Bauer, Rosenthal to Compete in NCAA Track & Field Championships

Thursday, May 22, 2014
 

Before the start of the 2013-14 season, members of the Muhlenberg women’s track and field team placed a piece of paper with a “superlative” written on it inside the locker of each member of the men’s team. For Jordan Rosenthal, it read “Secret Weapon.” And how apt that was.

NCAA track & field Rosenthal has been a well-kept secret since before his track career started, though the cat is undoubtedly out of the bag now.

Rosenthal, a rising junior, and teammate Tyler Bauer are set to travel to Ohio Wesleyan University for the NCAA Championships, where they will both compete in the javelin. The event goes off at 3:00 on Saturday.

While Bauer, a rising senior, is back after a fifth-place showing and an All-America performance a year ago, Rosenthal’s talent has been hidden for the better part of this season – until now.

“Everyone knows Tyler,” Rosenthal said. “He’s an All-American, and people know he’s one of the best in the country. I’m under the radar.”

Jordan Rosenthal To wit, until the Centennial Conference Championships, Rosenthal had competed in only one meet because of an elbow injury. Even when the league meet came around, Muhlenberg throws coach Andy Fahringer was set on holding Rosenthal out and preserving him for next year. Rosenthal, however, can be quite persuasive.

“I had to convince him,” Rosenthal said. “I’ve thrown through every single injury, and sitting out is the worst thing ever for me. If you tell me to sit down I can’t do it.”

After an offer to do pushups on the spot, Fahringer relented – and Rosenthal (right) made sure he didn’t regret it. On his first attempt, Rosenthal uncorked a throw of 195-11, a personal best by nearly 11 feet that ranks third all-time at Muhlenberg. That was more than enough for a second straight silver medal for Rosenthal, again the runner-up behind Bauer, who won his third straight CC gold with a throw of 202-4. Bauer is seeded 11th in the 20-man field at nationals, while Rosenthal had to keep a close eye on other results before making the cut with the No. 17 seed.

“It’s unbelievable,” Rosenthal said. “I never thought I would make it in my sophomore season, especially after only throwing in two meets all year.

“Hopefully my elbow is still in one piece by the end of the weekend,” he added. “I’m going to do the best I can and give these guys a run for their money.”

Rosenthal’s impromptu feat surprised even Bauer, who knows as well as anyone what his counterpart is capable of.

“Jordan has more talent than I’ve seen in pretty much any teammate I’ve ever had,” Bauer said. “It was surprising to me that he did that, but I always expect him to do big things.”

Tyler Bauer A four-sport athlete in high school, Rosenthal didn’t take up the javelin until his junior season, the first time his secret talent was revealed. Originally a sprinter, Rosenthal was about to be cut from the team – until his coach saw him throwing a football after practice. A few 50-yard spirals later, Rosenthal was on the javelin squad. The rest is history, one in which injuries have conspired to make him a relative unknown.

“I’m probably the most competitive person on the face of the Earth,” Rosenthal said. “Even if I have to throw with my left arm I’m going to go out and compete. I hate to lose.”

One of the few people Rosenthal tends to lose to is Bauer. But that’s just fine with Rosenthal; in fact, the two are close friends and roommates in addition to making up one of Division III’s premier tandems.

“Tyler is one of my best friends in the entire school,” Rosenthal said. “When I was in high school and thinking about going here, he took me around and showed me everything. I saw that he was No. 1 in the conference, and I knew he would be a great person to learn from.

“He pushes me every day to be my best. I don’t think I could’ve come this far without him. He gives me a goal, someone I can strive to be like.”

While Rosenthal is new to the spotlight, Bauer (left) is no stranger to the big stage. A year ago, his throw of 214-5 broke his own school record by more than five feet and landed him an All-America nod. The first Mule to earn that honor on his first trip to the NCAA Championships, Bauer has his sights set on a similar performance – last year, he was seeded 10th before moving up five spots.

“I’ve been consistently around 200 [feet] this year,” said Bauer, the third Muhlenberg male to qualify for the outdoor NCAA Championships twice and just the second to do so in back-to-back years. “I know I’m in the shape to do better than that. I hope the big throw is still out there.

“Last year, my throw might have won it in other years,” he continued. “You can never tell what’s going to happen.”

Since the end of the school year, Bauer and Rosenthal have been practicing together every day. In addition to their normal throwing routine and some running work, Bauer has also been preparing Rosenthal for the mental demands of the NCAA Championships.

“Division I programs, they’re used to traveling and staying in hotels,” said Bauer, who flew to Ohio with Rosenthal early this morning. “In Division III, that’s not the reality. It’s a different experience because you go there and stay in a hotel and you have to tell yourself that it’s a business trip. It takes a different mental approach.”

Whatever approach they’ve been taking has been working. The javelin accounted for a third of Muhlenberg’s points at the CC meet, and Bauer and Rosenthal are one of only two sets of teammates to qualify for nationals in the event. They also are the first pair of Mules to qualify for the NCAA meet in the same event in the same year.

With both around for another year, and Rosenthal one more after that, the Mules’ dynamic duo hopes this weekend is another building block to a javelin dynasty.

“We want to show everyone,” Rosenthal said, “that Muhlenberg throws is something to be feared.”
Click here for the meet site.
Click here to read about some other Mules who qualified for a postseason track and field meet.