THE SHOTPUT HEARD ’ROUND THE WORLD

THE SHOTPUT HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD

By Tony Phifer

MOSTAFA HASSAN WINS NCAA TITLE BY FEET, NOT INCHES

The most challenging aspect of winning a national championship in the shot put for Colorado State University’s Mostafa Hassan was trying to explain to his family in Egypt what an NCAA title means.

“They have no idea what the NCAA is or what it means to win an NCAA championship,” he said with a chuckle. “They understand the Olympics and the world championships, but they just don’t understand the NCAA.”

While Hassan failed to explain the magnitude of his feat, that was his only shortcoming. In winning the shotput title March 10 at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas, Hassan became just the fourth Ram to win an NCAA championship.

Even more impressive was the way he won. Hassan, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, simply destroyed a field of the very best collegiate throwers, taking the title by more than 4 feet. In a sport where margins of victory are usually measured in centimeters, it was a titanic accomplishment.

Mostafa Hassan
Photo courtesy NCAA

MOSTAFA HASSAN

Native of Cairo, Egypt

Bench-presses 500 pounds

Weighs 305 pounds

Packs his own meals on trips to avoid eating fast food

Speaks Arabic and English

Record Breaking Team

Led by Mostafa Hassan’s national championship, the CSU men’s track and field team had a record-breaking performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

The Rams scored 18 points to finish 12th – the highest finish in program history.

Led by Mostafa Hassan’s national championship, the CSU men’s track and field team had a record-breaking performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

The Rams scored 18 points to finish 12th – the highest finish in program history.

HUNTER PRICE finished fourth in the seven-event heptathlon with 5,996 points to shatter Mountain West and CSU records.

COLE ROCKHOLD finished sixth in the 3,000-meter run in 7:59.89, tying the CSU record for best finish in the race.

GRANT FISCHER, JERRELL MOCK, AALIYAH PEETE, and LORENDA HOLSTON earned second-team All-America honors for the Rams.

Hassan, who came to CSU in 2015 thanks to a Cairo track club connection with Rams assistant coach Karim Abdel Wahab, was the favorite entering the NCAA meet, but his first two throws were less than impressive.

“I was really nervous,” he said. “That’s the first time I’ve been in a situation where I’m expected to win.”

His third throw was hardly a technical triumph but it was plenty far enough to secure a spot in the three-throw final round.

“He just dug deep and unleashed this really ugly but powerful throw,” said Brian Bedard, CSU track and field coach. “After that he relaxed and his form was much better.”

Remarkably, Hassan had the four longest throws in the competition, with the winning toss measuring 69 feet, 9½ inches. He shattered the CSU and Mountain West Conference records with his final throw, which moved him into fourth place in the world this year and qualified him for the World Outdoor Championships this summer in London.

The best part of this story is that Hassan is still developing the plot and the final chapter. He wants to improve his marks in the indoor weight throw and outdoor discus and hammer in order to score more team points for the Rams in conference meets. The Rams won the 2017 Mountain West indoor title.

“I love my teammates, and I love CSU,” he said. “I want to do what I can to help us win more titles.”

Fortunately for CSU, Hassan – his teammates affectionately call him “Moose” – has three more opportunities to win NCAA shot put titles, one indoor and two outdoor. The only other Ram to win multiple NCAA track and field titles was Bryan Berryhill, who won the indoor mile (2001) and outdoor 1,500 meters (2000).

“There’s no reason he can’t win three more NCAA titles,” Bedard said. “Honestly, he can be one of the best in the world, and a possible Olympic medalist. He’s that good.”

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