Former Tiger attempts to win NCAA title

A former Fred T. Foard athlete is aiming to win an NCAA championship in the hammer throw today.

Malcolm Styers, a former member of the Tigers’ track and field program and current senior at Appalachian State, qualified for the NCAA National track and field championships with a career-best performance May 27 at the NCAA East Regionals.

The health promotions major set a new personal best toss in the hammer throw of 201’ 8”, which not only qualified him for the national meet, which takes place today through Saturday, but also moved Styers into the ASU record books as the second-best thrower in history.

Styer’s previous personal best in the event was 194’ 11”.

“It took me a while to get to this level to compete at that distance,” Styers said. “Now, I know that I have it in me, I know the school record isn’t that far away. I really think I can beat it. Just knowing I can be at a top level in Division I at a school like Appalachian really makes me feel proud to be from a small town like Newton, go somewhere big and do that well.”

The culmination of Styer’s achievement has been a steady improvement from his freshman to senior seasons.

During his freshman season, Styers finished seventh in the shot put and fourth in the hammer and discus throws in the Southern Conference indoor championships. He was also eighth in the shot put in the SoCon outdoor championships.

He improved tremendously in his sophomore year, winning SoCon shot put and weight throw championships. He also finished the conference’s outdoor championships as a runner-up in the hammer throw and third in the shot put and discus.

Styers won his first individual honor, as the conference tabbed him its Field Athlete of the Week on Feb. 12, 2009.

“I think learning the technique helped a lot,” Styers said. “With the hammer throw, I didn’t do that at all in high school. It took about a good solid year to get to where I was good at the hammer throw. Once I learned the technique, my strength levels took off.”

One year later during his junior year, Styers was tabbed as the conference’s most outstanding athlete and field performer. He went on the win SoCon championships in outdoor shot put, discus and the hammer throw.

He was also the SoCon indoor champion in shot put and the weight throw, won Field Athlete of the Week for the second straight season and added the conference’s Athlete of the Month honor to his list of honors last January.

Styers finished his senior season in outdoor with a repeat of his SoCon hammer throw championship and most outstanding field performer awards. He was also a runner-up finish in the discus throw and third-place finish in the shot put.

His performance, combined with the performances of his teammates, helped the Mountaineers win outdoor championships and sweep the year’s triple crown — cross country, outdoor and indoor titles — for the second straight season

In the history of Appalachian State’s track and field program. Styers is the seventh straight and 16th overall Mountaineer to win a conference championship in the hammer throw. He is also the 14th ASU track and field athlete to win to SoCon discus championship.

“I never really expected to win as much as I did,” Styers said. “I knew I could do well, especially with the coach I have and determination I have. Looking back at it and knowing I went to ASU, did something great and won, I am pretty proud of it. I am hoping some of my records stand for a while.”

Now the senior has an opportunity to added an NCAA championship his list of awards, an honor he said will be a defining moment for him.

“Winning an NCAA title would be one of the greatest things I could do in my life,” Styers said. “It is going to be tough. There is really good competition. I am going to go out there and give it my best.”