Thomas earns shot put national title, second in discus

Alex Cossin

Kent State sent five track and field athletes to Eugene, Oregon, for the NCAA Track and Field Championship June 7-10.

Danniel Thomas, the lone female Kent State athlete to qualify for the finals, earned a first place finish in shot put and fourth place in discus. This performance tied the women’s team for 13th at the meet with a final score of 15 points. The women’s championship meet winner was the University of Oregon with a total of 64 points.  

Thomas captured the NCAA shot put victory with a personal best throw of 62 feet 10 inches. This throw earns Thomas the second-best mark from a college athlete, next to University of Mississippi thrower Raven Saunders’ throw of 63 feet 5 inches from last year’s championship. Thomas’ throw also beat the Kent State’s school record, previously held by Thomas from her 2015 season.

Thomas also earned fourth place in discus with a throw of 185 feet 8 inches, short of her personal record throw of 194 feet 10 inches, another school record. First place for discus went to Shadae Lawrence of Kansas State University with a toss of 201 feet 4 inches.

Thomas has cemented herself in the history books at Kent State, holding the outdoor shot put and discus records, as well as the indoor shot put record of 60 feet 1 1/4 inches.

The Flashes also sent four men to Oregon: sophomore jumper Samory Fraga, senior thrower Reggie Jagers III, freshman decathlete TJ Lawson and sophomore jumper AJ Stevens. The four men totaled 10 points at the meet and earned the men’s team a final position of 26th. The men’s championship winner was the University of Florida with a total of 61.5 points.

Jagers took second in men’s discus with a toss of 205 feet 1 inch, with first place going to University of Virginia’s Filip Mihaljevic with a throw of 209 feet 2 inches. Jagers’ throw furthered Kent State’s discus record, which he already possessed from the 2016 season.

Stevens had finished in seventh in men’s triple jump with a total distance of 52 feet 6 inches, short of University of Florida thrower KeAndre Bates’ first place mark of 55 feet. Stevens owns Kent’s third-best triple jump with a mark of 52 feet 8 1/4 inches.

Lawson earned ninth in the men’s decathlon with a total of 7,725 points. First place went to Lindon Victor of Texas A&M University with 8,390 points. Lawson had top-ten finishes in the long jump, shot put, high jump, discus and 1,500 meter run.

Fraga took 23rd in men’s long jump with a leap of 22 feet 11 1/4 inches. First place in men’s long jump went to KeAndre Bates of University of Florida with a jump of 26 feet 5 inches.

Alex Cossin is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].