Cyrus Hostetler’s rise to success in the javelin has been a journey.
After placing third at the 2011 USA Outdoor Championships, Hostetler earned a silver medal at the Pan American Games, the Olympic “A” standard and recorded the top throw in the country at 82.24m/269-10. He now focuses his attention to the Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, June 21-July 1 in Eugene, Ore.
But his journey to become one of the best javelin throwers in the country was as unique as the event itself.
Hostetler didn’t pick up a javelin until late into his senior year of high school at Newberg (Ore.) High School. A football, basketball and baseball player, those around him noticed his speed and endurance each day in practice. It was suggested to him to go out for track and Hostetler jumped at the opportunity. His overall athletic ability led him to the javelin.
“I tried out for track and they knew I could throw,” Hostetler said. “I probably had the best throwing arm in the school. They knew I could throw the baseball and football so they figured I could do the javelin.”
Within three weeks he threw 57.18m/187-7. Continuing to improve, Hostetler placed fifth at the 2005 USA Junior Championships in 62.55m/205-2 and beat out the top ranked javelin thrower in the country.
However, despite his success Hostetler had other plans for college.
“My original plan was to go to a Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision) school for football,” he said. “I was banking on an athletic scholarship to get into college. My family didn’t have money for me to go to school so it was either get a scholarship or work a full-time job.”
After a few weeks of struggling to find a football scholarship, Hostetler’s mom suggested he take another route.
“My mom said to me that instead of struggling and waiting to hear on a football scholarship that I should see where track and field could take me,” said Hostetler. “It was my mom who made me think about throwing javelin collegiately.”
With the encouragement of his mom, Hostetler began throwing the javelin for Weber State University. However, Hostetler was plagued by injuries, which included straining his elbow and tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. After one year at Weber State he transferred to Lane Community College where he qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials. At the Trials he placed 18th, but just one foot behind American record holder Breaux Greer.
Hostetler next returned to his home state and competed at the University of Oregon. He earned All-American honors by placing fourth at the NCAA Championships. However, the injury bug returned when he tore two knee ligaments while playing basketball. Recovering once again Hostetler earned All-American honors in 2010, but tore additional knee ligaments and meniscus at the USA Outdoor Championships.
“Health is everything,” Hostetler said. “Javelin is probably one of the most violent events. You run forward, jump sideways and try to stop full speed on one leg and throw. It’s a dangerous event. You can get injured just about anywhere. Over the years I’ve compiled many injuries.”
With help from Oregon coach Christina Scherwin, Hostetler has created a program that helps to manage his injuries and prevent further damage.
“Coach (Scherwin) always says, ‘it’s better to be five percent undertrained than five percent overtrained,’” Hostetler said. “If you can stay away from injury you can be very successful.”
Since his last major surgery, Hostetler has stayed away from serious injuries and gained strength that will help him on his quest for a spot on Team USA for the London Olympic Games.
“I have been lucky and able to just prepare for the Olympic Trials because I already have the Olympic ‘A’ standard,” Hostetler said, “Coach (Scherwin) and I have been planning this entire year around the Olympic Trials and taking it one step at a time.”
He hopes that next step will land him on a plane bound for London.
“Coach (Scherwin) and I talk about making the Olympic team, making the Olympic finals and then working on shooting for that big throw to win an Olympic medal,” said Hostetler. “We can’t have the medal without doing well each step in between.”
And that would make everything he has been through worthwhile.
“It would justify all the hard training that I have gone through, the injuries I have dealt with, the sacrifices that I have made,” Hostetler said. “Training for the Olympics is something you really have to be passionate about.”
A complete bio for Hostetler can be found on www.usatf.org.