University of Kansas junior Egor Agafonov won the 2007 Men's Weight Throw National Championship Friday afternoon at Walker Pavilion in Fayetteville, Ark. The 2006 and 2007 Big 12 champion threw a career-best 77-05.25 feet (23.60 meters) to claim his first national championship.
"This is the biggest win of my life. I can't really describe how I am feeling right now," Agafonov said.
The meet was fraught with tension, as the competitors threw in near silence. On his second throw of the competition, Agafonov unfurled the career-best toss, enabling him to out-duel Auburn's Cory Martin for the nation's top weight thrower. The two had been gone back and forth all season for the nation's top mark. Martin finished second with a throw of 76-04.25 (23.29 meters).
"I was trying not to think too much about what had happened in the past," Agafonov said. "I knew I needed to throw a personal best to win the competition. I had thrown the distance in practice, but to do it in competition, at the national championships, is great."
Agafonov's Coach, Andy Kokhanovsky, felt exhilarated with the performance, as Agafonov utilized the strategy he and his coach had discussed prior to the competition.
"In a competition like this, you have to throw early to gain the mental edge and win," Kokhanovsky said. "Martin was really good all year and Egor and knew that he had to put pressure on him by coming out early and setting the tone of the competition."
Agafonov credited his coach with keeping him focused on his technique. "Coach has always helped me, especially with my technique, which is something I tend not to think about during competition," he said. "I am very grateful to him and the entire team for their support throughout the season."
Track and Field Head Coach Stanley Redwine echoed the thoughts of the national champion and his assistant coach on the impressive performance.
"The NCAA Championships represents the best of the best, and today Egor proved that he is the elite among the elite," Redwine said. "I am extremely proud of Egor and Coach Kokhanovsky for this tremendous accomplishment. It is a great day for them and the University of Kansas."
Agafonov becomes the first Jayhawk to capture an individual NCAA championship since Amy Linnen won the women's indoor pole vault in 2005 and the first KU man to win since Leo Bookman captured the 200-meter dash crown in 2004.
Kansas continues competition Saturday, when juniors Kate Sultanova and Colby Wissel compete in the women's pole vault and the men's 3000 meters, respectively. Both enter the competition as the second seed in the event. Sultanova's pole vault event starts at 5PM, while Wissel's 3000-meter run begins at approximately 7:50PM.
Stay tuned to www.kuathletics.com for the all the results from the 2007 NCAA Indoor National Championships.
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