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Chilliwack athlete wins NCAA national title, eyes Paris Olympic Games

Hamilton is UC Berkely's first hammer throw winner in 102 years
Rowan Hamilton throwing a hammer while competing at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, OR. on Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Chilliwack’s Rowan Hamilton cruised his way to the title in the hammer throw last Wednesday, at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, OR.

The former Sardis Secondary athlete threw a personal-best 77.18 metres to pick up his first NCAA title, adding to the three collegiate championships he’d collected during his time at the University of British Columbia.

With this most recent win, Hamilton became the Golden Bears’ first men’s individual track and field winner in 13 years, and the first hammer throw champion the school has had since 1922. 

Despite his personal-best throw placing him eighth all-time on the collegiate list, it fell just 1.2 metres shy of the automatic qualification distance needed for the upcoming Olympic Summer Games in Paris. 

There’s still room for optimism though as Hamilton currently occupies the 21st spot among the 32 places available on the Canadian Olympic roster for the hammer throw. Nine have already achieved that qualification standard including Ethan Katzberg of Nanaimo – the Canadian record holder who topped Olympic qualifying with a world-leading throw of 84.38 metres – and Victoria’s Adam Keenan. 

“For so long, I've wanted to become an Olympian, even if I wasn't sure in what sport,” said Hamilton. “Now, to see it becoming a possibility for me, it's just such an exciting point in my life to see that dream becoming more realistic.”

The 2018 Sardis grad began his post-secondary career with the Thunderbirds, competing for them for the first three seasons of his eligibility. Due to missed seasons as a result of COVID-19, Hamilton had a remaining year of eligibility heading into the 2024 season where he decided to take his talents south of the border and compete with the University of California Berkeley Golden Bears. 

Hamilton will now look to better what was the 16th-best hammer throw in the world this year as he looks ahead to the Harry Jerome Track Classic. The event will be held at McLeod Stadium in Langley from June 15-16. 

Stefan Luciani

About the Author: Stefan Luciani

Before joining the team here at the Chilliwack Progress in spring 2024, I was a story editor for TSN in Toronto and digital journalist.
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