Longhorns Olympic Trials spotlight: Jacob Thormaehlen
June 14, 2012
Ben Blevins, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- Senior thrower Jacob Thormaehlen does not want to be a blue-collar worker after his track career is over with, but it is the blue-collar work ethic that helped him rank as one of the top collegiate throwers his senior year.
"I would like to get into the oil business, but I came to school so I would not have to work my butt off and do blue-collar work," said Thormaehlen. "I would like to be in the sales or parts or anything that has to do with oil. It is where Texas is headed in the next few years so I'd like to get in the mix with that."
Thormaehlen did not randomly choose the oil business as his family does have ties to it. His uncle, John Riley, has a small company outside of San Antonio named Omni Oil and Gas Inc. His brother, Lance, also works for the company.
"I don't know if I will end up there, but I would like to get in the mix there. I have been looking at Valero or some big corporation where I can get my hands dirty with their corporate communications or just anything really."
One month ago, Thormaehlen graduated from UT with a degree in corporate communications. While he is thinking about the oil industry as a possible career venture, he is not ready to end his throwing career. He will compete in the upcoming Olympic Trials and hopes to continue his professional track & field career after the Trials.
"I am going to be here for a while to keep training and see if I can go overseas or throw for Nike or Adidas," said Thormaehlen. "Maybe someone will come along and see something in me that others don't."
Olympic Trials has always been a dream for Thormaehlen, and one he was able to realize when he hit the automatic qualifying mark with a throw of 20.31m (66-07.75) to win the Big 12 Outdoor Championship in the shot put this season.
"It is really exciting to know that I have hit the qualifying marks for Trials and the Olympic A standard qualifier, which I hit in Indoors," said Thormaehlen. "It is exciting to know that I will be there throwing with some of the people that I have been looking up to for years. I know that it is going to be tough because any shot at the Olympics is going to be tough but I know that there I still a chance because you never know what could happen on that day. You just have to be mentally prepared and physically prepared for whatever."
Thormaehlen said he has looked up to guys like Reese Hoffa and Adam Nelson. Thormaehlen has a lot in common with Nelson as both are among the smaller throwers in the nation.
"I feel on the same level as Adam Nelson because all throughout my college years I have been one of the smaller guys," said Thormaehlen. "So it is exciting to watch him. He is a great guy, very smart and a good guy to talk too. Although our techniques are different, it is the way he prepares himself mentally that is what I have been looking for."
Being considered "small" was a new thing for Thormaehlen once he got to college. He played football and was a thrower in high school because he was one of the biggest kids at Taft High School. His freshman year at Texas he weighed 250 pounds and was going up against guys who were 300-plus.
"It is a big change to go from competing at the state high school meet to being one of the best in college," said head coach Bubba Thornton. "Jacob is one of our most improved athletes over the last few years because he has put in the hard work."
While Thormaehlen's marks were good his freshman year, finishing ninth at the Big 12 Championships and 12th at the NCAA Midwest Regional, but it wasn't until his sophomore year that he made his first NCAA Championships and threw over 60 feet for the first time. He continued to improve with his first All-America honor outdoors coming during his junior season as he placed ninth at the NCAA Championships. This year he took it even further, breaking the school record in the indoor shot put with a throw of 67-3.25. It is that hard work and blue-collar mentality that has taken Thormaehlen from good to great. He has particularly passed on that work ethic to his teammates this season.
"He really engraved in our throwing program hard-work and discipline, that you have to be the best in every single aspect in order to be the best out here throwing," said Baillio. "You have to take everything serious, even the weight room. He brought that into Texas and he is not a hypocrite of it. He lives by it. He has grown to be a great collegiate thrower and he will be a great post-collegiate thrower."
Thormaehlen has not only passed along hard work. In his final year he has also been one of the biggest team supporters all year long. He is the first to lead a chant from the stands during another teammate's event or to congratulate a teammate on his success.
"This is his last go around so he has been a really big team supporter this year because he understands that he does not get another meet," Baillio said. "It means a lot to him as I assume it will mean a lot to me next year. He has been around us eight hours every day for the last three years, so we are his family pretty much here in Austin."