Penn’s Sam Mattis had lofty expectations for his final season of collegiate eligibility. He enters this Spring as the defending NCAA champion in the discus throw, so he aims to defend his national title. While he is already one of the best discus throwers in conference history due to his three straight Outdoor Heps titles in the event, the honor of being the conference record holder had eluded him. An on top of that, Mattis wants to hit the 2016 Summer Olympic standard of 65.00 meters (213-03). He had flirted the 213-foot mark in practice, but at the end of the 2015 season, his all-time best was 205-00 that is tied for the second best in conference history.
Little did he know that he had the chance to earn all of that on his 22nd birthday in front of his family on his home throwing circle.
On Saturday’s Philadelphia Classic meet, Mattis took to his home throwing circle and released not just one, not two, but THREE marks that surpassed the 65 meter standard required for Olympic qualification.
His best throw was the first one – 67.45 meters or 221-03, over a 16 foot improvement that ranks not only the best in Ivy League history but also the 4th best mark in NCAA history. It also currently stands as the best mark in the world to date and the best distance by an American discus athlete since 2011. UPDATE – SuperTrackFan Jesse Squire did some research and shared the following on Twitter when we first posted this story.
According to my research, he’s now #6 U23 thrower in world history. https://t.co/TsCl0FbdYt
— Jesse Squire (@tracksuperfan) March 20, 2016
Mattis also set the 5th best NCAA ever mark on his final toss of the competition – 67.20 meters (which is shown in the video above).
Considering how he was hampered by a minor hand injury in his first meet of the season earlier this month (he won the discus at the USF Invitational with a 195-01 toss), this was quite a recovery.
On top of the discus win, Mattis also won the shot put with a 55-00 throw, a new outdoor best.
Some birthday present indeed.
We’ll recap the rest of the meet and weekend competition tomorrow.
photo by Marlon Mattis