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Hammer thrower wins conference title as openly gay man

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‘I’m finally able to compete as who I want to be,’ Chase Boyle says.

Chase Boyle throws the hammer.
Photo by Mount St. Mary's University.

Chase Boyle plans to make the most of what could be his final chance to throw the hammer.

“There is no room to take any safe throws,” Boyle said. “I have to put a big one out there in order to make finals. It will be good to chase three big throws.”

Boyle, a Mount St. Mary’s senior, heads to the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America meet, a college track and field meet held annually since 1876 for top Division I track and field athletes in the Northeast.

Boyle, who came out publicly as gay in November, is one of at least two LGBT athletes competing at the IC4A meet along with William & Mary junior Cavender Salvadaori, who is running the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Salvadori runs Friday and Boyle throws Saturday in the meet at Princeton.

The IC4A meet will be the end of Boyle’s college career, unless he surpasses his hammer personal record by about 5 meters to qualify for the NCAA postseason.

“It’s a little slim right now,” Boyle said of his chances to throw well enough to make the NCAA postseason’s preliminary round. “It’s definitely a lofty goal that I’ve had for a long time. We’ll see if I achieve it or not. I’m definitely not closing the book on it yet.”

Boyle is less than a week removed from achieving another goal — defending his conference title in hammer.

On Sunday, he threw the hammer 175 feet, 7 inches for a second consecutive Northeast Conference victory in the hammer.

“I let go of it. I fell away from the hammer,” Boyle said of his winning throw. “It didn’t feel all that great. I was kind of surprised how far it actually went.”

The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Boyle threw 175-7 on his second throw, which allowed him to throw with abandon the remainder of the event to chase an NCAA qualifying distance. He ended up recording fouls on his final four throws at the conference meet, but none of his competitors caught him in the process.

“It feels good to just throw good enough to win the conference on my bad day,” Boyle said.

He also threw shot put and discus at the conference meet, finishing eighth and 10th, respectively. He only qualified for the IC4A in hammer, so the conference meet was his final time competing in shot put and discus.

Boyle, who owns the Mount St. Mary’s school record in hammer, helped the Mountaineers finish third in the team competition at the Northeast Conference Championships.

Regardless if he extends his season Saturday, it’s been a good season and career, especially since he’s could be open about his sexuality this entire season.

“The biggest pro is just I’m finally able to compete as who I want to be, and I don’t have to hide anything,” Boyle said. “I’d never, ever take it back. It’s been extremely liberating being who I want to be and being the athlete I want to be.”

Boyle graduates Sunday with degrees in accounting and sport management. He is scheduled to start a job June 12 doing government audits for Kearney & Company in Alexandria, Virginia.

“I look forward to being a part of everything there,” Boyle said.

You can find Chase Boyle on Facebook, Instagram @jetlife_95, or by email chase.boyle@yahoo.com.

Erik Hall is a member of the Track and Field Writers of America. He can be reached by Twitter @HallErik, Facebook, or email at hallerik7@gmail.com.