Metts misses NCAA meet by two positions

Junior's season completion of incredible journey

March 5, 2012

Mason Metts established himself among the nation's elite this season.

Mason Metts established himself among the nation's elite this season.

Mason Metts will not enter the shot put circle at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship in Grinnell, Iowa, Saturday, but the junior has already completed a journey that didn’t seem possible a year ago.

Metts (Pomeroy/Meigs) opened his collegiate career by breaking the WC indoor shot put record as a freshman.

“My freshman year, I came in at a solid 230 pounds, and I felt that I was going to be a force to be reckoned with. I had a semi-OK season, but I knew I could throw it farther,” Metts said.

All seemed well as Metts opened his sophomore season with a string of shot put wins. The roll was about to come to an abrupt halt.

“Soon after winter break, I noticed that I started losing weight. I thought that a weight regimen that I was on was doing really well. I was becoming stronger and stronger, but halfway through the indoor season, my strength let off. I found out that I had a disease that caused my thyroid to just completely shut down. That caused me to lose 60 pounds. Through regulation with medicine, I got back up to 180 by the end of outdoor season and hit a big PR at 180 pounds. My form was spot-on and I hit the PR at the lowest weight I had ever competed.”

Metts, who is now a chiseled 205 pounds, has been a machine this indoor season, twice breaking his own team record — including a 53-7 bomb at the Capital Classic that put him alongside the nation’s top throwers. The effort was the 15th-best in the nation this season and missed qualifying Metts for the NCAA Championship by two positions.

“I felt it coming and I know I’ve got more,” Metts said. “This season I was totally regulated and totally healthy. I came back hungrier than I’ve ever been. I hit the weight room as hard as I can and I’m throwing as hard as I can. It’s a total mental thing. Once you reach the rock bottom, all you can do is look up to find where you can go.”

Metts did not make his journey alone. Along for the ride was assistant coach Jake Clark.

“Jake has done phenomenal things with me and my situation to work out my strengths, to get my muscle memory back. I’m more explosive than I’ve ever been,” Metts said. “I take it a step at a time. As I’m gaining a little bit of weight, I have to do more foot-quickness drills to make sure that I’m keeping my feet as nimble as possible while gaining weight.”

Metts’ season was filled with highlights, including All-OAC honors in both the shot put and weight throw.

“Mason was so consistent. He didn’t have a down meet,” Wilmington head coach Ron Combs said. “He went over 49 feet one time last year, and he wasn’t below 50 feet in a meet since mid-January. He worked really hard and climbed into a different category of thrower. He was a good thrower — and now is becoming a great thrower. It’s fun to watch that transition happen.”

Back from rock bottom, Metts said he was disappointed by not making the NCAA meet, but was not interested in lamenting the near miss.

“Going to nationals would have been the cherry on top,” Metts said. “I’m proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. I’ve been with throwers that have found that it’s hard to get back from injuries or adversity. I have fought harder than I ever have. I’m proud of myself for what I’ve done.”