Winkler letting it rip at the NBIN. (Photo by Jack Labriola)
Welcome to Track Chats 2012! We continue with NY thrower Rudy Winkler from Averill Park HS in New York. Rudy recently threw the Hammer a US#4 All-Time distance of 248-5 at the Sam Howell meet in NJ. Rudy is ready to go this season and lets you know all about it below!
MileSplit - 248-5! How does it feel to have put a big mark like that out there?
Rudy - Feels great so far. I don't have to worry about getting a huge mark in this year. The rest is easy, I just need tokeep improving and stay healthy.
MileSplit - Was it intimidating or helpful to be throwing alongside the collegiate athletes? Did any of them give you advice, talk with you during the competition?
Rudy - It wasn't so much intimidating throwing with collegiate throwers. Some of them were big names I know like Conor, and others were people I once competed against. So in a way in was encouraging but it didn't effect me much.
MileSplit - When & how did you get started in track & field?
Rudy - My dad made me do track in 5th grade. I hated it haha, but after spending some time with the runners and jumpers I found that throwing was where it's at. It basically took off from there. Started throwing weight in 8th grade and hammer going into my 9th grade year. I've loved it ever since.
MileSplit - Person/people most influential to your success in track & field?
Rudy - Not many people have influenced me deeply. No one in specific at least. There's always my family and friends that keep me going, and there's all the people that I used to watch on youtube to give me inspiration. It's odd being able to say that I'm at thier level or that I'm even friends with those athletes now. That's been huge in my throwing career.
MileSplit - Your favorite track & field event(s)?
Rudy - My favorite event is hammer by far. There's nothing like it.
MileSplit - Your track & field event coach(es) and what they mean to you?
Rudy - I've had a lot of coaches over the years. Some of them are better than others. My old High School coaches Andy Welkley and Scott Keegan were great because they sort of got me really going with track, and my current coach Paddy means a lot to me. I honestly don't feel like I'd be where I am without his guidance.
MileSplit - Keys to your successful track & field training program?
Rudy - I don't have any keys to my training that are different than anyone else. Just willing to do the work I need to do and work every day at it.
MileSplit - Your favorite track & field meet?
Rudy - I don't really have a favorite meet really. I try to treat all my meets the same, no surprises or let downs that way.
MileSplit - Your favorite performance in track & field?
Rudy - I enjoyed my performance at New Balance Outdoor Nationals 2011 the best I think. I had already won indoor nationals and I was one of the favorites coming into outdoor nationals. My first two throws were fouls and my third barely got me into finals. I didn't end up winning until my last throw of the meet. Never have I been so close to giving myself a heart attack haha.
MileSplit - Track & field athlete(s) you most enjoy competing against?
Rudy - There is always the Rhode Island guys like Joe Velez and Reuben Horace, and the Throw One Deep guys always prove to be some of the top throwers. I go to meets trying to compete with myself really. In the end it doesn't really matter what place I got or what place my other competitors got, if I had a bad meet I will be disappointed, and if I have the best meet of my life but get last I'll still be happy.
MileSplit - Your greatest experience in track & field so far?
Rudy - My greatest experience was the World Youth Championships in Lille, France. There was no other time I've had such a fun time competing. I got to meet a bunch of top athletes from around the world and see new places. It was all around one of the best times of my life.
MileSplit - Goals for the 2012 track & field season?
Rudy - My goals right now are to just keep improving. The World Junior Championships are always in the back of my mind and is one of my major priorities. For now I just need to keep training hard and competing well.
MileSplit - Long-term goals in track & field?
Rudy - Long term goals would to be to go to college and maybe compete in the Olympics some day. That would be so far away though, no need to stress over it now. For now concentrate with the small goals and they will lead me to the bigger ones.
The Fun Run
Do you like rock or pop…
Rudy - rock pop
Do you like shorts or jeans…
Rudy - shorts
Do you like Words with Friends or Angry Birds…
Rudy - neither... bubble spinner
Do you like Facebook or Instagram...
Rudy - facebook... Instagram??
Do you like going out or chilling at home...
Rudy - chilling at home
Do you like sun or snow...
Rudy - sun all the way.