GOING INTO DAY 2 of the Summit League, Payton Otterdahl suspected he had a good shot effort coming. The evening before, he had only taken three of his tosses with the weight, winning at 77-10 (23.72), a distance no other collegian has surpassed this season. “I knew that we were going to save my energy and my efforts for the shot the next day, so I had to cut myself short,” he says. But his first two puts, 67-5½ (20.56) & 67-9 (20.65) didn’t tip the crowd to any impending explosion. Then it happened.
His third attempt soared more than meter beyond the others, landing at a Collegiate Record 71-6¾ (21.81) to erase the 71-3½ (21.73) that Arizona State’s Ryan Whiting set in ’08 and Ryan Crouser of Texas tied in ’16, the year he won the Olympic gold medal.
“I knew it was going to be better than my previous marks, but I didn’t honestly think it was going to be as far as it was,” says Otterdahl, 22. “I thought it was going to be around 21m [68-10¾].” Relating to Whiting and Crouser he adds, “These are guys that I’ve looked up to since I’ve been doing this sport and it still doesn’t feel real that I’ve thrown further indoors as a college athlete than them. It’s still hard to believe.” He followed up on his final throw with a toss of 70-11¼ (21.62), the No. 5 collegiate mark ever.
For the North Dakota State senior, who continues to improve as a spinner, it means the favorite’s mantle will be heavier than ever on him going into the NCAA Championships. “It gives me a lot of confidence,” he says. “That throw didn’t feel that great. I think I have a lot more left in the tank and hopefully I’ll be able to get it at Nationals. Getting the NCAA Record was just one of the many goals that I have for the rest of the season. So it was right back to work as soon as we got back.”