ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
by Lucas Pauley
On Saturday April 3 Senior Dan Higgins broke the school record for javelin with a toss of 208’7 at the Washington Invitational in St. Louis, Mo. Breaking the record was bittersweet for Higgins because the record had been held by his coach, Roger Haynes, who set the record in 1982. The record granted Higgins the title of Midwest Conference Men’s Field Performer of the Week.
“It was hard to break my own coach’s record but it was an amazing feeling to be able to break a record that has stood for so long,” Higgins said.
Higgins has been constantly improving over the past three years. In 2008 and 2009, Higgins was the javelin conference champion. He also qualified for nationals the past two years by a process of provisional qualifying, but did not get to go. Even so, after struggling with an injury to his left oblique all of the 2009 season, Higgins recorded a 193’8, which was his personal best at the time.
Higgins returned to Monmouth in January to student teach at West Central Middle School in Biggsville, Ill. Because Higgins had not completed all his years of athletic eligibility Higgins knew that he had a chance to improve on the progress he had made over the past two years. “I realized I was here for a reason so I might as well take full advantage of the opportunity,” Higgins said.
Higgins has enjoyed his time at West Central this semester, where he is student teaching the physical education classes for the middle school. Balancing the tasks of being a student teacher and a student athlete has proved to be an interesting adjustment to his life at home.“It has definitely been a challenge. I wake up at 6:30 in the morning and I usually don’t get back to my down until 7 at night. But I find myself having fun the whole time,” Higgins said.
Once Higgins knew that he was returning to school he began to watch a lot of film of Olympic javelin throwers and worked hard to improve his concentration while on the field. The preparation has paid off for Higgins, but he has had his sights set on more than just breaking the conference record.
“I am feeling really confident right now and hope to break my own record and hopefully go to nationals and do even better,” Higgins said.
Higgins, who is currently third in the nation for the javelin throw, says he is going to continue to prepare just as he has been doing all season.
I just want to focus even more on my concentration as I prepare for the rest of the season and nationals,” Higgins said.
With his throw this past weekend Higgins has automatically qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships which begin on Saturday, May 27 in Berea, Ohio.