Fairfield resident Craig Kinsley wins national championship in javelin for Brown University
Craig Kinsley is a track enthusiast.
"It's referred to as Tracktown, USA," he said. "In Oregon they treat their track athletes the way Austin, Texas treats its football players."
But, competing and taking the highest honor in his event trumped even that. Kinsley threw for a total of 250-3 in three throws at nationals to take home the NCAA championship in the javelin on June 12.
"We're very excited for the success that he's had," Brown Track and Field Head Coach Michelle Eisenreich said. "He works really hard."
Kinsley improved on a third place finish at nationals the year prior in Fayetteville, Ark. He finished first place at the Ivy League championships for each of the three years. Kinsley used the experience of competing at the highest level in college in his second trip to improve.
"Last year I didn't know what to expect when I got there," Kinsley said. "This year I entered the meet with a lot of confidence."
Kinsley was also somewhat disappointed in the outcome of his sophomore trip to nationals and was looking for a better showing this year. Kinsley improved so dramatically throughout his sophomore year that finishing the year was draining.
"I wasn't satisfied with my performance," he said. "I was so mentally drained that standing on the podium, I couldn't even smile."
With both of the performers that finished ahead of him, Chris Hill from Georgia and Corey White from USC, not in competition, Kinsley was hopeful that the event would be his in 2010 and trained as such.
"It was the goal to get back to nationals," Kinsley said. "I definitely expected to get back there."
When Kinsley took home the gold, it was pure joy and relief.
"It was a fantastic feeling," he said.
However, javelin is not the most important event for Kinsley on a day to day basis. Kinsley was named to the Academic All-Ivy League Team that is awarded to those athletes who have started on their respective teams and compiled a 3.0 or better grade point average. Kinsley also has the added stress of performing in the study of Geological Sciences.
"Academics come first," Kinsley said. "My parents will constantly remind me of that."
However, he is O.K. with balancing the athletic life with his academic life.
"It's not that hard to balance the two," he said. "There's not much else I'd rather do."
With the opportunity to compete in the nationals again and perhaps take home a second straight national championship, Kinsley is taking it all in stride.
"I'll do my best to keep improving," he said. "All I can hope for is that I'll improve my distance and see what happens."