Senior Justin Odom (Williamsburg, Va./Menchville) was another EMU student-athlete who looked poised for a huge spring. A thrower on the track & field team, he had just finished his best indoor season and was ready for his work to pay off outdoors when the year was shut down.
Throughout the winter, Justin was consistently throwing a meter better than he did in 2019. In January, he broke his PR with a put of 12.70m (41ft-8in) to move up the EMU leaderboard to the No. 7 spot in program history. He had his best ever finish at the ODAC Indoor Championships where he took ninth.
As much as his personal improvement was a story for his team, Justin’s personality was as big of a spark for his teammates.
What was your mindset coming into this season and how did you prepare for it?
My mindset coming into this season was to break all the records in shot put! I was in the best shape of my life. I was definitely the strongest thrower in the ODAC. I never cheated the system, even when no one was watching. I knew I had the throw in me, I just had to keep practicing.
What was driving the improvement in your throws this year?
The most dramatic improvement was in shot put. I finally started throwing over 40 feet for the first time in my career. I was one of the Big Boy throwers this year.
You've seen a lot of change in the coaching staff during your four years. What has excited you about the coaches you have worked with the last two seasons?
I have enjoyed all the coaches I had the past two seasons. They taught me valuable lessons about how to adapt and perform well in the midst of change. No matter who is coaching, my work ethic never changed.
What was it like for you to have the outdoor season cancelled before it even started?
The outdoor season being cancelled broke and ripped my heart out. I was just coming off a knee injury throwing personal records on just brute strength. My form returned before spring season was cancelled. I was disappointed because I knew I could have broken the school record. All my hard work over the past four years felt like it was stolen from me. I wanted to make all my coaches and teammates proud. I wanted to show them that the greatness they saw in me was true. I knew I could have destroyed the entire ODAC Conference in the spring!
What will you miss about your teammates?
I am going to miss the moments in practice where we were all utterly exhausted at practice, and all we had the strength to do was laugh. I am going to miss the look on their faces when they set personal records. I am going to miss them. I saw them as my family. I saw them as friends. We shared a bond that I will never forget.
What is something you have learned about yourself during your time as an EMU Royal?
I learned that I am a fighter. I also learned that I am a natural-born leader who loves being a part of a team.
What is your major and what do you want to do after college?
I am a double major in Political Science and Biblical Studies with a minor in Vocal Performance. I plan to pursue an internship in DC to start a career in Political Science.