USATF Men’s Hammer — So Far And Yet So Close

Rudy Winkler won a competition so tight that the first 5 were separated by about the length of a hammer. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

For having to throw a 16-pound implement as far as 242‑0 (73.76) to determine a national champion, these results were exceedingly close.

Rutgers’ Rudy Winkler won his second hammer title by just 21 inches (54cm) over defending champion Alex Young. Not to be outdone, Young’s fifth-round 240-3 (73.22) was a mere 6 inches (13cm) farther than Sean Donnelly’s 239-9 (73.09) opener. And Donnelly’s bronze? He won it by a scant inch (3cm). The difference between Daniel Roberts in 4th and Conor McCullough in 5th? Just 3 inches (8cm). Less than a meter separated the top 5.

Donnelly led after each of the first two rounds while Winkler vaulted from 5th to 1st with his third-round winner. Young scared the entire field with his fifth-round heave, which placed him securely in 2nd.

Said the soft-spoken Winkler, “I’m a little bit more aggressive than I used to be and a little bit stronger. It’s coming together slowly and my training is amazing right now. It’s just going to take some time for me to get used to that in competition.”

Winkler, who is pursuing a Masters of business & science with a focus on cyber security, is looking forward to a busy competitive schedule this summer. Said the national champion of his goals for a summer with no OG or WC, “I just want to keep training, keep competing, and get close to a personal best.”

“It was a good competition,” said Young. “We’re always trying to push each other.”

Donnelly agreed. “We’re all under 25 and it’s good for the future of U.S. hammer that we’re all going to be pushing each other. It’s a good day to throw far and congrats to Rudy for putting it together.” The next day he said, “I feel OK about it now. Immediately after the competition I was a little disappointed. I could have done better but I learned a lot yesterday about how to compete and how to respond.” Moving forward, he will be “focusing more on my own process rather than focusing on the result.”

Donnelly’s fifth-round foul threaded the needle of the protective netting and sailed left onto a neighboring street where it bounced and hit a parked car. While there was much relief that no one was injured, and while campus police had the area cordoned off for the women’s hammer the next day, this was a distressing event.

“I apologize to whoever’s car I hit and I’m just glad no one got hurt,” said Donnelly.


USATF MEN’S HAMMER RESULTS

(June 22)

1. Rudy Winkler (Rut) 242-0 (73.76)

(235-10, 232-11, 242-0, 233-3, 233-7, 237-1) (71.89, 71.01, 73.76, 71.10, 71.20, 72.26);

2. Alex Young (Velaasa) 240-3 (73.22)

(237-4, f, 239-6, 236-11, 240-3, f) (72.35, f, 73.01, 72.23, 73.22, f);

3. Sean Donnelly (Iron) 239-9 (73.09)

(239-9, f, f, 238-7, f, f) (73.09, f, f, 72.72, f, f);

4. Daniel Roberts (unat) 239-8 (73.06)

(235-11, f, 238-3, 239-8, f, f) (71.92, f, 72.63, 73.06, f, f);

5. Conor McCullough (NYAC) 239-5 (72.98)

(234-8, 237-9, 238-6, 234-4, 239-5, 228-10) (71.52, 72.46, 72.69, 71.42, 72.98, 69.76);

6. Morgan Shigo (PennSt) 235-4 (71.75);

7. Daniel Haugh (T1D) 232-0 (70.71);

8. Colin Dunbar (Iron) 230-11 (70.39);

9. Jordan Crayon (Velaasa) 228-10 (69.76);

10. Adam Kelly (Prin) 227-2 (69.25);

11. Alan McFarland (Fl) 226-7 (69.07);

12. Grant Cartwright (Mi) 224-10 (68.53) PR;

13. Brock Eager (WaSt) 223-5 (68.11);

14. Michael Shanahan (NH) 223-0 (67.97);

15. Joe Frye (MusC) 220-8 (67.27);

16. Gary Randolph (unat) 216-3 (65.93);

17. Steffan Stroh (ND) 213-2 (64.98);

18. Erik Escobedo (Bethel) 212-3 (64.70). □

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