COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Four athletes broke the 100 mph mark for the first time in event history as the Warrior 40 kicked off at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. on Tuesday.
Kieran Eissler from Coronado (Las Vegas) won the fastest shot skill competition with a 103 mph shot in the final to set a new Warrior 40 record.
“Paul Rabil is my idol and when I saw him break the world record I thought if I work hard in the weight room and practice every day I can do that too,” Eissler said. “I’ve been clocking my shot for a year now. I’ve been using weighted shafts and doing everything I can. About six months ago I was in the high 90s and my brother and I were working hard every day and it’s progressively gotten faster week by week. My goal is to hit 106 before the year ends.”
However, Eissler was not the first Warrior 40 athlete to break the century mark. JT Blubaugh from St. Francis DeSales (Columbus, Ohio) set the tone for the day when he laced a 100 mph shot on the third try to break the previous record of 99 mph set by Timothy Stackpole at the 2011 event.
La Salle (Wyndmoor, Pa.) rising senior Matt Rambo hit 102 and John-Jay (Cross River, N.Y.) defender Jack Lambert hit 101 to make it four players to make it into triple digits.
Rabil, of Major League Lacrosse’s Boston Cannons, set the World Record of 111 mph in 2010.
Better With Age
Nick Fields from Bullis (Potomac, Md.) is one of four returning Warrior 40 athletes. This year the rising senior won the agility competition with a time of 10.41 seconds.
The defender placed in the Top 10 as a sophomore last year, but held the top spot for the entire event this season.
“I knew how to cut and that’s a football thing and we’ve been doing drills for that all summer,” Fields said.
Jack Lambert from John-Jay (Cross River, N.Y.) placed second with a time of 10.65 while Bear Goldstein from St. Mark’s (Dallas) and Garret Van de Ven from Dallas Jesuit (Dallas) tied for third with a time of 10.78.
Mile High Impact
Known as the Mile High City, Denver is one mile above sea level and according to the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau, even finely tuned athletes can feel the difference.
The post on the board’s High Altitude Tips webpage recommends that runners who normally run 10 miles a day opt for six instead, for example.
Ken Clausen was a four-time All-American at the University of Virginia and was drafted by the Denver Outlaws in 2010 and knows a little about the effects of the elevation change.
“I remember the first game I played with the Outlaws. I told the trainer I was going to die. I thought I was going to pass out,” Clausen said. “Even more than playing I remember going up the stairs to my apartment and having to stop and catch my breath.”
But after one day of skills and drills, the effects didn't seem to weigh on the minds of the athletes who are competing 10 miles outside of Denver.
“You can definitely feel it. It’s not too bad, but as you keep going harder and harder you can tell it’s harder to breathe.” Justin Guterding from Garden City (N.Y.) said. “We’re not too worried about it; this is all for fun and I don’t see one guy out here who hasn’t had a smile on his face all day.”
“I’ve noticed it’s not as humid as it is in Florida,” Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.) rising senior Devon Lewis said. “You don’t sweat as much out here as you do in Florida and I feel like I’m running better.”
The Warrior 40 athletes take the field at 10:40 a.m. Wednesday as part of the Warrior 40 final competition.