Among the giants, Quentin Benning is at ease.
The Friends senior, who is first in the KCAC in shot put and javelin, doesn’t flinch when he competes against athletes that tower over him or outweigh him by up to 80 pounds.
“Size ain’t really something that worries me,” said Benning, who is 5-foot-8 and 220 pounds. “I’m the strongest dude out there. A lot of (not worrying about size)comes from football and high school wrestling.
“There’s no intimidation factor. Doesn’t exist.”
Benning has spent his four years at Friends backing up such talk. A two-time All-KCAC fullback for the football team, his season-best throw of 52 feet, 1¾ inches in the shot put ranks him eighth nationally and has qualified him for the national tournament for the third straight year.
As far as strength, he has recorded a max bench of 445 pounds and a max squat of 665 pounds.
“He’s one of the hardest-working athletes I’ve worked with in my 23 years of coaching,” Friends throws coach Billy Beard said. “He’s a very good listener and he pays attention to everything I teach him and show him … and more importantly, he really knows how to compete.”
“He doesn’t let anything hold him back from being the best he can be … and anytime he steps in those rings to throw, he’s there to win. I’ll really miss having him around.”
Benning was named the NAIA’s national outdoor field athlete of the week last Wednesday after he won the shot put, javelin and hammer and took second in discus at the Friends Enduro Classic. H
The San Antonio, Texas, native missed the national indoor meet because he was at a pro football combine in New Jersey.
The Falcons compete in the K.T. Woodman Classic this weekend at Wichita State.
“He’s kind of struggled the last two years at nationals, and we’re hoping he puts it all together this year,” Friends head coach Brad Peterson said. “The goal is to be ranked in the top eight and to be an All-American.”
Also important to Benning is helping Friends break the Southwestern men’s streak of 28 consecutive KCAC outdoor track and field championships.
“We all talk about that, we want to break that streak, however long it is,” Benning said. “We beat everybody in indoor by something like 40 points, so the way we look at is they’re adding events that are going to help us.”