From May of 2016 to now would be more appropriately referred to simply as “The Era of Rudy.”
In that span, Cornell men’s track and field senior thrower Rudy Winkler has led his team to an Outdoor Ivy Heps title (nearly a second this past month), competed in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, traveled to Texas to compete in indoor NCAAs this past March, was named The Sun’s top senior male athlete of the year and graduated from an Ivy League university.
And to cap it all off, on Wednesday he became the fourth Cornellian in program history to secure a national championship in at NCAAs in Eugene, Ore. Competing in his third straight national championships and dealing with injury, Winkler persevered and hurled for a whopping 243 feet, 2 inches in the hammer throw — nearly two feet more than the next competitor.
— ESPNU (@ESPNU) June 8, 2017
First Champion of #ncaaTF…
With a heave of 243-2, Rudy Winkler wins his first National Championship! pic.twitter.com/i9zBPdW9Qq
— NCAA Track & Field (@NCAATrackField) June 8, 2017
“I’m finally getting to the point where I can compete with it and feel good competing, but it’s still not quite there,” Winkler told the Associated Press on his recovery from injury.
Injury or not, Winkler is still a champion. The golden throw came in the final first-round attempt for Winkler. Along with a national championship, the throw grants him first-team All-American honors in the hammer throw, as well as the fifth All-American award for his career.
Winkler joins Charlie Moore (1949 – 440-yard run; 1951 220-yard hurdles), Rayon Taylor (2007 triple jump) and Muhammad Halim (2008 triple jump) as Cornellians who have secured national championships in track and field. Halim and Winkler both competed in Rio the previous summer, though neither medalled.
Winkler was not the lone Cornellian at NCAAs. Senior runner James Gowans placed 17th overall in the 1,500 with a time of 3:45.387 in his heat. It was not enough to qualify the New York native for finals.