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
“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
“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
“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
“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.”