KINGSTON, R.I. - Driving 729 miles, passing through six states in four days, competing at three events in four days and breaking one 34-year-old record – that was the life for Rhode Island track & field senior Samuel Snyder last week.
All those other numbers were part of a dizzying week for Snyder, but his mind was focused the entire time on one other number – 177 feet, three inches. That was the distance he needed to set Rhode Island's school record in the discus.
Snyder's week got started last Wednesday, a day later than expected thanks to some inclement weather that pushed a meet at Holy Cross back a day. There, he notched two new personal bests, one in the shot put (56' 2.75") and one in the discus (173' 6.75").
With no rest in sight, it was time to get back on the road Thursday morning and head to the 122nd Penn Relays - a comfortable four-and-a-half hour, 256-mile trip through five states. Snyder spent much of the ride self scouting, watching video of his throws from the Holy Cross meet.
"I kept watching the same video over and over again trying to find some imperfections and pay close attention to the details of my throw," he said.
The 40-degree morning - with the addition of rain later in the day - didn't seem to faze him all that much. Snyder notched a third-place finish in the discus with a throw of 170' 4" and then proceeded to take sixth in the shot put with a toss of 53' 10.25."
"I was a little disappointed I didn't reach my goal at Penn," he explained. "I missed 177'3" at Penn my sophomore year by six inches, and thought it would be pretty cool if it came full circle."
After a long day's work, a day off was much needed. It was a day that included a drive back to the URI campus to get ready for a third day of competition in four days.
"Going into Brown on Sunday, I either wanted to foul out or finally reach the record," Snyder said. "My coaches told me go for it, either go get the record or foul out trying."
The Brown University Open marked the final tune up for Snyder before heading into the Atlantic 10 Championship. On his last throw of the afternoon, he finally reached 177' 3" in the discus, breaking the second-oldest record in URI program history. The previous record of 176'8", set by Kent Bolsters in 1982, had stood for 34 years.
"It was a huge relief, I felt like the world had been lifted off my shoulders," Snyder said. "It was also pretty cool to do it in front of a bunch of alumni and former teammates who were there cheering me on."
For Snyder, the record was the latest milestone in what has been his best season yet. A three-time Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week, he won the A-10 Indoor title in the shot put while helping the Rams win team titles at both A-10 and New England Indoor Championships.
Snyder and his teammates will be looking to collect more hardware this weekend at the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championship. Competition begins Saturday morning at George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, Va.