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Forum staff reports, Published June 23 2013

Former NDSU track star Dolezal wins U.S. javelin championship

DES MOINES, Iowa – A track career that started in Stanley, N.D., is headed to Russia.

Former North Dakota State track athlete Riley Dolezal had the performance of his life Sunday afternoon at Drake Stadium. Dolezal won the men’s javelin at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, besting his previous personal record by more than 30 feet.

“It’s still almost unbelievable right now,” said Dolezal, who is 27 years old.

Dolezal won the event with a toss of 273 feet, 11 inches (83.50 meters) on his fourth and final throw of the day. Since the mark was an “A” standard, Dolezal will represent the United States at the World Championships, which are scheduled for August in Moscow.

Dolezal is set to compete on Aug. 15 at the World Championships.

“It just goes to show no matter where you are from, if you put in the work and the effort, anything is possible,” said Justin St. Clair, an NDSU track assistant who coaches Dolezal. “I told Riley two weeks ago to be ready to throw 80 meters.”

Stanley is a town of around 1,500 people that is located about an hour west of Minot, N.D. The 6-foot-2,

220-pound Dolezal entered the USA Championships with the 14th-best qualifying throw at 243-6. He bettered that personal best by 30 feet,

5 inches.

Dolezal set career-best marks on each of his throws Sunday, culminating with the winning toss on his first throw in the finals.

“The first three throws I was bumping up every throw,” Dolezal said.

Then came the big one.

“Right when I let it go, I knew it was a good throw,” said Dolezal, who passed on his final two attempts after uncorking the winning throw. “I didn’t know it would carry out that far. … I didn’t even know what to do. The whole crowd was going crazy.”

Dolezal’s winning throw Sunday would have placed fourth at the 2012 Olympics.

“To do what he did was pretty special,” St. Clair said.

Dolezal competed at NDSU from 2005 to 2009 and was the Summit League champion in the javelin in 2008. He still holds the school record in the javelin. He had Tommy John surgery during his senior year at NDSU after injuring his elbow.

Dolezal didn’t start throwing javelin until his junior year in high school. Now, he’s the United States champion in the event. He received more than 100 texts and more than 100 Facebook messages in the hours following his victory.

“My phone has just been going crazy,” Dolezal said. “I haven’t been able to answer all of those.”