Geneva, Ohio – Transylvania men's track and field senior Graham Smith made history for the Transylvania track and field program on Thursday evening, finishing as the national runner-up in the men's javelin finals at the 2019 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field National Championships at the SPIRE Institute.
Making his debut at the national championships in what also served as the final competition of his collegiate career, Smith put on an unparalleled display, finishing in second place in the championship event with a PR throw of 63.44 meters to complete his two-year career at Transylvania as an All-American.
Taking on a field of 19 other competitors, Smith and his peers each attempted three throws in the preliminary rounds in a bid to become one of nine student-athletes to advance to finals. Competing in the second flight of 10 throwers, Smith's initial throw went 58.52 meters, serving as the fourth-longest throw across both flights.
While the senior's second throw did not exceed his first, his initial throw stood as the fifth-longest through the first two rounds. With two more athletes exceeding his initial throw to push him into seventh place as his final turn arrived, Smith left nothing to question in the third and final round of preliminaries, stamping his ticket into the finals with a career-best throw of 63.44 meters to obliterate his previous PR, set last week at North Central College, by over two meters.
Smith's 63.44-meter throw stood as the longest throw through three rounds as he advanced to finals to face eight other competitors.
Smith mustered a 61.69-meter throw in the first of three tosses in finals as he looked to top his final throw of preliminaries, which also counted towards the final marks. Smith's fifth throw went 59.61 meters and his last attempt went 56.66 meters, leaving the 63.44-meter throw as his best mark for the day, as well as his career.
Smith's 63.44-meter throw was surpassed only by UMass-Dartmouth's Jordan Entwistle, who threw a 64.27-meter toss on his first attempt of finals. Entwistle's throw bumped Smith into the second position, but Smith's third throw of the day ensured the Transylvania senior a runner-up finish.
By finishing in the top-eight in the event, Smith gained All-American status, becoming the second Transylvania track and field student-athlete in program history to earn All-American honors, following in the footsteps of Jordin Fender '17, who achieved All-American status three times over her career.
Smith is the first Transylvania track and field male athlete ever to earn All-American status as well as the first Pioneer to become an All-American in the javelin event.
Smith also recorded the third top-two finish in a national championship event by a Pioneer track and field athlete, following Fender's runner-up finishes in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2017 Indoor National Championships and 100-meter hurdles at the 2017 Outdoor National Championships, the latter also occurring at the SPIRE Institute.
Smith's career-best performance capped off a spectacular 2019 season for the senior which witnessed Smith repeat as the conference champion in the men's javelin, earn Pioneer Male Athlete of the Year honors at the 2019 RAFY awards, and concluded with Smith becoming the first Track and Field student-athlete under second-year head coach Taylor Throckmorton to achieve All-American status.
Smith wrapped up his 2019 season by setting a new PR in three consecutive meets, culminating with Thursday's national championships.
The 63.44-meter throw by Smith also stands as the fourth-longest throw of the season in Division III men's javelin. Only two men in Division III threw a further distance than Smith's Thursday throw in 2019.
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