LOGAN, Utah – For the past three years, Utah State senior thrower Kevin Allen has qualified for the First Round of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
But each time, that’s where his season came to an end. He would like to change that this year, though.
Allen will look to conclude his Aggie career by doing something he has never done: Advance to the NCAA Outdoor Finals.
“I’m excited and ready to punch my ticket to go to the next round,” Allen said. “I know I can do it, so I just need to go there and do it.”
This year’s NCAA West Preliminary Championships are being held at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kan. They begin Thursday and wrap up on Saturday. The East Preliminaries are being held at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.
Allen is one of a school record-tying 20 Aggies to qualify for the preliminary rounds, which are also referred to as the First Round of the NCAAs.
“I know it’s supposed to be raining and lightning out there, but we dealt with that last year (in Austin, Texas), so I’m ready to do that again,” Allen said. “It’s not going to be a surprise to me this time, let’s just put it that way. I’m just ready to compete. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling ready and excited, and ready to get going.”
Allen will be competing in the discus as he qualified with a mark of 54.88m (180-01), which ranks 30th in the west region.
A year ago, the native of Upton, Wyo., placed 34th in the discus (51.25m/168-01). As a sophomore, he finished 39th in the discus (51.43m/168-08) and came in 43rd as a freshman (48.19m/158-01).
“It’s been really cool to watch him go from that freshman that was sometimes a little hesitant to letting me help him change his discus to a guy who was completely open to letting me teach him all of the throws, and then his discus took off, too,” said assistant head track & field coach Matt Ingebritsen, whose main responsibility with the Aggies is working with the throwers. “Once we learned the shot, it actually helped his disc a ton.”
It sure has.
Allen currently ranks ninth all-time in school history in the discus with a throw of 54.92m (180-02), which he set as a sophomore at the Oregon Preview.
Earlier this season, he set his personal-best marks of 17.28m (56-08.50) in the shot put at the Boise State-hosted Border Clash and 57.18m (187-07.25) in the hammer at the BYU-hosted Clarence Robison Invitational.
“When I got him on campus I knew he would fit in here because he’s kind of that small-town guy and this would be a good environment for him,” Ingebritsen said. “He was a very high-level discus thrower coming in, but he is not the biggest guy. He does work hard and whatever he lacked in height, he made up for in speed because he’s one of the fastest male throwers I’ve ever worked with.
“What he became and the coolest part about him was he became a very good utility guy. He learned how to throw the hammer well, he learned how to throw the weight well, he learned how to become a great shot putter and he’s a great discus thrower. He always shows up and competes.”
During the 2016 indoor season, Allen recorded personal-best marks of 16.90m (55-05.50) in the shot put and 17.12m (56-02.00) in the weight throw at the Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
“For where he came from and what he has become, I’m really proud of him for the amount of work that he put in to become the type of athlete that has been so useful,” Ingebritsen said. “I’m going to miss him a lot when it comes to that guy that can do it all. For someone who was just threw discus in high school, as well as a little shot put, to become a three-event thrower who can score in all three of his events, that’s a pretty big accomplishment.
“He always shows up at the meets that I need him to and it’s been really fun to work with him and have somebody that is capable of doing so many different things, because you don’t always get that. You don’t get somebody who can be a very good utility person, like a multi-purpose thrower.”
Allen garnered first-team all-MW honors after placing third in the discus (54.88m/180-01) at the 2016 Outdoor Championships, which took place May 11-14 in Clovis, Calif. He has earned a trio of all-conference accolades, to go along with a pair of academic all-MW/WAC honors.
“I’ve had a lot of fun with him and he brings a good personality to the group,” Ingebritsen said. “He loves the throws and that’s one of the things I like most about him. He likes to talk about the throws, he’s into getting better and it’s been really fun to coach a guy like that because he’s kind of the old reliable athlete. It’s been really fun watching him become what he has.”
Prior to Utah State, Allen was tabbed the 2011-12 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year, becoming the first athlete from Upton High School to garner that award.
As a senior at Upton HS, Allen won individual state titles in the discus with a mark of 199-11 and the shot put with a throw of 53-04.50. The Bobcats placed third as a team at the Class 1A state meet.
A four-time first-team all-state honoree, Allen won the state championship in the discus all four years of his high school career.
However, he only had offers from Utah State and Texas State coming out of high school.
“Utah State was a better offer and it was a little closer to home,” Allen said. “It’s been fun. It’s bittersweet to think this might be my last meet probably ever. I’m ready for my next step in life, but I’m excited and it’s been a good career at Utah State. I love coach Matt and he’s been a great coach. Everything has just been great, it’s been awesome here.”
Allen graduated from Utah State earlier this month with a bachelor’s degree in human movement science with an emphasis in exercise science.