FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Seniors Thomas Mardal of Florida and Louisville’s Makenli Forrest secure victories in the men’s and women’s weight throw competitions on Day 1 at the 2021 Division I Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, AR., on Thursday, March 11.
Mardal Wins NCAA Indoor Weight Throw Men’s Title
Nation leader Mardal got Florida off to a strong start on the men’s side when he captured the gold medal in the men’s weight throw after throwing 24.46 meters (80 feet, 3.75 inches) in his first attempt. He also had another huge attempt in the second round, heaving the 35-pound weight to 24.41m (80-1), which would have also won the gold medal.
That attempt took the lead early in the competition and he remained on top for the rest of the contest en route to winning his first NCAA crown. Mardal’s performance also broke his own school record, which he set two weeks ago at the 2021 SEC indoor championships. He also moved up to the third-best performer in collegiate history.
Israel Oloyede of Arizona made a push for the gold medal, but he came up short.
In the end, though, the junior transfer capped off his school record-breaking season with a runner-up finish, after throwing personal best mark of 23.79m.
“I’m extremely proud of him in terms of his overall development since he’s been here at Arizona,” said Head Coach Fred Harvey on the school’s website. “For him to progress to the level that he’s at right now is pretty spectacular. Just watching his whole demeanor this championship and through the season, this easily was his best overall competition in terms of his consistency.
“It was spectacular. His ability to be able to navigate through the things we had to deal with COVID and the uncertainty of competitions and staying true to the training plan, it really showed what he’s capable of.”
Manning Plater of Illinois close out his season with a bronze medal, following his 22.73m effort.
Forrest Lands Women’s NCAA Indoor Weight Throw Gold
Meanwhile, the women’s weight throw national crown went to Louisville’s Forrest after she used her final throw to send the implement to 23.26m (76-3.75). The feat marks the third NCAA Indoor Weight Throw title in program history and the first since 2010.
“It doesn’t feel real yet,” said Forrest on the Cardinal website. “I’ve always wanted to be national champion, but I just never expected to see the day. I’m really excited to call my parents and talk to them about it.
“I’m really excited to go back to campus and be with my teammates again. Today was a great competition, there were a lot of great girls out there, so I’m just excited to have competed against them and come out on top.”
Rachel Tanczos of Notre Dame ended with the silver medal after she threw 23.24m in the fourth round, while Ole Miss’ Shey Taiwo who did 22.94m.
Jasmine Mitchell of Ole Miss who entered the 2021 Division I Indoor Championships as the collegiate leader in the event, could only manage 22.89m for fourth place on Thursday.
The 2021 Division I Indoor Championships will continue on Friday’s second day with a live broadcast beginning at 2:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.