Some athletes choose to run away from disappointment, clearing it from their memory as fast as they can. Payton Otterdahl found it more useful to hang on to the letdown of last year’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, when he entered as the top seed in the shot put and finished 10th.
“It stayed with me all year,” the North Dakota State senior said. “That performance just made me more excited and hungry to compete this year. I’ve been using it as fuel.”
Those emotions boosted the Rosemount native to new heights. Otterdahl, who will compete in the shot put and discus at the NCAA outdoor championships this week, won NCAA indoor titles in the shot put and weight throw in February. He also holds the collegiate indoor record in the shot put with a throw of 71 feet, 6¾ inches.
That throw was second in the world during the indoor season, surpassed only by defending Olympic champion Ryan Crouser. Outdoors, Otterdahl’s top throw of 70-1½ is 12th in the world this year.
“The way the indoor season went just sets a new standard for me,” said Otterdahl, a two-time Class 2A champ at Rosemount High School. “To know I’ve hit those kinds of marks and done it pretty consistently gives me a lot of confidence.”
Though his time as a college athlete and multi-event thrower will end this week, Otterdahl will remain at NDSU to train in shot put, targeting this summer’s U.S. championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.