BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Payton Otterdahl is a national champion.
The Bison senior won the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Friday night, becoming the first individual Division I national champion for North Dakota State in any sport.
Otterdahl uncorked a huge throw of 71-02.75 (21.71m) on the very first attempt of the competition, setting the facility record and coming within one inch of the NCAA meet record. He didn’t improve his mark over the final five throws, but there was no need. He won by a margin of nearly 27 inches.
By Otterdahl’s unparalleled standards, it was ‘enough’.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it was enough,” he said of his series. “It was enough to get the job done. I wouldn’t say that I’m ecstatic with my performance, but it was the second-best throw of my life, so I’ll take it.”
Otterdahl said he could feel the title in his grasp after the initial 71-foot launch.
“I knew I was going to win after that first throw,” said Otterdahl. “That was my mindset coming into the meet. I wanted to start off big and let everyone else know they were competing for second. I went for it.”
Otterdahl now owns four of the top six shot put marks in NCAA indoor history. He holds the all-time collegiate indoor record at 71-06.75 (21.81m).
North Dakota State’s most recent indoor NCAA national champion in men’s indoor track & field was Ryan McGlynn, who won the Division II national title in the pole vault in 1996.
While it was an individual national title Otterdahl captured on Friday night, he was quick to show his gratitude toward NDSU throws coach Justin St. Clair and the team he trains with every day.
“That team support is huge for me. I’ve gotten to train with the best group in the country. Those guys have been pushing me this whole time to get better every day. Even the guys from past years – Steffan Stroh, Alex Renner, Conrad Schwarzkopf, Brian Blasey. For four years, they were pushing me to be the best that I can be.”
Otterdahl returns at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday afternoon to compete in the weight throw, where he is also ranked No. 1 entering the meet. He will attempt to become only the second athlete to sweep the national titles in both indoor throwing events at the NCAA Championships.