One day later, Richard Quick could hardly believe it.
“I think I just won a national championship,” Quick wrote Friday on Twitter. “Did that just happen!?!”
Five days after his achievement, the North High School graduate, a 6-foot-7, 305-pound fifth-year senior at Ashland University, still couldn’t process what happened Thursday when he won a Division II national indoor championship in the weight throw in Birmingham, Ala.
“It still hasn’t even sunk in yet,” Quick said. “Basically, what it means is everything I’ve been doing for the past four and a half years has actually culminated in something. It means I’ve been doing everything right. It’s awesome. I have no words to explain how good it feels.”
Quick’s throw of 68 feet, 3¼ inches came out of nowhere in a way. He had thrown farther before: 71-11¾ last season, but he battled a back injury this season and ranked fourth among throwers at the national meet.
Fourth as a junior in the event, Quick never expected to win the championship this season. The three athletes ahead of him were all at least two feet better.
Quick picked a good moment to unleash the best throw of his season. His first throw at the national meet won him the championship. His coaches and teammates congratulated him when he won, but Quick couldn’t wait to talk to his family. He wasn’t allowed to use his phone until he was out of the competition area, and the first person he called was his mom, Denise Williams.
“She was screaming and crying,” Quick said. “I could barely understand her.”
Quick overcame more than a back injury to become a national champion. He was born with three holes in his heart and has had to see a cardiologist throughout his life. Two of the holes closed on their own, but one remains. It’s smaller than the size of the head of a pen, but Quick has to get it checked out every couple years.
He also had asthma when he was younger and had to use a breathing machine several times a day until he was 7 or 8. He still carries an inhaler, but only as a precaution.
Quick got his start in track in seventh grade at Roosevelt Middle School. He had just gotten out of detention and was playing basketball with some other students when a coach approached and said, “Your arms are long. Have you ever considered doing track?”
Quick said, “It didn’t cross my mind.”
The coach put a discus in his hand, showed him how to throw it and the rest is history.