By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With indoor season over, the men's track and field team is left with the first indoor national champion since 1990, sophomore David Lucas.
Lucas won the weight throw title at the national championship at Texas A&M on March 10th. Lucas beat the runner-up by over three feet, throwing a new school record and a new facility record of 78'-9.75".
"It's super exciting. It's been 28 years since Penn State's won an indoor men's track and field individual title. I'm super excited to be able go down to Texas and compete and bring us back this national title back for Penn State," Lucas said.
Throws coach, Lucais MacKay, is excited that one his athletes brought home a national title this season.
"It feels really fulfilling, especially with David and the weight because it's kinda from ground up," MacKay said.
Going forward, Lucas learned a lot this indoor season, and he knows that this mark will help him transition into the outdoor season.
"You can't end the indoor season with any more momentum than winning an individual title," Lucas said. "I think that I learned a lot about competing this indoor season, learning how to channel anxiety and all the energy of the competition in a really efficient way to throw my absolute best. I'm hoping to take those same skills that I learned in the indoor season and translate that into how we move into outdoor."
"I think him understanding what competition is about and that it's an opportunity to compete. I hope that messages carry through because that's what we accomplished," MacKay said. "He's a really good athlete, so if it translates to the discus and the hammer and possibly the shot put then so be it."
As for outdoor season compared to indoor, the throwers switch from throwing the weight throw and shot put to throwing hammer, discus, shot and maybe even javelin. Lucas's best event is usually the discus, and he has high hopes of repeating a national title in that event.
"Things like that are always in the back of your mind. Performing at the high level meets and consistently doing that, I think there's definitely something to back up coming from indoor," Lucas said. "I'm comfortable with that level and pressure and having a target on my back. I think I'm just going to roll into shot, and the discus, and the hammer all outdoors and really just get things going from the start and keep building from there throughout the season."
Transitioning from the indoor season to the outdoor season is always tough for the athletes due to the change in events and the change in the weather. In State College it is especially difficult to make that transition due to the weather inconsistency.
"It takes a little while. You have to kind of put the disc on the backburner for at least a month or so of the indoor season. So, it takes a little while to get that going. Obviously with our weather patterns in Central Pennsylvania we aren't outside seven days a week right now or even five days a week," MacKay said.
This is Lucas's second season working alongside MacKay, and he feels that MacKay has prepared him for the level of competition he sees at meets. He is looking forward to MacKay's coaching style as they prepare for the outdoor season.
"I think that he and I really understand how I respond as an athlete and learning how he coaches and building a really good relationship that he and I have," Lucas said.
"Moving forward and trying to replicate the success, he and I sat down and mapped out how the training plan was going to be and how we are going to progress throughout the season," Lucas added. "I'm just going to trust in the training and continue to go through the motions and the same process, kinda like what we did in indoors and then try to peak in a similar manner for outdoors. I want to go and have some fun with the season."