By Garrett Zatlin - MileSplit Recruiting Correspondent
When it comes to track and field, blazing relays and individual performances on the track might draw their fair share of viral moments.
But out in the field, with a stable of talented and sometimes under-the-radar athletes, titles can often be won.
Just ask the Texas Tech men, the 2019 NCAA Track and Field team champions.
The Red Raiders scored 35-percent of their 60 points out in the field a year ago, outpacing Houston -- a team built on sprints -- to ultimately secure their first team title in school history.
Developing NCAA-championship-level field event athletes is half the battle.
And so, we've decided to dive into the country's best prospects for the upcoming recruiting cycle. Here are five of the most valuable boys throws recruits for the Class of 2021.
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Bryce Foster (Katy, Texas)
A fast-developing thrower, Foster is a Texas powerhouse from Katy Taylor High School who showed us in February that he has a very high ceiling.
This past outdoor season, Foster, a four-star offensive guard in football who has offers from programs like LSU, Oregon, Texas and Texas A & M -- all of which are NCAA track and field legacy programs -- launched an incredible throw of 198 feet, 0.5 inches in the discus, a mark that left him ranked No. 3 in the nation for the short-lived spring season of 2020. That was a personal best by over 10 feet compared to his 2019 sophomore PR of 187-2.
It should also be noted that Foster has a shot put PR of 64-3.75 from the spring of 2019, too. That throw ranked him at No. 20 in the country at the time.
And Foster showed us this past spring that he can do even more damage as a national-caliber talent. His breakout performance in the discus indicates that there is room for additional growth.
If you're looking for a thrower with great upside and someone who can continue to thrive in a collegiate setting, Foster is likely your guy.
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Connor Vass-Gal (New Wilmington, PA)
Vass-Gal is just flat-out talented. The Pennsylvania native had an outstanding indoor track season, launching a throw of 63-11.75 in the shot put at the PTFCA Championships. That mark ranked No. 3 in the nation this past winter.
The only catch? It didn't win Vass-Gal, a Wilmington (PA) High School junior, the state title; instead, he had to settle for second as Maryland commit Jeff Kline took home gold.
In fact, that throw wasn't even his personal best. Vass-Gal's PR of 64-4.75 came from the spring of 2019, ranking him No. 17 in the nation at the time.
Admittedly, Vass-Gal doesn't have the same success in the discus as someone like Foster does. Still, his consistency in the shot put is underrated and he has learned to have his best performances in the postseason.
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Ian Hall (Newport, RI)
Stepping away power throw events like the shot put and discus, Hall offers ncredible value as a javelin thrower.
With a personal best of 214-5, the Rogers (RI) High School junior has easily placed himself among the nation's elite javelin throwers. The difference is that Hall secured that mark as a sophomore, earning the country's No. 3 ranking during the spring of 2019.
Much like steeplechasers or 400 meter hurdlers, Hall was one of the athletes who was truly hurt from the loss of the 2020 outdoor track season, as his event speciality takes place only during the spring months.
While many fans of the throws may be focused on what was accomplished in the shot-put this past indoor season, it's important to not forget about the javelin throwers and the untapped potential that we didn't get to see from them this year.
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Logan Coles (Woonsocket, RI)
Yet another Rhode Island native, Coles was one of the nation's best weight throw talents this past winter. The Woonsocket High School junior was the country's top-ranked weight throwers by over six feet, with a personal best of 77-4.5 (which also ranked Coles No. 4 overall).
On top of the weight throw, Coles also has a impressive personal best of 230-11 in the hammer throw -- an event that is sometimes overlooked in the NCAA, but one that doesn't hold any less value from a scoring standpoint.
Admittedly, his shot put and discus throws aren't quite as strong as one would expect based on his weight throw and hammer throw success. That, however, tells us that Coles still has more to offer and could be due for a breakout performance and a new PR in the future.
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Jacob Tracy (Austin, Texas)
Much like Foster, Tracy is a rising senior from Texas -- specifically, Austin Lake Travis (TX) High School -- who specializes in the discus. His personal best of 183-7 from the 2019 outdoor season was ranked No. 60 in the nation that year, but it's important to remember that he was only a sophomore at the time and was the second-best discus thrower in his class.
Much like Hall's work in the javelin, Tracy didn't have a chance to secure a new PR this past spring after pandemic concerns cancelled the outdoor season.
But it should be noted that his shot put PR of 60-3.5 (also from his sophomore year) was ranked No. 57 in the nation back in 2019, which made him the fifth-ranked thrower of his class in that event.
Tracy is a discus specialist with a strong shot-put PR who had essentially no opportunities to compete this past winter (he threw only once during the 2020 indoor season).
Despite Tracy's extended absence, it's important to remember his place among this year's discus greats and what he can offer in the shot put as well.
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