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Throwing the Distance

Mercedes Glover, of Rutgers–Newark, and Tim VanLiew, of Rutgers–Camden, are All-American javelin throwers.

Mercedes Glover and Tim VanLiew
Mercedes Glover, who just completed her first year at Rutgers–Newark, and Tim VanLiew, who graduated from Rutgers–Camden this spring, were named All-Americans for their talents throwing the javelin. Photography by Nick Romanenko

The first javelin thrower, according to Greek mythology, was Hercules, son of Zeus, who likely toiled in relative anonymity. Little has changed, because the track-and-field event certainly doesn’t have the cachet of pro basketball. Who would grow up wishing to throw the javelin? For Mercedes Glover, a sophomore at Rutgers–Newark, and Tim VanLiew, who just graduated from Rutgers–Camden, pursuing excellence has always been its own reward.

Glover, who played softball and basketball at Burlington Township High School, says she thrives on the individual nature of the javelin. “That’s perfectly fine with me,” says Glover, who threw a school-record 42.45 meters at the Division III outdoor track-and-field championship in the spring of 2011, finishing fourth and named the first All-American in women’s track and field at Rutgers–Newark. “I keep to myself. Not a lot of people have that driven motivation. It’s definitely perfect for me.”

For VanLiew, the self-discipline needed to excel at the javelin came naturally. He starred as a soccer goalie for four seasons at Rutgers–Camden, a lonely position that demands its own inspiration. “I was always able to discipline any aspect of my life to keep motivated,” he says. VanLiew first threw the javelin as a senior at Deptford High School, finishing first in a tricounty (Gloucester, Burlington, and Camden) meet and qualifying for the statewide Meet of Champions. At the Division III track-and-field national championships last spring, VanLiew threw a school-record 62.13 meters—good enough to be named, like Glover, an All-American. In May, he became the 2012 NCCAA Division III champion in the event—only the second time that Rutgers-Camden has won a national championship and the first for an individual. (The first was won in 2006 by the Scarlet-Raptors women's softball team.)
                                                                                                                                                  — Christopher Hann