JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 28, 2018) – ETSU track and field will send its first ever male thrower to the NCAA D1 Indoor Track & Field National Championships March 9-10, as redshirt junior Ben Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) will compete against the nation’s bests.
Johnson launched a record-breaking throw of 21.99 meters to become a national qualifier in the men’s weight. His throw ranks No. 13 among collegiate competitors nationally, putting him in the top 16 to qualify for the National Final in College Station, Texas.
“Ben's performance in the conference championship could not have gone any better or been any more exciting,” said ETSU Director of Track and Field George Watts. “First, and most importantly, he won the event. As a result of that, he broke his school record, established a facility and conference meet record and earned a spot in the NCAA Indoor Championships. And he did all of that on his last throw of the competition.”
Johnson’s 21.99m mark broke a number of other records, including the all-time SoCon record and all-time SoCon Championship record. He also broke his own school record for the fourth time this season and broke his own facility record set at VMI’s Corps Physical Training Facility.
The Nashville native becomes the first ETSU male to compete in a National Championship throwing event and becomes just the second indoor thrower in 30 years. In 1988, ETSU’s Angie Barker won a national championship in the women’s shot put and holds the school record at 16.47 meters.
Johnson also becomes the first national qualifier in any indoor or outdoor event since Katrina Seymour did so in 2017. Prior to Seymour, the last competitors were Heidi Dahl in 2009 and Catherine Berry in 2000.
The last male to qualify for nationals prior to Johnson was Jeff Horton in 1995, while Seamus Power qualified back-to-back-to-back in 1992-94.
“To be one of the top 16 athletes in your event and qualify for the championships is no small feat,” Watts said. “I look forward to seeing how he performs on the highest level of collegiate track and field.”
The men’s weight final is scheduled for Saturday, March 10 at 2 p.m. inside Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas.
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