(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
ALLENDALE, Mich. – Finishing fourth at the 2021 NCAA D2 Track & Field Championships at Grand Valley State University’s Lacrosse/Track & Field Stadium, Montana State University Billings senior Beau Ackerman claimed All-American status in the javelin for the second time in his career.
On the final throw of his collegiate career, Ackerman cut loose a toss of 231-10 feet as he finished in fourth among the field of 13 competitors on the national stage. After he took fifth at the national event during the 2018 championships, Ackerman earned first-team All-America status for the second time in his career.
“It really feels like 2018 was a long time ago,” Ackerman said on missing the 2019 season with an injury and having the 2020 campaign canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. “A lot of things have happened between now and then, and I just tried to make it back this year. Making it back to nationals and being top-five again means a lot. I wanted to place higher, but if I decide to keep throwing I think it will be good that I feel like I still have something to prove and I feel like I can do better.”
“We were battling the wind out here, but Beau was able to pop a couple of really good throws,” said MSUB assistant track and field coach Dillon Gongliewski, who is the program’s javelin coach. “It was really cool watching him go out and have his last throw of the day be his best throw. He doesn’t normally do that, so to have him come out and compete and find the will power to drop the bomb he needed to move to fourth is a testament to him to overcome the mental obstacles that were in place.”
The Glendive native qualified for the finals on Saturday morning, hitting a mark of 224-3 feet with his second throw of the day during the preliminary round. That placed him fourth heading into the finals, and he maintained his placement saving his best throw of the day for last. His furthest throw of the day came on his third attempt during the preliminary round, but his fingertip landed on the line at the end of the runway which negated a toss that would have notched him at least 235 feet.
“I tried to throw my first one low to stay out of the wind, but it ended up being too low. On the next one I didn’t think about it, and just tried to throw it hard,” Ackerman said on recovering from a poor opening attempt and solidifying his spot in the finals on his second throw. “My third throw was my farthest, but I scratched by half an inch.”
The senior bounced back again in the finals, unleashing his best throw of the day after his first two attempts each fell short of the 200-foot mark.
“The kid right before me hit a PR on his throw, so it was a really great atmosphere,” Ackerman said on his final throw of the day. “I felt like it was going to be a big one, and I put everything into it. It ended up going far, so it was a good throw to end on.”
Devoux Deysel of Angelo State University won the national title in the javelin, with a mighty heave of 247-10 feet on his final throw of the day. Joshua Hudiburg (236-10 feet) and Brett Thompson (232-10 feet) both of Pittsburg State took second and third place, respectively, ahead of Ackerman.
“It was really cool being out here being able to compete with such elite company, considering a couple of these guys have the possibility of making the Olympic trials,” Gongliewski said. “It was a really great experience getting to throw with some of the best.”
Ackerman came up just shy of his school record of 233-7 feet, which he achieved at the 2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships on May 15. He finished his career as MSUB’s record holder and with the second-longest javelin throw in conference history.
“I was way more nervous than usual until I got here, and I felt really good and ready to go,” Ackerman said. "We were fighting a really bad head wind, but I'm happy with throwing over 230 again and happy with fourth. It was a good end to my collegiate career."