By ELLIOTT DENMAN
Our illustrious Shore Athletic Club, with a history that includes having its first USA National champion as far back as 1933, added to its glory list with top performances by its
four delegates to the 2023 USA Nationals, staged
July 6-9 at the historic Hayward Field on the University of
Oregon campus in Eugene.
Leading the way was brilliant and mighty shot putter Josh Awotunde, with a superb performance of 72 feet,
6 ¼ inches, that gave him the silver medal, trailing only world record-holder and two-time Olympic champion Ryan Crouser’s winning toss of 75 feet even.
Awotunde, the Delsea High School and University of South Carolina graduate, had started the competition slowly, and was in sixth place heading into the fourth round of the
Eugene SP event, where he unloaded his 72-6 1/4-effort that propelled him into second place, and there he stayed, even as top tossers Payton Otterdahl and Joe Kovacs were breathing down his back.
With his second-place performance, Awotunde’s best of the year and Number Five on the 2023 year list, and proudly wearing his Shore AC singlet for the National TV audience to see, he clinched a place on the Team USA delegation bound for August’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
This will be his second trip to the Worlds; he had placed third, back of Crouser and Kovacs, at the 2022 Worlds, also at Hayward Field, the glistening centerpiece of Eugene’s ongoing reputation as “Tracktown USA” and the American site where track and field is indeed treated as a major league sport.
Racewalking brothers Sam and Ryan Allen, both now collegians and graduates of Kingsway High School, kept Shore AC rolling at Hayward Field.
Early on the morning of July 9, for the 6.30 start of the men’s National 20,000-meter racewalk, Sam Allen, a rising senior at Cornell University, raced to a strong third place finish with a performance of 1:31:58.57, trailing only Californians Nick Christie (1:25.30) and Emanuel Corvera (1:31:31).
Christie, the veteran star, took an early lead and held it throughout. But Sam Allen was closing strongly on
Corvera over the last several of the event’s 50 laps. Jordan Crawford next in line at back of Sam Allen, fourth in 1:32:03. Sam, of course, had won the USA National Indoor 1-Mile walk title at February’s Millrose Games at the NYC Armory.
Not long after the completion of the Senior 20,000-meter race, it was time for the 10,000-meter racewalk in the concurrent USA Men’s Under 20 (Junior) National Championships.
Now it was time for Ryan Allen to excel.
Now a rising sophomore at Villanova University, he became a two-time U20 National champion with a convincing win in 46:17.05.
Leading throughout, he won by over a lap over walker-up Clayton Stoil.
Cheering them on was Mr. Frank Ratti, the official “Shore AC Ambassador to Tracktown USA.”
Completing the Shore AC lineup at Eugene was mighty hammer thower Tyler Williams, who also serves as throws coach at Widener University.
Williams came through with a 234-9 toss which landed him in 10th place back of champion Rudy Winkler.
Winkler, who had excelled for both Cornell and Rutgers, won it all with a heave of 259-4.
Williams, along with Sam and Ryan Allen, had warmed up for USA Nationals with top performances at the Elliott Denman/36th Annual New Jersey International Meet,
hosted by Shore AC June 17 at Monmouth University’s Joe Compagni Track and Kessler Stadium.
NOW – to backtrack and remember some great moments in Shore AC history at Nationals. Back in 1933, SAC’s Eulace Peacock had won the National AAU pentathlon title.
And in the 1935 National AAU Championships, Peacock beat Jesse Owens in both the 100-meter dash and long jump finals, stunning results that still rank among the great upsets in track and field history,
EDITOR’s NOTE: Given Peacock’s 1933 Nationals win, why did Shore AC list 1934 as its year of birth? Answer: insufficient research. Long after we established 1934 as our official
year of revival on the Track and Field scene, further research revealed to us that 1933 Peacock win.