Going into the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Penn junior Sam Mattis (East Brunswick, NJ) wasn’t in the discussion or form charts of possibly winning or placing in the top 8 in the discus throw final. Those track and field “experts” were soon proven wrong though as Mattis kept unleashing 200+ foot throws, ultimately settling into second place with one throw remaining. He saved his best throw for last, setting a new personal best of 205-00 to set a new school record, tie the second best mark in Ivy League history, and claim the national title. His celebration of jumping into his father’s arms was one of the iconic images from the meet and was shown during the ESPN NCAA coverage.
But we members of HepsNation knew that Mattis was a force to be reckoned with. He was throwing 200+ ft throws at the 2015 Outdoor Heps – a championship first – to defend his conference title for the third straight year by setting a new Outdoor Heps meet record of 202-07. Mattis is on track to becoming the first man to win four discus titles at a Outdoor Heps Championships as previously, freshmen were not allowed to compete at Heps so a four-peat was not possible. Right now, Mattis is one of seven men who have won three straight titles.
The Outdoor Heps title defense did not come easy, as conference rival and friend Stephen Mozia of Cornell – the conference record holder in the event – was also proving he can throw past 200 feet with the discus. It was a heated battle, according to proud parent Marlon Mattis, where in the end Mozia had to settle for second place with a best toss of 200-09. You need to read Marlon’s account of the battle – it sounded fierce.
Mattis earned a second national honor over the summer – USTFCCCA National Field Scholar Athlete of the Year. Mattis is the first Ivy man to win a Scholar Athlete of the Year honor, joining Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino and Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe as Scholar Athlete Ivy winners. Mattis also finished eighth at the USATF National Championships with a mark of 199-06.
Honorable Mention: Cornell’s Steven Mozia might not have been able to capture the magic that was his junior season, but he still went out on a high note. He defended his two Heps shot put titles, earned the Outdoor Heps Field MVP award, and qualified for both the NCAA Indoor & Outdoor Championships. Mozia became the fourth man in Ivy history to win 4 straight shot put titles and one of the first men to surpass 200-feet in the discus at a Heps championships.
photo by Kirby Lee of USA TODAY Sports