May 18, 2019 / Trailblazers’ Ristl wins NJCAA Division I shot put national championship

Silas Ristl photo

HOBBS, N. M.  -  Vincennes University freshman Silas Ristl won the men’s shot put national championship at the NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday.

Ristl, who is from Ulm, Germany, won the national title with a mark of 58 feet, 5 ¼ inches (17.81 meters) at Ross Black Track.

“I’m really happy,” he said. “I really wanted to win. It felt good to stand on the podium. It was a tough competition and really warm. I figured out how to throw there. I stayed focused.”

Ristl entered the event as the No. 3 seed.

He threw down the gauntlet by unleashing his winning throw on his second attempt.

“I told him these guys are pretty good, but if you could send a message mentally early, it will press,” VU Track and Field Coach Randy Heisler said.

“It was his day. He was ready to compete and had a number of really good throws that were slight fouls. They were very good and much farther than he actually threw in the meet. It set the tone. I think the other guys saw that no matter what they were going to do, Silas was probably going to respond. He had the lead from his second throw and then he led the whole way.”

On his second attempt, Ristl’s main concern was to make sure he didn’t foul.

“I just wanted to have a safe throw,” he said. “Then I tried to throw farther.”

Ristl put together amazing seasons both outdoors and indoors.

On Wednesday, Ristl was named the Men’s Field Event Athlete of the Year for the Atlantic Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

At the NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March, Ristl placed third in the shot put and was also named Men’s Field Event Athlete of the Year for the Midwest Region

Ristl expects it will take a few days for it to sink in that he’s a national champion.

“I worked hard for it. I worked hard every day. Our goal was to win and we did it. I was kind of unhappy in discus (on Friday). So I tried to be really focused to do what I can.  I knew how the ring felt because we practiced one time on it and it was a big advantage for me.”

Heisler has coached at VU for less than a year and already has a national champion, who joined the program midway through the academic year.

“I’ve coached a long time and have had national champions at the NCAA level,” Heisler said. “We found Silas in December and he came in January. I thought he threw really well today. I’m really excited for him and the whole team. It was a good experience for everybody.  Having so many freshmen and having so many coming back, I’m excited.”


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MARCIA MARTINEZ, Sports Information Director & University Life Reporter
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VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations,