Freshman thrower claims records

Chris Procacina

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Many college athletes dream of leaving a legacy at their school and getting their names in the record book. For USI freshman thrower Michael Hammonds, records are only the beginning.

In the early stages of a promising career, Hammonds has already claimed three throwing records. He set the current outdoor records in shot put (47 feet, 8 inches), hammer throw (147 feet, 3 inches) and discus (129 feet, 1 inch) during the Bellarmine Invitational April 5.

“He knows what his goal is, and that is to win a national championship at USI,” said throwing coach Chris Buckler. “He will be disappointed if he does not win a national championship.”

During his high school career, Hammonds went undefeated during the regular shot put season. Buckler said he believes loss at the Kentucky Invitational, Jan. 17, is what drove Hammonds to his stellar season.

“Michael (Hammonds) was the only freshman to make the finals. Three of the other guys are in the SEC in Kentucky and Alabama. These are big-time schools, big-time budgets, facilities, equipment and scholarships, and you know he didn’t win the meet,” Buckler said. “To be honest, he was almost in tears from not winning the meet because he didn’t know what that was like. It was kind of an adjustment for him, and I think it was an eye opening experience for him.”

Buckler said Hammonds hit the weight room even harder after the meet and continues to match up with the biggest competition.

“I do a lot more lifting than I ever did in high school because I only lifted during football season because I was a three sport athlete,” Hammonds said. “Now, I’m lifting constantly and lifting different muscles. I do a lot better lifting now than I ever did and I’ve gotten a lot stronger here than I ever did in high school.”

Hammonds said getting down a set schedule, involving a nutritious diet along with a balance of homework and classes, has led to his success.

“It’s not all about the glitz and glammer. It’s about the blood and sweat and going out and working, and Michael does that,” Buckler said. “Our goal is to be the number one throwing team in the conference.”

Hammonds values each of his records equally.

“I’m proud of them all because I worked hard for it and that was my goal this year,” Hammonds said. “One of my goals this year was to break every record in college and I’ve succeeded. … My ultimate goal by my senior year is that we have a track built, and that we have a very successful throwing program, that we produce national champions every year. That’s my main goal.”

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