Men’s track co-captain Chris Clever’s undefeated season full of personal bests and meet records had to come to an end sooner or later.
Unfortunately for Clever, the run ended a meet too soon. He placed ninth in the javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. on Wednesday with a performance of 67.82 meters.
The ninth-place finish was an improvement over his 14th-place finish at NCAAs for each of the previous two years. But Clever, who had been ranked fifth nationally based on his Heptagonal meet record performance of 74.06 meters, had been hoping for more.
“It definitely wasn’t my best day,” Clever said. “I could tell right from warm-ups that my technique wasn’t there.”
Clever was last among the 19 NCAA competitors after faulting on his first throw and then failing to break 60 meters on his second throw.
But facing elimination, Clever delivered a clutch 67.82-meter throw to move into ninth place, enough for him to earn a berth in the finals, All-American status and another three throws.
But Clever could not advance any further. John Steigeler of Oregon won the event with a Duck record 77.07-meter throw to please the hometown faithful of 4,000. Outside of Steigeler, the majority of competitors threw well short of their personal bests.
“Unfortunately, the distances weren’t great,” Clever said. “There was a strong headwind that hurt some more than others. I definitely had a chance to place much higher.”
Now that Clever’s collegiate career is over, he will face even tougher competition. His performance in meets this summer will determine how much of his future he will dedicate to throwing. Clever was a U.S. Olympic Trial competitor in 2000.
“I’m still going to throw at U.S. Nationals and at some meets in Finland and Sweden and see how I progress,” Clever said. “That might change how seriously I throw.”
Despite the defeat at NCAAs, Clever still had a strong season. He remains the Penn Relays champion, the IC4A champion, and the three-time defending Heptagonal champion.
“I had a great season,” Clever said. “I PRd week after week. Hopefully I’ll continue to throw well, and learn from NCAAs.”