Donnelly preps for Olympic dreams

The senior has the longest toss in the hammer throw in the NCAA in 2016.

Ryan Falk

Sean Donnelly said his life changed with one throw.
 
 
The senior cleared 74.35 meters in the hammer throw at the Baldy Castillo Invitational on March 18, beating Minnesota’s record by more than five meters in his debut for the team.
 
 
The throw is the best in the NCAA this year and ranks ninth in the world and first in the United States in 2016. It also qualified Donnelly to compete at the Olympic trials in early July in Eugene, Ore.
 
 
Donnelly said qualifying took a big emotional and physical toll on him, and this week, he’s tried to get back to his normal routine. He said the rest of his outdoor season has an entirely different feel to it now as he prepares to earn a ticket to Rio de Janeiro.
 
 
“We crumpled up our season plan and we set our sights on Olympic standards,” assistant coach Lynden Reder said.
 
 
Donnelly was no stranger to big throws before coming to Minnesota. He arrived on campus after winning four Division III national event titles at the University of Mount Union in Ohio.
 
 
Head coach Steve Plasencia said Donnelly is growing more confident in his approach in Division I.
 
 
Donnelly’s mindset should serve him well as he approaches the trials, which he said he’s had on his mind two years. Thanks to one throw, representing his country became one step closer to reality.
 
 
“I’d be speechless,” Donnelly said. “Going to the trials is a dream. Going to the Olympics is a dream beyond a dream.”