Clarke wins outdoor shot put national title

Capping off a spectacular junior year, Jordan Clarke brought home another national championship for the ASU track and field program Saturday.

Adding to the indoor shot put title he won earlier this spring, Clarke defended his crown on the fourth day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Clarke headed into the final round in fourth place before throwing a personal best 66 feet (20.4 meters) on his first throw, beating Auburn sophomore Stephen Saenz by over two feet and clinching the title.

“There were more expectations for me (being a defending champion) than the other people, but I just made it fun like a game,” Clarke said. “I was just trying to avoid the pressure from others. I was just happy I was able to pull it together and got my third one,” Clarke said.

With his second title in the outdoor shot put, Clarke positioned himself in several historic feats. He becomes the 15th shot put champion to win the outdoor event back-to-back, and is just the fifth Sun Devil to win three or more national championships. His outdoor title gave ASU its third national title this year. Clarke’s title-winning throw also moved him to third on ASU’s all-time list.

Clarke’s victory in Des Moines extended ASU’s shot put national title streak to four, which was started by Ryan Whiting’s back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.

With one year left in his collegiate career, Clarke isn’t planning to slow down and hopes he can further rewrite history. Until then, Clarke plans to compete in the American Olympic trials in hopes of competing in London in the summer.

“I’m going to try and get the next two, so hopefully I can keep training smart and hard like I can and make little jumps at a time,” Clarke said. “I think it would be pretty cool to break a collegiate record and try to throw it around 70 feet.

“There’s definitely been a lot of improvement from me, and it’s going to be nice to look back and reflect, but I have to get ready for next year.”

Reach the reporter at jnacion@asu.edu