Anderson excels in the hammer during college

A former high school thrower supreme is also finding success at the college level. Tyler Anderson, a 2010 graduate of Lovell High School, has continued his track and field career as a freshman at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

Anderson, the son of Jerry and Terri Anderson of Lovell, is majoring in CAD/CAM engineering technology at SUU and enjoyed his year throwing for the Thunderbirds.

After a high school career that included three state titles in the discus and one state title in both indoor and outdoor shot put, Anderson has worked hard to adjust to the college competition under the tutelage of SUU throwing coach Nathan Ott. With the move to the “next level” the shot increased from 12 pounds in high school to 16 pounds in college, the discus increased from 1.6 kilograms to 2 kg and the indoor weight, which he threw a few times in high school, has gone from 25 pounds to 35. Anderson is also throwing the 16-pound hammer outdoors.

After concluding his high school career, Anderson lifted weights last summer, then started heavy training two or three weeks into school, lifting and throwing. Indoor track ran from January to March, outdoor from March through May.

In indoor track, Anderson competed in the shot put (really his third event, he said), as well as the 35-pound weight throw.

“I did all right, not as good as I wanted to,” Anderson said. “The coach said as a team we were more focused on the outdoor season.”

Anderson’s best indoor throws were 45-9 in the shot put and 50-11 in the weight throw.

Meanwhile, Anderson kept training in the hammer, his top outdoor event, and when the outdoor season started he got off to a strong start with a throw of 173-7 at the UNLV Classic on March 5, good for first place.

Anderson set a new personal record in the hammer at the Utah Valley University meet on April 1 with a throw of 178-10, placing second, and the throw qualified him for the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., on April 15. There, Anderson placed 15th in the hammer with a throw of 182-11 as SUU competed against the likes of Texas, USC, Arizona and Arizona State.

Mid-May found Anderson and his SUU teammates competing at the Summit League conference track and field meet in Sioux Falls, S.D., hosted by South Dakota State University. He placed third in the hammer with a throw of 184-11, a personal record, and the throw was just 10 inches from the freshman record at SUU.

He was also hoping to qualify for the NCAA Regionals in Eugene, Ore., but he barely missed the cut. The top 48 throwers qualified for the regional meet, and Anderson finished 49th, he said.

“It was nice to make it that close,” Anderson said. “That’s what our goal was. The coaches and I sat down at the beginning of the year (to set goals). We didn’t think I would reach 180, but when I threw 173 in the first meet, we upped it (the goal).”

Anderson said he didn’t fare as well in his second event, the discus, even though most athletes drop about 30 feet from high school to college due to the increased weight of the discus.

“I kind of struggled with it,” he said, “not just because of the weight but I had to learn a different form, too.”

His best throw was 147-11 at the Utah Valley University meet, and his best throw in high school had been 173-3, he said.

In the shot put, his third event, Anderson placed eighth at the conference meet with a throw of 47-3, and his best throw was 47-5 at a meet in Pomona, Calif.

Anderson is now home for the summer working at American Colloid, and he has been called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Chile Concepcion Mission for two years. He will depart on Aug. 31.

SUU has promised to hold his scholarship over, and he plans to return to school in the fall of 2013. By that time, he noted, SUU will be a member of the Big Sky Conference, competing against the likes of the University of Montana and Montana State University Bozeman.

By David Peck