Wrapping Up PHS Track Career at National Meet, Brennan Bringing Love of Throwing to Dartmouth
The link to Tim Brennan’s YouTube channel ends with the words “live2throw”
Brennan exemplified that mantra from the day he joined the Princeton High track team as a freshman to competing in the New Balance national championships earlier this month in his final meet for the Little Tigers.
This fall, he will be taking that theme north with him as he joins the Dartmouth College track team.
Brennan, who caught the bug for throwing as an eighth grader at the Cranbury School, got further encouragement from some veteran teammates when he joined the PHS squad.
“There were two good senior throwers in the team when I came in as a freshman, Drew Reifinger and Omar Yousef,” said Brennan. “They were really good role models.”
After being slowed by appendicitis as a sophomore, Brennan produced a break out season the next year.
“In my junior year in the county meet indoors, I broke the 50-foot mark in the shot and got first,” said Brennan. “In the state meet that spring, I came in 5th in the discus with 151’8.”
One of the secrets to Brennan’s success has been his dedication to learning the craft of the sport.
“Over the past few years I have read a lot of articles and watched a ton of videos,” said Brennan. “I have gotten a better grasp of throwing, both from world class throwers and local athletes.
In addition to soaking up information regarding the fine points of throwing, Brennan has radically changed his approach to strength training over the years.
“Basically I did general lifting until junior year. I went from power lifting to explosive Olympic-style lifting,” explained the 5’11 Brennan, who went from weighing 155 pounds as a freshman to his current 215 pounds.
“In Olympic lifting you do the power clean and snatch. You focus on movement, particularly quick leg movement. You are moving weights quickly. In power lifting, you are try to move the most weight you can. I realized it was more important to see how fast you could move the weight, as opposed to much weight you could move.”
As Brennan approached his senior year, he was looking to move up the ladder, starting with the shot put over the winter.
“In the county meet indoors, I wanted to do 55 feet in the shot and get the county title,” said Brennan. “I won and threw it 53’11 so that was close. In the state I came in third.”
Once track moved outdoors for the spring, Brennan was looking to make a statement in the discus.
“I wanted to break the school record of 158 in the discus,” added Brennan. “I did that early and then I wanted to break 180. I did that on my last throw in the Meet of Champions. I sort of knew I had one heave in me. It came together. I had some throws in the 170s. It came down to the final throw and I hit it and I was praying that it was 180. When I heard that it was 180’9, that was one of the greatest feelings. I worked so hard for that.”
Brennan put in good work for PHS on the national stage last week at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals at Greensboro, N.C., placing 11th in the hammer throw with a mark of 199’6 and taking 12th in the discus with a heave of 172’4
“It was a great experience going against some of the best competition in the country,” said Brennan, who wasn’t the only PHS athlete to excel at the meet as the quartet of sophomores Joe Gray and Jacob Rist together with junior Conor Donahue and senior Matt Wong took fifth in the 4×800 in the Emerging Elite division in a time of 8:04.53 while junior Michelle Bazile placed eighth in the discus with a throw of 132’11.
“I saw a lot of New Jersey throwers. I think we had three of the top 12 in the hammer and discus.”
In considering his options regarding throwing in college, Brennan looked at a number of schools before Dartmouth emerged as his top choice.
“The serious recruiting started in the beginning of my junior year; I was looking at a broad range of D-I and D-2 schools,” said Brennan.
“I had my list down to a some of the big ones like LSU and Oregon. Over Thanksgiving, I contacted a few more coaches, including coach [Michelle] Clayton at Dartmouth. I liked the athletics and academics at Dartmouth. She told me I could get a likely letter through athletic support. I went for a visit and I really liked the throwers. It was my last official visit. I went in January and I knew that it was the right place for me.”
As is his custom, Brennan is taking a serious approach in preparing to make the jump to the college level.
“It is going to be an adjustment to heavier events; the hammer goes from 12 pounds to 16 pounds and the discus goes from 1.6 kilograms to 2.0 kilograms,” said Brennan.
“I have to continue to work hard and make a gradual adjustment. It will take a year. The throws programs in the Ivy League and the track teams overall are getting more and more competitive.”