The Dynamic Throwing Duo Heads to NCAA Championships
March 13, 2014
Meet the Athletes
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The dynamic throwing duo of Curt Jensen and Akil Mills head southwest to Albuquerque, N.M., to compete in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, March 14-15, at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The men’s weight throw trials and finals are slated for 4 p.m. Friday, while the men’s shot put is set for Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Mills will represent the Redbirds for the second time at the NCAA Championships, finishing 12th in the weight throw in 2012. The Loganville, Ga., native has already competed this season in Lobos country, notching a personal-best mark with a heave of 21.13m (69-04.00). Following his personal-best mark at the Don Kirby Elite meet, Mills captured first-place at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships with a heave of 21.19m (69-06.25). With that throw, the senior earned the coveted Most Outstanding Male Field Athlete of the Year title.
This season alone, Mills has earned two Valley Athlete of the Week nods and seven consecutive top-three finishes, including four first-place finishes. He comes into this weekend’s tournament ranked 15th in the nation and is looking to earn All-American honors for the first time in his career.
“Akil has worked tremendously hard to be in this position again,” head track and field coach Elvis Forde said. “He was there a couple years ago, but an injury shortened his season. The work he has done this year is tremendous, and he has established so much confidence. He currently ranks in the top-15, and he is ready to make moves and become an All-American. I think when he has a goal like that, there is no reason he cannot achieve it.
Jensen is making his first appearance on the national stage, as he will represent ISU in the shot put. The Colona, Ill., native earned the best mark of his career in the first meet of the season. Jensen tossed his career-best mark of 20.29m (66-07.00) at the Eastern Illinois Early Bird Invite. With that throw, Jensen sat on top of the NCAA leaderboard for two months. The senior currently sits at No. 3 in the nation behind Ryan Crouser of Texas and Stephen Mozia of Cornell, heading into the championships.
Jensen has also earned seven consecutive top-three finishes, including five first-place finishes and four Valley Athlete of the Week honors. He finished first at the MVC Championships with a throw of 18.81m (61-08.50) and has set his sights on an NCAA title.
“The NCAA Track and Field Championships are one of the best competitions in the world, and Curt has put himself in a position to win,” Forde said. “I have no doubt he has trained hard enough, and he has believed in himself enough. He is a national caliber athlete. I am going to hope he keeps his adrenaline under control because he is going up against a good field, and expectations are high. I think he has what it takes to be a champion.”
Fans wanting to follow Mills and Jensen can do so at the conclusion of each day on www.GoRedbirds.com or on Twitter @ISU_Track_XC.
Live stats will also be available at www.flashresults.com.
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