Sixty-six meters. Right around the length of five and a half school buses. That’s what it takes for Jacob Armbrust to qualify for the Olympic trials this summer in discus throwing.
Armbrust, a senior at Olivet Nazarene University, began throwing when he was 10 years old and found an old metal disc in the garage. He has now broken multiple records and ranked second in all college divisions.
Armbrust’s recording breaking throw last year as a junior, 63.17 meters, is now the second longest throw in the history of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA).
Arbrust broke Olivet’s school record by nearly six meters and has the longest discus throw by a college athlete in the state of Illinois. He is leading NAIA’s Power Ranking Points and was the only representative to compete at the 2015 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championship.
The 2016 summer Olympic trials will take the top 18 throwers from all over the U.S. If Armbrust throws over the 66 meter qualifying distance, he will automatically qualify for the trials.
[Armbrust] leads by example by always exerting his all 120 percent of the time. I believe he has everything it takes for him to qualify for the Olympic trials. –Senior Amy Buckler
Three athletes are selected to go to the Olympic Games from there, but if one of the top three throwers at the trials has not thrown the 66 meters, the next athlete in the top eight who has made that distance will be selected, Armburst said.
Armbrust has the whole season to meet the trials distance requirement. There is a chance he could compete this summer without automatically qualifying if he is ranked in the top 18 throwers in the U.S., but his goal is to meet the qualifying distance this season.
“I don’t want to go into this year thinking, you know, I’m satisfied with that 59 meter [throw at the 2015 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships]. I mean, I’m still hungry and I want more,” Armbrust said. His goal is to place in the top eight at trials.
The throwing team is currently searching for a new coach. Former track and field assistant coach Matt Adams left Armbrust with a training plan to continue throughout the season while the team is going through this transition.
“The amount of support I get from this school is incredible,” Ambrust said with a smile.
“Being on the team with [Armbrust] is so fun but also intimidating because he is such a good athlete. His leadership is definitely encouraging and it’s pretty cool that I get to train with someone who might be going to the Olympic trials,” freshman thrower Holly Spencer said.
–Rachel Schramm, contributing writer