Bryant becomes all-American shot putter   

Danny Bryant poses after being named an NCAA all-American. Courtesy of BYU Photo.

West Ranch alumnus Danny Bryant had one throw left to leave the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon, with some hardware. 

After two throws that weren’t up to par, Bryant locked in and threw a huge personal best mark of 20.02 meters (65.68 feet), earning the BYU junior fourth place at the shot put nationals and making him a first team all-American. 

“To get that throw on that stage, it was pretty special,” Bryant said in a phone interview. “I’m glad that I saved the best for the biggest feat. I feel like the pressure was just something that helped me. It’s been a pattern with me just continuing to PR on these last throws. I just kind of took the pressure and it helped me focus on what I needed to do so that I could continue to compete.” 

Bryant has found himself hitting milestones on his final attempts throughout the season. The shot putter was one throw away from being eliminated in preliminaries before hitting a then-personal best mark of 19.65 meters. Two misses in the finals later, Bryant again rode the pressure and became an all-American. 

Danny Bryant makes his NCAA all-American toss in shot put. Courtesy of BYU Photo.

“I was just hoping to get a personal best, and I did that,” Bryant said. “The first two throws were not so good, so it wasn’t looking like I was going to make it. I just pulled it out on the last throw. The pressure was there but I didn’t crumble under it:” 

Adding to that pressure was the atmosphere at the Hayward Field, with thousands of fans there to watch the NCAA’s best compete in every track and field event. 

“It was my first time there. It’s just a different atmosphere,” Bryant said. “I’ve never been to a big track stadium where people come to watch track and field athletes. The stadium was packed, everyone was yelling. I love that environment. I think it helped me.” 

Bryant was one of three Cougars to earn all-American honors, as senior Cameron Bates threw for a 72.09-meter mark in javelin while Dallin Shurts hit 59.04 meters in discus. The two BYU seniors had been under the bright lights in Eugene before and kept reassuring Bryant that he belonged there as well. 

“(Bates and Shurts) kept on telling me that I made it this far, and that I belong here,” Bryant said. “Those are really nice things that they said that helped me gain confidence heading into the competition. The competition is the best in the U.S., and I hadn’t competed against half those guys, and so it was a new experience for me. I’m glad that I was able to just be a competitor and put it all out there.” 

From left to right: Cameron Bates, BYU throws coach Niklas Arrhenius, Dallin Shurts and Danny Bryant pose after the NCAA Championships. Courtesy of BYU Photo.

The three Cougars are the first trio of BYU throwers to earn first team all-American honors in the same year and the first three throwers to earn all-American honors in the same season since 1984.   

The junior wasn’t sure what this season would entail for him. Bryant’s main goal earlier in the season was to get over 19 meters. His fourth-place throw cleared that goal by over a meter and made Bryant the first BYU all-American in shot put since 2011. 

Bryant’s progression has landed him a spot in the Olympic Team Trials, where he’ll again return to Hayward Field and compete amongst the best in the country.  

“Short-term goals: I’m definitely working and looking forward to Olympic Trials and seeing what I can do there,” Bryant said. “I’m kind of just going to go in with the same mentality that I went into nationals with. I think it was a good head space to be in, just continuing to do my own thing, do my workouts, the things that help me feel strong and healthy.” 

The all-American knows it’ll be tough to land a spot on the U.S. shot put team, but with his progression and ability to dominate under pressure, Bryant isn’t counting himself out yet. 

“I’d have to hit over 21 meters, probably 22 meters, to be honest, because the USA shot put team is just dominant across the board,” Bryant said. “So I’m not sure. I’m not gonna say that it’s not possible, but it would take a lot to get there.” 

The all-American heads to the Olympic Team Trials on Thursday, June 21, at Hayward Field. 

Danny Bryant prepares for a toss at the NCAA Championships. Courtesy of BYU Photo.

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