Thursday, April 19, 2012

Parting shot: Reese Hoffa saves best for last

Reese Hoffa celebrates his last and longest throw of the Kansas Relays Men's Elite shot put event on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in downtown Lawrence.

Reese Hoffa celebrates his last and longest throw of the Kansas Relays Men's Elite shot put event on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in downtown Lawrence.


Two-time Olympian Reese Hoffa figured that, with just one of six throws remaining, he was destined to finish runner-up in the 2012 Kansas Relays downtown shot put competition — same as a year ago.

“I thought I was going to get second. On that last one, I went out there and tried to hit the ball as hard as I possibly could and hope I stay in (the ring),” said Hoffa, a 5-foot-11, 315-pounder out of the University of Georgia.

Spurred by a loud crowd of 3,500 spectators, the 34-year-old Hoffa unleashed a final throw of 71 feet, 33⁄4 inches, passing former Olympic silver medalist Christian Cantwell, who had marks of 71-23⁄4 and 71-21⁄4 — second- and third-best in the world this year.

“I went faster and hit the ball harder,” said Hoffa, whose world-leading heave rivaled his personal-best toss of 73-7.

His final attempted landed just inside the left foul line.

“That’s my land over there. That’s the land of Hoffa,” he said of the left side of the landing area.

Hoffa received not only a bowl as a trophy, but a necktie presented to him by meet official Larry Almond, an Iowa native who started the tradition of adorning the winning shot putter with a tie at the 100th Drake Relays.

“It’s a great tradition that we get the tie. We keep waiting to see what kind of tie they have for us,”said Hoffa, who wore the tie while posing for pictures and signing autographs for fans.

The women’s downtown long jump competition will be contested at 6 p.m. today, on Eighth Street between Massachusetts and Vermont streets. Athletes to compete include two of the world’s top long jumpers, Janay DeLoach and Funmi Jimoh.

In other events Wednesday, Nebraska’s Bjorn Barrefors leads the decathlon with 3,836 points after five events. Liz Roehrig, who is unattached, leads the heptathlon with 3,511 points after four events. KU’s Lindsay Vollmer is second at 3,304.


jhox 8 years, 1 month ago

I attended last night. It was a nice atmosphere, though I have to admit the crowd wasn't nearly as loud and as in to it as I had hoped they would be. In fairness, it's hard to clap when you have a beer in your hand. I think the other issue was the sound system. They were using music to pump up the crowd, but the sound system was weak. They need a bigger amplifier next year.

Those shot put guys are huge dudes, Cantwell especially. If I worked for the Chiefs, I'd be doing everything in my power to find a place for that guy on my football team. I have to believe he'd make a heck of an offensive or defensive lineman.

Saguaro_Jayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

G Pinkel was hoping to have Cantwell try football at moo, but CC had little to no interest.

Will be interesting to see his young son mature as his mother, CC's wife, was also an Olympics caliber shot putter.

d_prowess 8 years, 1 month ago

I thought last night was great but I wish they would put in more bleachers. The ones they had on either side of the pit were only about 5 rows and then they had no bleachers in the area I would describe as the end zone. It makes it hard to see when everyone is just on the sidewalks.

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