Cody Parker sets GNAC javelin record
Cody Parker didn't just break the Great Northwest Athletic Conference javelin record – he shattered it.
Competing for the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves at the 2013 NCAA Div. II outdoor track and field championships in Pueblo, Colo. on May 23-25, Parker won the national title with a gravity-defying heave of 255 feet, 10 inches, falling just three inches shy of the Div. II all-time record and destroying the previous GNAC mark by 21-1/2 feet.
On his second of three throws, Parker threw the javelin so far most people didn't see where it landed, including UAA coach Michael Friess.
"It landed down in the embankment –- they had officials there that saw the landing, because they had moved well enough back," Friess told the Anchorage Daily News. "It was an amazing throw. Incredible."
Parker, who was the top-ranked junior javelin thrower in Canada when he came to UAA last year, recorded personal bests on his first two throws.
He entered the meet as Div. II's top thrower with a season-best of 234-4.2, recorded in April at a meet in Long Beach, Calif.
On his first throw, the javelin sailed 241 feet. His second went 255-10, a mammoth throw that landed three inches shy of the 1996 Div. II record of 256-1, set by Kirt Thompson of Ashland.
"It's the second best in Div. II history, it's the third best collegiate mark this season (including Div. I), it's the top throw in Canada this year and it'd be ranked No. 5 in the entire United States right now – so yeah, that was one heck of a throw," Friess told the ADN.
Big things were expected from Parker when he came to UAA last year from Comox and he has not disappointed. He was an NCAA All-American as a freshman, placing third at the national championships with a toss of 193-2.
Now a two-time All-American sophomore, the Highland Secondary grad's remarkable performance at nationals helped him garner GNAC Outdoor Track & Field Male Athlete of the Year honours.
The 21-year-old Parker gets better with age. He made his NCAA debut in 2012, earning GNAC Freshman of the Year while being named All-Conference and All-Region leading up to his All-American award.
Prior to joining UAA, where he is majoring in geological sciences, Parker was ranked Canada's No. 1 junior men's javelin thrower after winning the silver medal at the 2011 Pan American Jr. Championships and gold at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games.
Parker's performance at NCAA nationals has vaulted him into the No. 1 position on Athletics Canada senior men's javelin rankings and a contender for the 2016 Olympic team.
In a 2011 interview with the Record, Parker said his long-term goal was to be an Olympian and even then had his sights are set on the Rio 2016 Summer Games.
"I've got a pretty good chance to go," he said at the time. Those chances, like Parker himself, just keep improving every time he picks up the javelin.