It was a career highlight for Estevan-born weight thrower Hunter Wallster, who stood atop the podium after winning a gold medal at the NCAA Division I Summit Championship, which took place Feb. 25 in Vermillion, South Dakota.
"An absolute flood of emotions," said Wallster. "I've been chasing that for three years now, so to finally get on top of the podium is pretty special."
"This year I went in with the intention of getting on that podium, with the intention of throwing over 60 feet, and I managed to do that," said Wallster, who said he battled injuries the year before. "This season, every meet just got progressively better and better."
He also set a new Saskatchewan record at the Summit Championship, which was an indoor track and field conference meet.
"I'm now the senior provincial record holder in the men's weight throw. That's pretty cool," he said.
"I was actually pretty sick, so I went into that meet just with the intention of competing to the best of my ability and managed to pop out a victory and take the win, so that was pretty cool," he said. "Definitely surprised myself a little bit."
Wallster also grew up in Estevan and is in his third year at South Dakota State University. He describes the sport as an indoor track and field equivalent to hammer throw, which is an outdoor event.
"It's not a commonly contested event, not in high school at all," he said. "I ran into it, ninth grade I was throwing shot put and disc at the Comp in Estevan. Mrs. Giesbrecht (track and field coach) showed me hammer throw and I picked up on it fairly quickly, so I worked on that through graduating," he said.
"I was able to come down here and compete and continue to work on that and then picked up weight throw in the mix there, just an indoor heavier, shorter, less bar-travelled throw equivalent. It's just a throws event within track and field."
Wallster, 20, is now preparing for the upcoming outdoor season, with his first meet coming up on March 24. He'll be busy with the outdoor season until June, and he has two full years of NCAA eligibility left. He said he has aspirations of going pro.
"As of right now, the plan is to throw a little over 65 metres in hammer throw this year hopefully, which should qualify me for the NCAA national meet for outdoor," Wallster said. "And then the next two years after that just building on to that and if I can break 73, 74 metres in the hammer by the time I'm done here, I would try to make a run to go pro."