Sam Mattis, the greatest discus thrower in NJ history, earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team with a third-place finish in the discus at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Friday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
The 27-year-old Mattis, who graduated from East Brunswick High in 2012 and has served as a volunteer assistant at Rutgers, unloaded his best throw of the competition (205-1) on his first attempt. The 205-1 kept Mattis in first-place until the fifth round when Mason Finley sent the saucer 206-11. Finley's mark stood up as the winning throw.
Reggie Jagers, in fifth place after five rounds, then moved past Mattis into second place on his sixth and final throw (205-5). But when Brian Williams, the next to last thrower in the final round, recorded a 196-2 on his last attempt, Mattis, the final thrower, had locked up third-place.
James Plummer, who starred at Central Regional High School and Rutgers, placed seventh in the discus with a throw of 195-11.
Mattis is the third NJ high school graduate who has made the U.S. Olympic Team so far, joining women's triple jump winner Keturah Orji (Mount Olive High, and men's javelin champion Curtis Thompson (Florence High). N.Y. native Rudy Winkler, who competed for Rutgers for one season, made the Olympic Team by smashing the American record when he won the hammer throw to earn a spot in the Olympic Team.
Making the Olympic Team is a fitting culmination for Mattis, who has been smashing records and winning national championships at every level possible ever since he burst on the scene as a high school freshman.
It was obvious that Mattis was destined for greatness when he made a stunning high school debut at the Colts Neck Relays on April 13, 2009, sending the saucer sailing 169-6 to smash the NJ state high school freshman record
Mattis went on to become just the second boy in state history to win three straight Meet of Champions titles in the discus, set the still-standing NJ state high school record of 218-4 at the 2012 GMC Relays, won the discus at the Penn Relays, and was a two-time New Balance National Champion.
Mattis was just as dominant in the circle on the collegiate level.
At UPenn, Mattis was a three-time NCAA All-American in the discus, captured the 2015 NCAA Championship, set the American Collegiate record with a mark of 221-3 at the Philadelphia College Classic at UPenn, and he placed ninth at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Three years after graduating from The Wharton School of Business in 2016, Mattis claimed the USATF Outdoor Championship in the discus with a throw of 218-9. He went on to reach the finals at the 2019 IAAF World Championships, finishing 11th in the competition.
Now, Mattis is headed to Tokyo to represent the U.S. in the Olympic Games, which are scheduled for July 23-Aug. 8.