Records take beating as former Lane Athlete, Cyrus Hostetler, uncorks the year’s top javelin mark

04/05/2009 22:30
Brian Davies/The Register-Guard

Cyrus Hostetler obliterated the UO javelin mark by 20 feet and set a world-leading throw of 272-10 at the 2009 Pepsi Invitational on Saturday.

Oregon junior Cyrus Hostetler taught the Hayward Field fans an important lesson on Saturday.

Don’t be late for the men’s javelin.

With only about 1,000 spectators on hand for the start of the Pepsi Team Invitational at 11:30 a.m., the former standout at Newberg High School and Lane Community College unleashed a throw for the ages on his first attempt.

By the time the javelin landed, and the steel tape measure was stretched to its fullest, Hostetler and his teammates couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the mark — 272 feet, 10 inches.

It shattered the school record by 20 feet.

It broke the Pac-10 record by more than four feet.

It stands as the fourth-best mark in collegiate history.

It exceeded the ”A” qualifying standard for the World Championships in Berlin this summer.

And, while the 2009 outdoor track and field season is still in its infancy, Hostetler is the new world leader in the javelin.

“I think that was probably one of the best performances by a University of Oregon athlete ever at Hayward Field,” said Dan Steele, UO associate director of track and field.

“I watched it, and I didn’t know if it was going to come down. That was really a thrill to start out the meet.”

Hostetler’s mark broke John Stiegeler’s 2001 school record of 252-10 and topped the Pac-10 mark of 268-7, set in 1998 by Arizona’s Esko Mikkola.

The record-setting throw, which was preceded by a personal best from UO junior Alex Wolff at 234-4, the fifth-best javelin mark at Oregon, helped ease the sting for the Ducks, who were unable to win the Pepsi team title.

Indiana surprised the crowd of 4,636 by winning five events, most notably a 1-2 finish in the 1,500 meters, to capture the overall championship at the 20th edition of the meet with 200 points.

Oregon, which held out most of its middle distance and distance runners from the NCAA indoor meet, settled for second with 194, followed by Kansas State (130) and Utah State (127).

Even without such key performers as Galen Rupp, Andrew Wheating, Matt Centrowitz, A.J. Acosta and Luke Puskedra, plus a cameo appearance from Ashton Eaton in the shot put, the UO coaching staff thought the Ducks could still win the meet.

“We knew we were coming in a little light,” said UO director of track and field Vin Lananna. “But even with the guys we held out, I thought we should have been able to do something. Obviously, that was not an accurate assessment.”

No need to worry, however.

The Ducks are in the midst of one of their heaviest training phases of the season, and they have plenty of time to take a deep breath and regroup for upcoming championship runs at both the Pac-10 and NCAA meets.

Plus, they may need some time to fully appreciate what Hostetler accomplished on Saturday.

“This is a big, big mark,” said Kristina Scherwin, a two-time Olympian from Denmark, who is in her first season as Oregon’s volunteer javelin coach.

“This is not something you do everyday. You can’t expect him to throw this at every meet. This is really world class, and now he needs to fill in the gap between (250 and 270 feet), so he gets stable. I don’t mind if he doesn’t throw over 80 meters (262-5) again until the NCAAs. That’s the most important thing, to throw far at the end of the season.”

Hostetler came into the season with a PR of 241-0, and he upped that to 245-3 at the Stanford Invitational one week ago.

He used a full approach for the first time this year Saturday, adding two additional steps and a bit more speed.

“I just came out there and hit it,” Hostetler said. “It was perfect. It felt like I didn’t use my arm at all. It seemed to not want to drop, and I knew from the second I threw it, that it was big. I didn’t know how big, and when they pulled the tape out, and I saw 275, I freaked out.

“I looked at Alex and I was just going crazy. I couldn’t believe it. Then, when I finally heard them say, ‘272-10,’ that’s the World Championships in Berlin, the best throw in the nation right now. Oh my gosh, I went insane.”

Scherwin gave Hostetler the option to stop at that point, but with his parents in the stands, plus an obligation to the other ticket-buying fans, he decided to give it another go, throwing 261-10 on his second attempt.

Only then did he give it a rest.

“I never expected to do that this early in the season,” Hostetler said. “I PR’d by 33 feet last year, and to do it again already this year is huge. I still want to throw farther, so we’ll see where this year takes me.”

Wolff, who will accompany Hostetler — plus Rachel Yurkovich and Ashley McCrea from the UO women’s team — to the Sea Ray Relays at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday, said he was inspired by Hostetler’s effort.

“It was invigorating,” Wolff said. “It stayed in the air for a long time, and you know it’s going to be a good throw when that happens. … We have great coaching, we’ve trained hard all year and things are clicking right now.”

Posted to Web: Saturday, Apr 4, 2009 09:19PM
Appeared in print: Sunday, Apr 5, 2009, page C6