West Ranch alum prepares for first NCAA championship meet 

Danny Bryant prepares for a toss. Courtesy of BYU Photo

Former West Ranch thrower Danny Bryant has come a long way since injuring his wrist two years ago. 

Bryant, a BYU thrower, has bounced back since the injury that ended his freshman season and will now compete in his first NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. 

The BYU junior has picked up momentum this season, with numerous personal best marks, as he’s shifted his focus onto shot put.  

Bryant hoped for a big personal record to end last season but instead topped his personal best by a centimeter yet again. Coming into his junior season, he was ready to take the next step. 

“At the end of last season, I PR’ed by a single centimeter,” Bryant said in a phone interview. “It wasn’t the number that I was hoping for, but I will take a PR. This year, I was just really hoping that I could pull away from that tradition of PRing by one centimeter and it was fun. I started off the season with hitting 18.86 (meters), a 4-centimeter PR and I kept on building with it. Then outdoor season came along and I started doing a lot better, hitting over 19 and didn’t look back.” 

The former Wildcat picked up a ton of momentum at the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego. Bryant had never hit over 19 meters in shot put but was looking to crack into the new territory. The Cougar threw a 19.42-meter bomb, demolishing his previous PR and earning him a silver medal. 

Bryant grew from there on a bigger stage at the Big 12 Championships. The environment was new for most of the athletes of BYU, which just joined the conference this season.  

Danny Bryant prepares throws in shot put. Courtesy of BYU Photo

“This was our first year in the Big 12 conference,” Bryant said. “We got to have a lot better competition than in years past. We haven’t been a part of a big power five conference like this one so there are a lot of big names there, especially in the throws community. It was fun to just kind of get out of my comfort zone and try to compete with the big dogs.” 

Bryant was surrounded by throwers hitting the 19-meter mark. After a lightning delay kept throwers out of the ring for several hours, he not only showed he belonged, but also won another silver medal with a 19.59-meter mark on his final throw of the meet. 

“We got called back to the track again at around 11:30 at night and we threw at midnight,” Bryant said. “It was fun being under the lights. I was just running on caffeine at that point, but my last throw was my best throw. I jumped all the way up from eighth place to second place.” 

Bryant was aiming to go strong for every throw at the NCAA Regionals. With only a few opportunities to get to the NCAA Championships, he’d need a great throw to qualify but did so on his first attempt. The junior threw for 19.4 meters, easily qualifying him for his first trip to Eugene. 

The collegiate track season is a long journey for the athletes who make it all the way to Oregon. 

“With the season being so long, it always gets tough,” Bryant said. “Usually midway through the season, injuries start coming up and you start spending a lot more time in the training room just because your body’s fatigued. It’s a 16-pound metal ball that you’re trying to throw far. Mid-season, you usually have a little slump but getting out of the slump usually consists of me going and talking to my trainers. Not focusing on how far the ball goes but more so about my technique.” 

Despite a history of BYU throwers in the Bryant family, including Danny’s uncle Doug and father Dan Bryant Sr., Danny didn’t start throwing until his freshman year of high school.  

He excelled in shot put and discus, landing him his spot at BYU. As a freshman, he hurt his wrist at the NCAA regionals, ending his season. One surgery, two seasons and 45 pounds of muscle gained later, Bryant will take the stage among the best college athletes in the United States. 

“I’m excited for it. This is gonna be my first time ever going to the Oregon track,” Bryant said. “I’ve heard amazing things about it from all my teammates that have competed there. Everyone that goes there likes it. The atmosphere is different and so I’m excited to see what will happen. I’m just going to enjoy it because it’ll be fun going up against some of the best guys in the country.” 

“I think I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t care about placement. It’d be cool to be a first-team All-American.” 

Bryant will accept the outcome whether it ends with him being named an All-American, national champion or coming home empty-handed. The junior is feeling optimistic about his chances and will aim for one more big PR, and hopefully some hardware, before heading into summer.  

Danny Bryant prepares for a toss. Courtesy of BYU Photo

“I’m feeling good. Today in practice, I hit a little practice-PR, that’s always fun to do,” Bryant said. “I think I’m peaking at the right time. My coach has put me on a really good workout program this year that’s helping me peak around this time for nationals. I’m feeling explosive. I’m able to feel my body for those important cues that come up during the throw and it’ll be exciting to see what happens. I’m just gonna try to leave it all out there because these are my last three throws this season.” 

Bryant takes the field at Oregon on Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. in the NCAA shot put national championships. 

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS