track and field title. In his first outdoor season throwing for the Owls, Haugh, a redshirt senior transfer from Alabama, won a highly competitive men’s hammer championship with his fifth-round 244-10/74.63.

Kansas’ Gleb Dudarev came into the championship riding a four-meet win streak, which included titles at the Big 12 and West Regional meets. Co-favorite Hilmar Orn Jonsson of Virginia rode a three-meet streak of his own, including the ACC and East Regional crowns.

Haugh and Georgia’s defending champion, Denzel Comenentia, lost to Orn Jonsson at the East Regional. Comenentia, the yearly leader at 252-0/76.80, showed cracks in his armor with that loss as well as a runner up finish in the SEC Championships.

Here, Comenentia took the lead briefly in an eventful 3rd round with his 239-3/72.93, in what would prove to be his only fair throw of the meet. Dudarev answered with a 242-5/73.88 heave to make the massive Dutchman’s lead short-lived. Meanwhile, OJ put himself into the medal mix to stay with his 240-1/73.19, second place at the time.

The fourth round was quiet, but the fireworks exploded in the fifth. With three throws over 73.00 meters (239-6), the podium positions were determined. Haugh took the lead for good at 244-10/74.63 and pushed Dudarev to 2nd, while Orn Jonsson solidified his claim on 3rd with his 240-6/73.31. SEC champion Thomas Mardal (FL) moved into 4th at 239-10/73.10.

Both Haugh and Dudarev had their 2nd farthest throws in the last round as Dudarev kept the pressure on Haugh until the very end, but among the top 9, there were no position changes in the final stanza.

“The only thought that comes to mind is thankful,” said Haugh. “Thankful for the Lord who makes this possible, thankful for my parents, my coaching staff, my friends and family who believe in me and push me day in and day out. None of this would be possible without the community that I am surrounded with on a daily basis.

“It was just my training,” Haugh concluded. “You know in these types of conditions and this environment you always fall back to the level of your training. I think that showed today.”

Props to Florida throws coach Steve Lemke; on a sweltering day in Austin, only two throwers in the entire field of 24 recorded personal bests; both were Gators.

Sophomore Mardal (4th) and senior AJ McFarland (6th in 235-2/71.68) improved their bests by 4”/10cm and 3-3/.69, respectively, to pick up a nifty 8 points. With senior Anders Eriksson 11th in 223-7/68.14, Florida had three in the top 24 while no other school had more than one.

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