College track and field: Nubbe generating plenty of buzz as Longhorns throwing star


EUGENE, Ore. – Glance at the list of All-American and Olympic throwers at the University of Texas and it is lengthy. It started with two-time Olympian Oskar Jakobsson in 1976 and 1980 and most recently is back-to-back gold medalist Ryan Crouser.

There’s a standard for the Longhorns men’s track and field program.

And one of those squarely at the forefront collegiately is a kid from Rainier, Washington, population 2,457.

Jeremiah Nubbe has only been in Austin for two years, but has taken the record book and shattered it with all-time marks in the hammer throw and top-10 distances in the discus in a pair of outdoor seasons.

“I’m not trying to put pressure on myself,” Nubbe said. “It is anyone’s game on the day, you just have to show up and do what you do best. Just let that greatness surround me and let me rise to that occasion.”

The 2024 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships that kick off Wednesday at esteemed Hayward Field on the Oregon University campus serves as a potential site for Nubbe to take the next step in his career.

The true sophomore is one of the favorites in his primary throwing event, the hammer throw. He’ll be the last one to unleash the ball and chains on Wednesday afternoon in the second flight.

“I’m actually really excited,” Nubbe said. “Been here in two events in high school a couple times, so it is nice to finally come back to a bigger stage and showcase what I can do in two events and see where I can go from here.”

At last year’s NCAA West Preliminaries in Sacramento, Nubbe didn’t qualify for NCAAs in the hammer, finishing 15th overall, three places away from qualifying.

Teammate and roommate Leo Neugebauer, the returning NCAA champ in the decathlon, felt the burning passion inside of Nubbe.

“It got him more (fired up) and then being even better this year,” Neugebauer said at Tuesday’s press conference previewing the championships. “He is a really driven man. He has a great future in front of him.”

Admittedly, Nubbe called this year a “rollercoaster.” Not from a performance standpoint, but a mentality perspective.

There were times where the team aspect of track and field got in the way of his own expectations as an individual. When he re-shifted his focus back to himself, that in turn allowed Nubbe to contribute vitally to Texas’ team success.

“I had to take a step back and be like ‘This stuff is really affecting me mentally,’” Nubbe said. “I had to do some soul-searching. I’m not here to just purely score and do these things that correlate to these external factors. I value myself no matter what I do in the field.

“The team help and the points, those should be byproducts. Just be you.”

In the ring, it has been a standout sophomore campaign.

Nubbe reset his own school record at the prestigious Texas Relays in the hammer throw, uncorking a lifetime best heave of 239 feet, 10 inches to triumph in the event. He has the six farthest throws in program history.

He was the Big 12 runner-up in the outdoor season in the hammer.

“He takes it personal and I love (it); Jerry is kind of my guy,” Longhorns head coach Edrick Floréal said. “This guy is in the airport with dress shoes doing hammer turns. This is who he is.”

Discus is what Nubbe calls his “secondary event” yet he returns to NCAAs for the second straight spring in the event. After fouling out at Big 12s, he grabbed the second-to-last qualifying spot with a toss of 190-02.

He’ll be in the first flight for the discus on Friday.

“Maybe surprise myself,” Nubbe said. “I have the potential to throw far. Be consistent in that series and who knows.”

Floréal stated his role as a coach will turn into a jokester for Nubbe. The fifth-year leader of the Longhorns has seen the dedication and passion of his thrower for two seasons.

In Floréal’s eyes, more coaching isn’t what Nubbe needs.

“The role of a coach changes based on the athlete,” Floréal said. “I do have that (jokester) ability. Gotta keep that guy calm in a good place and let him enjoy the process of being here.”

There’s a certain pride that Nubbe carries with himself as a representative of Rainier. It’s his home and he doesn’t want to take that aspect of his life for granted.

“Something I learned in high school was that track and field is amazing and being great is something I want to do, but there is so much more to be gained as being an inspiration to the youth below me,” Nubbe said. “No matter where you come from, you can still be successful as long as you put in the work and believe in yourself.”