Anderson puts it to NCAA champ

By Adam Riglian

Breaking school records has become a near-weekly event for senior Derek Anderson, who again set records this week at the 79th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, winning the shot put and defeating Florida State’s Garrett Johnson, the No. 1 rated thrower in the nation.

Anderson and freshman Nate Hunter were the two men representing the Huskies at the highly competitive national event. Anderson’s new shot put record now stands at 65 feet, 2.75 inches, which was good enough to win the meet by seven inches. Anderson defeated a top field of nationally-ranked shot putters, including Brian Robison of Texas, and Kevin Bookout, of Oklahoma.

“There’s not so much tension; all the athletes are on good terms,” Anderson said. “You get your feet wet at big meets like this, but I’ve been there before, so now I can use that intensity and focus to my advantage.”

The encore to Anderson’s record-setting shot put toss was a third place finish in the discus, where his throw of 194 feet, 5 inches broke his own school discus record. His sights are now set on the upcoming Colonial Athletic Association Outdoor Championships.

“I’m pretty confident,” Anderson said. “It is a pretty solid conference overall, but their throwing is weaker than the America East. I expect to walk out of that meet with two conference records.”

Coach Sherman Hart shares Anderson’s high expectations, believing he will be good for 34 points if not more in the CAA Outdoor Championships. He was equally fired up about his performance at the Texas Relays.

“I was impressed with Derek setting his performance records,” Hart said. “It was a huge crowd, the stadium was packed and Derek was on fire.”

Nate Hunter competed in the “B” flight at the relays, finishing 11th in the shot put with a throw of 53 feet, 7.5 inches. He had less success in the discus, where he fouled out.

“Nate performed well. He is ahead of Derek’s freshman pace and I wanted to expose him early,” Hart said.

The rest of the Huskies were competing at the UConn Invitational, but poor weather kept most of the athletes from competing.

“We rested a lot of people this week because of the bad weather. My one focus right now is to get to the conference meet healthy,” Hart said.

The only bright spots for the Huskies were senior Michael Couch and sophomore Mark Michelman, who both competed in events that were moved indoors.

“Hopefully, mother nature will cooperate this weekend so we can get our times down,” Hart said.

The Huskies are home next week for the Solomon Husky Invitational.

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