Altoona’s Carper places fourth in NCAA javelin

Altoona graduate Chris Carper earned All-American status during the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Saturday.

A year after finishing 19th during the championships, Carper finished fourth in the javelin with a throw of 71.19 meters.

Carper, a senior at Robert Morris, achieved the feat on his first throw.

“Since the beginning of my time at Robert Morris, all I wanted to do is get All-American,” Carper said. “I fulfilled that, so I’m really happy finishing up my career that way.”

Carper finished just 5 inches behind Navy’s Jay Stell, who finished third (233 feet, 11 inches to 233 feet, 6 inches).

“It was a big relief after that first big throw,” Carper said. “I think I just tried too hard after that.”

Oregon’s Sam Crouser won the javelin with a throw of 76.98 meters.

“To come here this year and take fourth after finishing 19th last year is just amazing,” Robert Morris assistant coach Nash Oven said. “He grew so much over the four years here, and he’s advanced himself every year.

“I’m excited to see what he can do after he leaves here, and I’m excited to see what he can potentially do for a U.S. team.”

Carper said his experience at this year’s event was much different than a season ago.

“I think being here last year gave me the experience that made it easier to come in and have a good throw right away,” Carper said. “It was a big relief, a lot of hard work paid off and I was really happy about it.”

Though his Robert Morris career has come to a close, Carper has plans to keep throwing the javelin.

“From here, I’ll train and gear up for the U.S. trials,” said Carper regarding the 2016 Olympics. “I’ll see what I can do in a year and a half to two years and take it from there.”

Fellow Blair County athlete Brian Leap, a Bellwood-Antis graduate, finished second-team All-American by taking 16th in the triple jump with a performance of 15.71 meters for Penn State. Nittany Lions teammate Steve Waithe finished fifth with a performance of 16.14 meters, earning himself All-American status.

Leap’s jump was a lifetime best.

“It feels pretty great; I came in and did what I wanted to do and had the best jump I’ve ever had,” Leap said. “I can’t be upset with that. It was incredible jumping at Hayward Field, the crowd was unbelievable, and it was really a blessing being able to compete with the nation’s gretest athletes.

“I think just work on getting stronger in the weight room, and hopefully next year I can get back and finish as a first-team All-American.”