Historic Performance Lands Kent State Student a National Championship
Kent State University track and field's Danniel Thomas, from Westmoreland, Jamaica, captured the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Shot Put National Championship in historic fashion on June 8, throwing a career-best 19.15m (62' 10").
Thomas, the now nine-time All-American, dominated the competition to capture the feat she had been chasing since arriving at Kent State in 2012. With the victory, she becomes the first female national champion in the history of Kent State Athletics and fifth national champion for Kent State outdoor track and field.
"Words cannot explain it,” Thomas says. “You know that moment when the hard work finally pays off, there's nothing that can describe that feeling."
Thomas ousted her previous career-best mark of 18.49m (60' 8") three times on her way to a national championship. She threw 62' 2.25" on her third attempt, followed by 61' 9.5" on her fifth attempt, and then sealed the championship on her final attempt with a mark of 62' 10". All six of her throws in the competition would have won her the national championship.
"Coming into the competition, I was working on a lot of things, but as I came in, I just told myself to take everything out of my mind and be relaxed and let the technique work, and it paid off," Thomas says.
Thomas' top mark of 62' 10" is the second-best collegiate mark ever, an NCAA Outdoor Championship record, a Jamaican national record and a Kent State record.
"We're extremely proud of Danniel,” says Bill Lawson, director of track and field/cross country. “She was in complete control of the competition, and she just unleashed an unbelievable throw of 19.15 meters. It was one of the most impressive athletic performances I've seen in a really long time."
Thomas' time at the national championships did not end on June 8. She competed for a championship in the discus on June 10, capturing fourth-place at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.