Mason Finley Has High Expectations For Himself

March 10, 2011

Lawrence, Kan.-

Usually when there is a high-profiled recruit coming to play his or her respective sport at the University of Kansas, Jayhawk fans typically assume that athlete is a basketball player. Names in recent years like Xavier Henry or Josh Selby come to mind. The causal Jayhawk fan might not have heard of possibly the biggest recruit to come to Mount Oread in recent years, sophomore thrower Mason Finley.

In 1965, future Kansas track and field legend Jim Ryun was named the Track and Field News High School Athlete of the Year – in 2009, Mason Finley joined him as the only two future-Jayhawks to be given that prestigious honor.

Towering above his other track and field teammates at 6-foot-8, some people may think Finley, the Salida, Colo., native, plays football or basketball. Instead, he is the Jayhawk getting the most attention on this year’s track team. Finley came in second place in the shot put at last month’s Big 12 Championships in Lincoln, Neb., with a throw of 19.94m (65-05.00ft.).

“(Finley) probably thought his place was a disaster, but finishing second in the conference championship is a great achievement,” Head Coach Stanley Redwine said.

After a successful showing at the Big 12 Championships, Finley has his mind set on one of his bigger goals.

Finley will be competing in his second consecutive NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend in the shot put. He placed fifth at last year’s meet and was named the 12th All-American in Jayhawk history.

“I’m feeling pretty good (going into nationals). My form is looking great, a lot better than it was the past couple of weeks. I feel like I’m going to throw close to my personal record,” Finley said.

If he wants to throw close to his personal best, that will be quite the lofty task. At the KU-MU dual in January, Finley had one of the best performances in KU track and field history, his shot put mark of 20.71 meters ranks as the top mark in the NCAA and the World in 2011. It serves as an ‘A’ Standard qualifying mark for both the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“My main goals would be to break the NCAA records in my events,” said Finley, who also mentioned that he wants to either coach, or pursue a career in theater after he is done breaking shot put and discus records. “I really want to try and make it to the Olympics. I just want to try and throw the best I can.”

Finley already has made quite a name for himself in high school as well as during his time in Lawrence. While he is only a sophomore, Finley still has plenty of time to continue to live up to his expectations and reach all of his enormous goals.

The 2011 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships will be held March 11-12 on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.