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Cal Poly thrower Rory Devaney goes from newbie to record-holder

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Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 11, 2023

Freshman hammer thrower Rory Devaney describes the hammer throw event as "rhythmic" and "finesse" and when that rhythm is just right, Devaney is one of the best in the country.

Having only began hammer throwing six months ago, Devaney is now Cal Poly’s all-time record-holder thanks to his performance at the West Coast Relays in Fresno, March 31, when on his fifth attempt threw 202 feet, 4 inches. He went on to win the event.

“I didn't really have any aspirations for hammer," Devaney said honestly. "I just wanted to beat my own personal record and realizing that the previous record holder was there was pretty special.”

In attendance was the former record holder, Tom Pagani, who set the record 62 year’s ago in 1961. Pagani was inducted into the Cal Poly Hall of Fame in 2010.

“[He said] congratulations and he was happy to see somebody do it," Devaney explained. "Obviously, he's been around a really long time. He's an awesome guy.”

No stranger to success in other throwing events like discus and shotput where he was a standout at San Luis Obispo High School and even now in the Big West, the hammer throw wasn't completely unfamiliar territory with both of his sisters having competing in the event at the Division I level.

“It was the thing that they loved to do athletically, and so they'd been hyping me up about it throughout my childhood, saying that I should try it when I get to college.”

After earning a Big West Field Athlete of the Week with his performance in Fresno, it's safe to say that the sisters pushing the the event was a good idea.

With a football and rugby background as well, Devaney is an all-around athlete making it no surprise to the coaching staff that he has made such a leap in the event in such a short time.

“I'm not too surprised to see how far he's come and I think the kid's got a whole lot more,” Cal Poly Throws Coach Les Courtemanche said. "

Overall, the Throws unit is one of the best in the country with the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ranking the Cal Poly men’s hammer throw squad as the 13th best in the country.

“We've been fortunate to not really quite miss a beat with our training and so it's been a long time coming.”

Devaney is also fourth in the Big West Conference in discus. He captured first at the West Coast Relays as well.