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Crouser's Comeback: Texas Sophomore Wins NCAA Title
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT
Texas sophomore Ryan Crouser isn't just special. He's a special treat.
"He's like the cherry on top of dessert," said Texas head men's track & field coach Bubba Thornton.
He's also on top of the nation. Crouser entered Wednesday's NCAA championship with the longest shot put throw in America this year.
"Not only does he expect the very best but I think his teammates, not just within the team but within the throws group see his passion and he kind of raises everybody's expectations a little bit," said Texas associate head men's track & field coach Mario Sategna.
Crouser earned All-America honors in both the shot and the discus last year as a freshman. But getting back to nationals in 2013 looked like a long shot.
"I had a really weird tonsil infection then I had to get my tonsils out," explained Crouser. "Then I went to the doctor and I had strep throat where my tonsils had been. I mean, I couldn't do a push-up. I had to almost rebuild from scratch."
His illness caused him to lose 50 pounds and almost an entire season. He threw the shot competitively just twice in 11 months. But despite the layoff, Crouser dominated the conference meet in May. This heave of 69' 2 1/2" not only broke UT's all-time mark, it set a new Big 12 meet record.
"When I go out there to compete, I know I've been through more than almost all of the other guys," said Crouser. "I feel like I have a mental advantage."
Wednesday, he proved no one can match him physically either. Just 120 miles from his hometown of Boring, Oregon.
"It's not quite as bad as the name might seem," justified Crouser."
His performance was anything but boring. In front of family and friends, Crouser capped off his remarkable comeback with an NCAA championship winning toss of 66' 7 3/4".
"[When you] do better than people expect or even than you expect, it makes it all the more sweet," said Crouser.
All the more sweet. Like a cherry on top of dessert.
by Adam Winkler