Texas A&M recruit Gabriel Oladipo Jr. shattered a 28-year-old AAU National Championships record in the shot put today, heaving the 12-pound implement for 73-8.75/22.47m to distance the prior record by more than five feet. Scott Peterson of Lafayette, Louisiana, had thrown 67-1.5 back in 1980.
The win was particularly moving for Oladipo, as shot put is his secondary event behind his specialty, the discus, in which he had recorded a disappointing finish at his most recent competition, the Pan-American Junior Athletics Championships. Despite medal hopes, Oladipo placed just sixth overall in Peru.
The AAU title and national record give him a significant mental boost for the discus finals on Thursday morning.
"I'd like to thank God," were Oladipo's first words after receiving his medal at the awards stand. "Give all glory to God, everybody that's supported me -- my mom, my dad, grandma, grandpa, Aunt Bev, cousin Vincent, everybody. I've gone through a lot in my high school career and to finish out on a high note like this. It's nothing but God. I've had some pretty good practices, some pretty good throws but I've never thrown this far in my life so I think I had a little bit of help today. I'm just ecstatic."
An energetic Oladipo explained that the mark was an eight-foot personal best. He had not touched a 12-pound weight in more than a month since competing at the Great Southwest Classic in New Mexico, where he swept the shot put and discus, the former with his prior personal best of 65-10.5. Since then, he's switched implements to prepare for the USATF Junior Nationals and also experimented with the 16-pound implement he will use in the NCAA.
"I think I was just really relaxed because I hadn't thrown shot in awhile and the last times I have thrown shot, it's been heavy training," he explained. "I just wanted to come out and give a great performance for my last high school meet."
Now, he has just one more event left before he takes his track and field career to College Station. The AAU National Championships record in the discus has stood at 202-7 since 2001 thanks to Brian Robison, but with a best of 215-2.5, Oladipo has a strong shot to take another title and record in the event.
"My mentality this year was just to come out and leave nothing to chance," he said.
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