LONG BEACH – Long Beach State senior thrower James Hubbard will represent the Beach this weekend at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas. Hubbard will compete in the men’s weight throw which will take place on Saturday, March 11 at 2 p.m. (CT).
“I feel very fortunate that I made it (to Nationals),” Hubbard said. “I’m a little bit nervous since I’m the only person from the team who is going. But my coach (Cory Loebl) will be there supporting me.
“I know there are a lot of people that would do anything to get to Nationals, so I am very fortunate. I am just going to let it rip and leave it all out there.”
Hubbard’s school-record heave of 22.11m (72-06.50) earlier this season at the Don Kirby Invitational, hosted by New Mexico, is the toss that earned him a spot at Nationals. His throw ranks him 11th in the nation and with the top 17 advancing to the NCAA Indoor Championships, Hubbard had to wait and see if his mark would sustain.
“It was nerve-racking,” He explained. “I made it to the Regional Prelims last year, but this will be my first appearance at the National Meet.”
The junior transfer out of American River College had a solid year last season as he finished 13th out of 48 at the NCAA West Prelims, however, he just missed the NCAA Championships and is looking forward to getting the chance to compete on the national stage in his final year.
A two-time All-Big West Performer, Hubbard almost gave up competing after high school. However, his girlfriend and Long Beach State teammate, Shelby Crider, convinced him to continue throwing.
The high school sweethearts were members of the track & field team at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif., and went on to compete together at American River College. The two throwers encouraged each other to keep competing and transferred together to Long Beach State where they continue to compete and encourage each other both on and off the field.
“We pretty much do everything together,” Hubbard said. “We work out together, we’re both throwers and the same major (American Studies), so we study together and take classes together. We spend 99 percent of our time together. We help each other out. I owe her a lot because she encouraged me to continue throwing.”
Despite their closeness, Hubbard will be going to Nationals without Crider, as she will be back in southern California with the Beach competing at the Ben Brown Invitational in Fullerton, Calif.
Hubbard leaves for College Station, Texas, on Wednesday, March 8 and will spend the next few days focusing on Nationals and preparing himself for competition. He will practice and get adjusted to the two-hour time difference on Thursday, get a quick workout in as well as mentally and physically prepare on Friday, and leave it all on the line on Saturday.
“It’s kind of surreal, but I am so thankful to have the opportunity to compete at Nationals,” Hubbard said.
The NCAA Division I Indoor Championships begin on Friday, March 10 and conclude Saturday, March 11. Live results will be available at LongBeachState.com.
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