Mitchell Departs For NCAA Outdoor Championships
ALBANY, N.Y. – After earning his place in the championship field, University at Albany freshman Adrian Mitchell will finally make the trip to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the men's javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Mitchell is the only Great Dane to qualify for the meet this season.
“Adrian may be the only freshman in our history to qualify for nationals,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives. “The javelin is an event that's real technical, and an event where you get stronger as you go, so he's really at the start of his career. And he really wants to compete and do well, it's a tremendous opportunity for him.”
Mitchell earned his spot by placing 11th in his event at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships. The top 12 in each event at East and West Prelims advance to outdoor championships.
As a javelin thrower, Mitchell does not compete during the indoor season. In his first meet as a Great Dane, the Spring Break Classic in Puerto Rico in March, Mitchell threw his way into the record books with the second-best javelin mark in program history, 215-03.00, to win the event. Mitchell next competed at the Florida Relays, where he placed seventh, improving on his best mark by more than four feet, 219-10.00.
“Adrian, with the help of one of our alumna, Veleisha Walker, reached out to us over the summer,” said Vives. “I looked him up and saw he was already competing at a regional level, and that's where we're looking to go as a program. Even though he's a one-event athlete, doesn't compete indoors, he's already a regional-caliber competitor.”
Mitchell's best throw of the season came in his third meet, the Beach Invitational out in California. He placed seventh once again, this time in 227-02.00. He now sat just over two feet behind the school record of 229-10.00 set in 2007 by Marc Pallozzi.
Though Mitchell would not exceed his best throw for the remainder of the season, he did place seventh in the championship division of the men's javelin at the Penn Relays, and he would go on to win the event at the America East Outdoor Championships the following week.
“Adrian is fully committed,” said Vives. “He's fully in, both academically and athletically. He's soft-spoken, he's quiet, not super verbal, but you can tell he shows up to compete.”
Last year at Outdoor Championships, Matthew Campbell and Grace Claxton earned All-America First Team and Second Team honors respectively. Campbell placed seventh in the men's high jump and Claxton placed ninth in the women's 400m hurdles. The pair would qualify for this season's NCAA Indoor Championships, where both would earn All-America Second Team honors, in the men's high jump and the women's 400m, respectively.
“Everything for Adrian is for the first time,” said Vives. “They go to Penn Relays in Jamaica, but everything else, every other meet, every part of the country he travels to, is brand new for him. But he's taking it well. There's no substitute for experience, and this is the highest level a collegiate athlete can compete in. That experience is going to bode well for him for the future. We don't know what his capabilities are, but he's a person who shows up every time and does what he needs to do to compete.”
Overall, Mitchell ranks 30th in Division I in the men's javelin, and is seeded 23rd in the championship field of 24. The men's javelin is scheduled to compete on Wednesday, June 7 at 5:45 p.m. Pacific (8:45 p.m. Eastern).
“We're real proud of Adrian,” said Vives. “And people like Matthew have taken him under their wing and helped him adjust. It makes it easier when you have people around from the same country or who have the same experience. He has the support from his teammates, they're all excited about what he's doing and representing. They love having one of their teammates still active this late in the season.”