Penn State Track & Field’s David Lucas Captures National Championship In Historic Fashion
Sophomore David Lucas is returning from his first indoor track and field NCAA championship meet this past weekend with some impressive hardware: a national title in the weight throw. Lucas’s fifth throw of the competition landed at 24.02 meters, a personal record for Lucas, a Penn State record, and more than a meter farther than the second place competitor.
This win has been nearly 30 years in the making for Penn State. While many athletes and relays have placed second and third in previous years, it is the first individual championship crown for a Penn State track and field athlete since 1990.
On a national level, Lucas’s throw is the fourth farthest in NCAA Championship meet history and is now the facility record for the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas. The mark is also the farthest recorded in the nation, among both college and professional athletes, this year.
This has been a sort-of Cinderella season for Lucas. The Lititz, PA, native came to college never having competed in the weight throw. He was recruited primarily as a discus thrower.
After redshirting his first indoor season, he started competing in the weight throw during the 2017 season. He finished his freshman season with a personal best mark of 20.08 meters, which placed him at fifth in the Big Ten Championship.
Lucas carried this momentum to the 2017 outdoor season, where he ended with a ninth place finish at the NCAA championship in what has been previously regarded as his best event, the discus. Since weight throw is only competed indoors, Lucas spent outdoor season focusing on other events.
At the first meet of the 2018 indoor season, Lucas launched a personal best of 21.52 meters in the weight throw to break the Penn State school record. That performance was a turning point for Lucas, but no one could predict what the rest of the season would hold.
Returning two weeks later, David Lucas bested his own mark once again with a throw of 21.82 meters. This performance earned him his first Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honor. The following weekend, Lucas shattered his record once again with a mark of 22.28 meters, a more than two meter improvement from the previous season.
At the Big Ten Championship meet, Lucas fell to Joseph Ellis of Michigan in the weight throw competition. Although Lucas once again improved his own school record with a monster throw of 23.31 meters, it was only good enough to earn second place in the highly competitive field. Ellis took home the gold with a mark of 23.64 meters.
The season culminated at the National Championship, where Lucas knew he would once again face Ellis and several other tough Big Ten competitors. Ready for revenge, Lucas progressed on each of his three preliminary throws of the competition.
Heading in to finals, Lucas trailed in second place. His record breaking 24.02 meter throw came on his second of five throws and catapulted him to the lead. No one would come close to matching the mark; the second place competitor’s best throw fell 1.06 meters short.
During the seven times David Lucas competed in weight throw this 2018 season, he broke the school record five times. He bettered his 2017 best by 4 meters throughout the season.
There won’t be much time for Lucas to soak in his victory, as the outdoor track and field season gets underway in just three weeks. His focus will shift away from the weight throw and towards the discus, where he is expected to be a national level competitor once again.
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About the Author
The ranking comes after the Nittany Lions defeated Michigan State 42-0 on Black Friday.
This is the first time the Lady Lions have received AP Poll votes since 2014.
The Onward State crew headed to the Motor City for some football, pizza, and a swing set overlooking Canada.