Last year when we presented this award to Stephen Mozia (Hackensack, N.J.), we ended the presentation with the following sentence: “He has already made a lot of progress in each of the throwing events since his freshman year, so we will not be surprised when he does shatter one or two of the throwing records in the next two years.” We were wrong – we were surprised when he did shatter some throwing records this past year.
Take indoors – Mozia established a new conference standard of 68-02 ¼ at Indoor Heps (also shattering the meet record in the process), a standard that is now over 2 feet further than what Princeton’s August Wolf threw back in 1983 (66-01 ¾). What was also a surprise was that this was only Mozia’s first Indoor Heps title.
And then outdoors – it was not a surprise that Mozia defended his Outdoor Heps shot put title for a 3rd straight year. It was not a surprise that he set a new PR of 67-01 1/2 that is within 1 inch of Wolf’s outdoor shot put record. What was surprising was that Mozia took down a different throwing record BEFORE claiming the shot put record. Mozia reset the discus throw conference record at the NCAA East Preliminary Round to 206-00, which bested Nick Sweeney’s best by 1 foot.
Was it surprising that Mozia earned All-American honors in the shot put for both indoors and outdoors? No – he is one of the best shot putters in the country (but we believe that he can improve upon his runner-up results from this past year into a national title next year). It’s also not a surprise that he swept the Northeast Region Male Thrower of the Year accolades from USTFCCCA for the indoor and outdoor seasons. And lastly, it is not a surprise that he is already looking to the international stage, as he represented Team Nigeria in three international competitions this past year – Indoor Worlds (where he finished 17th in the shot put), Commonwealth Games, and African Championships (where he earned a bronze medal in the discus).
And guess what – he still has one more year left. What other surprises does Mozia have in store for us?
For the last three years, we have witnessed some great high jumping battles between Cornell’s Montez Blair (Erial, N.J.) and Penn’s Maalik Reynolds (Atlanta, Ga.). It’s only fair for them to split the Heps high jump titles (Blair – indoors; Reynolds – outdoors) and then tie at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for 7th place, earning one last All-American honor before they graduated. Blair also earned an All-American honor at the NCAA Indoor Championship with a career-best 4th place finish, while Reynolds earned a second Penn Relays watch en route to winning the High Jump Championship of America event.
Mozia photo by Doug Austin