FINDLAY, Ohio (WTVG) - Liberty-Benton High School graduate Austin Combs is quietly making a name for himself as he closes his collegiate track and field career with the University of Findlay. Academically, Combs has senior status with the Oilers and he also has two-time NCAA Division II Indoor Weight Throw National Champion to his credit.
"My grip is about the same as everyone else's," Combs said. "What we do is, a lot of throwers we use a spray. You're allowed to spray it on your glove and it is sticky. It helps with being able to hold onto the ball without have to worry about it falling out."
Austin Combs has a grip on his craft in the cage. But this past indoor season was not an easy road to a repeat national championship.
"Coach was telling me all year that I was going to have to work much harder than I did the previous year and that it is much harder to repeat," Combs said.
Combs won both of his indoor titles at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.
"He came back with a lot of pressure on himself and you know he struggled," Findlay head coach Blaine Maag said. "We had a conversation going through the season, 'You know you're not the best. You need to start acting like it in training instead of walking around the street.'"
The weight throw is an indoor only event. Now Combs is in the hammer throw season outdoors. The biggest difference between the two is the weight throw is a heavy object with a shorter wire while the hammer is lighter with a longer wire. Combs finished third in the hammer at the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championship.
"You have to change your speed throughout turns," Combs said. "You can't move the weight throw like you can the hammer throw or else you're going to end up on the ground."
The indoor eligibility for Combs is now over. He redshirted in 2018 for the outdoor field season, mainly so he could have eligibility next spring with the hopes of qualifying for the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials.
"We've added a turn, actually we've added two turns from when he throws the weight," Maag said. "So there's a lot of things going on. Hopefully we can get it. I think he will. Like today is probably his best practice in two and a half years so we'll probably just invite you guys out for the rest of the year so we can get that going by May."