If you google Brandon Heroux and find a young man throwing the javelin, you've got the William and Mary junior who won that event at last weekend's Penn Relays.
The Brandon Heroux skydiving at 10,000 feet and zip-lining from cliff to cliff is another animal entirely.
Skydiving is "on my to-do list," Heroux said, but so far, he's getting his kicks closer to the ground.
Heroux's javelin throw of 73.09 meters (239 feet, 9 inches) in Philadelphia bettered the second-place finisher in the college division by almost 6 feet and gave him his second Penn Relays title. Heroux won the high school division as a senior with a throw of 202 feet.
That old video can be found online, too, featuring a 6-foot-3, 170-pound Heroux with "my jersey falling off my shoulder." Now closer to 6-5 and 205, Heroux broke his own William and Mary record with his latest throw, and also broke the all-time school mark in the event (javelins were re-designed to travel shorter distances in 1985).
"It was definitely a cool feeling, just walking across the field to the winner's podium and having that whole crowd on Saturday be there. It was by far one of the best meets I've ever been a part of," Heroux said. "It was definitely nice to be back, and nice to be back and have a good performance as well. … I picked a good time to have another PR."
At Westfield (N.J.) High, Heroux took up track and field as a way to stay in shape for his first love, soccer. He and a good friend, who'd thrown the javelin before, decided to give that event a go, but it wasn't exactly love at first toss.
"I was pretty god-awful," Heroux said. "I just didn't really care much about it. I didn't really want to do track."
In fact, "I got kicked off the track team my sophomore year for missing too many meets for soccer," he said. "Luckily they let me back my junior year — not with open arms, but … I went back my junior year and really actually decided to put some time into getting better. It was something new, so it was like, 'This is interesting. I'm learning as I go along and I'm getting better, too.' "
Heroux's climb continued at William and Mary, where greater scholarship money led him to give up soccer for track and field. He was named the Colonial Athletic Association rookie of the year in 2008-09, when he became the first Tribe field athlete to make the NCAA championships since 1975, finishing 19th with a throw of 208 feet, 7 inches.
As a sophomore, he was runner-up at the Penn Relays, but didn't make it past NCAA regional competition. Dan Stimson, William and Mary's director of track and field, said an unusual injury was partly to blame.
The ulna in Heroux's right arm was longer than his radius, a rare condition that was causing the connecting tissue between the bones to tear when Heroux threw, Stimson said. Surgery corrected the problem, though Heroux missed a chunk of his sophomore season.
"This year, instead of being laid up in a cast or a splint for the whole summer, he got to weight train a lot and did a lot of throwing," Stimson said. "He's certainly a whole lot stronger, that's for sure, and the technique's better. He's worked very hard and he's shown the ability to compete well."
Heroux's sights are now set on the CAA championships, which start Friday in Richmond, and on the NCAA East Regionals, which begin May 26 in Bloomington, Ind. A top-12 finish there will send Heroux back to the NCAA championships on June 8 in Des Moines, Iowa, where the top eight finishers earn All-America honors.
Heroux's performance in Philadelphia also qualified him for this summer's U.S. Senior Championships, though Heroux, a finance major who was last year's CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year in track and field, is unsure how much he'll be able to train, considering the internship he's got lined up at powerhouse finance firm J.P. Morgan.
Next summer, the Olympic Trials loom, though Heroux, who just received dual citizenship through his Canadian-born father, is deciding which country he'll try to represent.
"Javelin throwing in the U.S. has become a lot more popular. The talent pool is definitely getting a lot bigger," Heroux said. "Canada has a fewer number of prominent throwers. (There's a) better chance at getting to the next level.
"If I can continue to progress … I've dreamed big so far. I guess I'll continue to dream a little bigger."
William and Mary javelin champion Heroux throws himself into success
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