On a warm Saturday in La Crosse, Wis., St. Thomas junior Eric Holst joined a select club in college athletics. Holst became the Tommies' first field-event national champion in 10 years as he won the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
His career-best heave of 211-4 is the ninth-best throw in Division III history.
It's the 19th outdoor NCAA championship for UST men's track and field and first since the Toms won the 4x100 and 4x400 relays in 2009. It's also the Tommies' first field-event crown since 2008 when Mark O'Connell won the hammer.
Holst (10 team points) and senior Connor O'Neill (four points in pole vault) helped the Toms score 14 team points and tie for 15th place. A third UST competitor on Saturday, junior Parker Rosenau, placed 10th in the steeplechase in 9:23.
As a raw freshman in 2016, Holst threw the hammer 120-10 for a season best. He jumped to 177-10 as a sophomore in 2017. Two weeks ago, he broke a 25-year-old St. Thomas school record with a toss of 204-9.
Saturday, the third-seeded Holst stormed into the lead with a 207-5 effort on his second throw. He eclipsed 211-0 and moved into the Division III all-time top 10 on his sixth and final attempt on the day.
A fifth-year senior, O'Neill cleared 16-4 3-4 on his third pole-vault try to claim All-America honors for the second time in his career. O'Neill also placed fifth at nationals as a freshman in 2014.