Bartlett breaks own school record in final competition at Nationals
Caleb Bartlett had the throw of his life in his final competition for Shippensburg University.
Bartlett reached the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Florida on May 26 after a stellar spring season. He had missed the first part of the season with an ankle injury, but made up for lost time with a strong second half.
Bartlett competed in the hammer throw – his signature event– and was the only Raider representing SU on Thursday. He did not disappoint, finishing sixth in the hammer with a throw of 204 feet, 2 inches. It was Bartlett’s new PR, earned on the last throw of his collegiate career.
For the second year in a row, Bartlett earned a spot on the All-America team. This year, however, he was named to the first team. Bartlett was on the second team after finishing 10th at last year’s nationals. Before nationals this year, Bartlett said that one of his goals was to make the All-America First Team and he accomplished it with his best throw.
Before his record-breaking throw, Bartlett already owned the Shippensburg school record in the hammer throw with a distance of 200 feet, 6 inches – a mark he achieved last season. He smashed this former record on his fifth throw of the day. Bartlett entered the meet optimistic, and put up the result that he had been hoping for.
“I had been throwing 200 in practice pretty consistently, so I knew if I had some adrenaline I’d be on,” he said.
Bartlett had missed out on the 200-feet mark up until this point this season after hitting it last season, and he was disappointed about it. Hitting 199 feet in his first throw at nationals to reach the finals gave him a confidence boost, as it was his season best.
Bartlett graduated this semester as a criminal justice major, Summa Cum Laude. Before nationals, he said he was completely focused on putting his best efforts in for the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) Championships and then the NCAA Championships and that he had not put a lot of thought into what he wanted to do for a profession. He said he is not entirely sure as to what he wants to do now that he is out of college, but he is thinking about applying to join a fire station in Maryland starting in February.
Bartlett will be remembered in the Raiders’ record books for his impressive new record. Future athletes in the hammer throw will have a mountain to climb to try and claim the title from Bartlett. That mountain was already there before Thursday, but it just got three feet taller.