MANHATTAN — It was hard to miss Sam Humphreys during the first day of the outdoor Big 12 Track and Field championships on Friday.
Even with fans still trickling into R.V. Christian Track Complex and with their eyes split on other events such as the women’s heptathlon and the men’s decathlon, everyone seemed to stop what they were doing when the Texas A&M junior threw the javelin.
Humphreys, a two-time defending conference champion, fed off the added attention.
“I could feel it,” Humphreys said. “You get the adrenaline in you and you just get going. You want to throw it as hard as you can.”
On his first attempt, he shattered both stadium and Big 12 records.
“It was just amazing,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I hit everything right, but it just took off.”
On his second attempt, he further showed off his strength by posting a personal-best distance of 259 feet, 1 inch. He won going away. Now he is a three-time defending conference champion.
His closest competitor, teammate Devin Bogert, came in at 222-10. Kansas sophomore Johannes Swanepoel finished third with a throw of 216-1. When asked if Humphreys was a tough act to follow, all they could do was shrug.
“I’ve thrown against him a lot,” Swanepoel said. “It doesn’t really bother me anymore. I don’t try to compete against other people, just myself. He’s always been good and has a strong arm and has thrown very far. I’m happy for him.”
Swanepoel said he had higher hopes, and left with a disappointing arm injury. But he enjoyed competing close to home and in front of his brother, who is a student at K-State. He hopes for more at the regional competition.
Same goes for Humphreys, who considered trying for another record throw, but opted out of his final two throws with his health in mind.
“I had to force my coach to let me throw that very last one,” Humphreys said with a smile. “He told me after the prelims to shut it down and I said, ‘No, I’ve got one more meter to go. Just let me get that one meter. I didn’t get it.’ He was like, ‘You’ve got other meets to worry about. You’ve got regionals and nationals coming up. Don’t kill yourself here.’ So I listened to him.”
Humphreys hopes to train throughout the summer and eclipse the 270-foot mark with his throws. He thinks his performance Friday could provide some momentum toward that goal.
If he can pull it off, he figures he will end up on the biggest stage his sport has to offer.
“Hopefully I can go to the Olympics,” Humphreys said. “that was the farthest I’ve thrown ever. This year is the year I’ve trained really hard for so I’m hoping. Anything can happen. My shot to go is now.”
Vollmer, Krais still in heptathlon mix — Kansas freshman Lindsay Wollmer and K-State senior Ryann Krais got off to solid starts in the women’s heptathlon. Both are in contention to win the event today.
Wollmer sits in third with 3,326 points and Krais is one spot behind with 3,317 points.
They will try to overtake Previous Nwokey of Texas, who leads with 3,431 points today. Remaining events include the long jump, the javelin throw and the 800 meters.
Krais will also try to win the 400-meter hurdles today.
Kirielius shining in decathlon — With another strong day, K-State junior Tomas Kirielius could earn himself a conference championship in the decathlon. Kirielius scored 3,960 points on Friday, and sits in second behind Isaac Murphy of Texas. Kirielius surged up the leaderboard on Friday thanks to a high jump of more than 6 feet, 8 inches.