As long as he can remember, Tim Glover has been throwing things, and throwing them further than anyone else around him. The softball throw at Hershey’s Track and Field Games? Check. Punt, Pass and Kick competition? Check. Pitcher and catcher in baseball? Check. Olympic javelin athlete?
Glover, who just won his second consecutive NCAA javelin championship, will be competing for a spot on the U.S. squad on Saturday in Eugene, Ore. at the Olympic Trials. The Illinois State junior is making his first trip to the trials and knows it will be the ultimate test.
“I have to prove to myself that I can throw with the big boys,” Glover said of his primary competitors Sean Furey, Craig Kinsley and Cyrus Hostetler. “They’ve all thrown at the 82-meter mark which is the A standard [an Olympics qualifying mark]. It’s pretty much up to me to hit the A standard at the Trials. Hopefully I can bump one of those three out and go to the Olympics.”
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Glover’s personal best is the 81.69 he threw to win this year’s NCAA title. It’s close but not close enough to reach his goal of making the team.
“I thought I’d have a chance after last year,” Glover said. “And this year I did well, too, but I am looking to the Olympics. All it takes is one big throw, and it could happen at any time. And this year could not be any better. Well, maybe making the London team. I’m just excited for how it’s been so far. It’s been a fun year.”
For his season, the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) picked him as its 2012 NCAA Division I National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. Glover holds the Illinois State and Missouri Valley Conference record with his NCAA Championships throw. It also made him the ninth-best performer in NCAA history, and the mark was the third-best in meet history and the best since 2009. He is also picked by Track & Field News to win the javelin event at the Trials.
“There’s going to be a huge crowd,” Glover said. “I’ve been to Oregon before and the throwing conditions aren’t that bad. Rains like it usually does. But hopefully the atmosphere, and it being the Olympic Trails will get me more excited and ready to go and hopefully get that extra foot.”
His whole year seemingly has been set up for that extra foot. He was in Eugene last year for the USA championships and the normal schedule hurt him. So this year his regiment was pushed back so he could have something left for the trials.
“It helped,” Glover said. “Last year at USAs, I felt a little bit burned out. I really didn’t have much left in the tank. Pushing everything back was huge. It was kind of like fixing all the small things was the key for me this year. All my technical stuff, my speed, hitting certain positions. If I could put that all together, at any time, it could mean a big throw. I’ve done that a couple of times this year. I just need to make my throws count. It’s what I’ve worked for.”
And diligently so since high school. He played catcher and pitcher his first two years of high school. Because he was seeing more time behind the plate, in order to save his knees for javelin, he dropped the sport.
“That’s when javelin started to take off for me,” Glover said, no pun intended. “It was something I knew I wanted to do in college and maybe after college. I really started working hard at it then.”
He was a three-time USA Youth Outdoor Track and Field Championships National Champion in high school and for a change of pace, played golf and was part of the golf team that won three-straight state titles.
ISU took notice, but really, it didn’t have to look to far to see him. He went to University High there in Normal, Ill. and the track is about 100 meters from ISU’s campus.
“That’s what has made this so fun is because my family gets to see me,” Glover said. “It’s a good feeling to have them there. It’s been fun for everybody else who watched me grow up. I just hope I have the big throw in me left. That would be special.”