Junior looking to build on early success for run at title
To put it simply, Cameron Cornelius is a beast of a man.
The junior shot put thrower already has two indoor American Athletic Conference championships to his name, two outdoor AAC silver medals, an NCAA record throw and all-conference honors in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
This year, Cornelius looks to propel his success from the last two years into the national spotlight.
The Cougar: You were a four-year letter winner at Deer Park High School, do you feel that gave you a certain advantage when you arrived at UH?
Cameron Cornelius: I (don’t) really think that gave me an advantage, because there’s still high level competition. It was more like I had to start building my own base again before I could move forward.
TC: How did it feel winning the inaugural Indoor AAC championship, finishing second at the outdoor meet and earning all-conference status as a freshman?
CC: For the Indoor it felt really good because I had just come off a knee surgery three months prior. My coach and I worked extremely hard, and to win it as a freshman was good. It meant a lot to me. Outdoor was bittersweet because I only lost by an inch. At the same time, (it was) very gratifying because I was one of the only freshmen to hit 60 feet.
TC: You’ve had back-to-back Indoor championships, but also back-to-back second place finishes at the outdoor championships. Are you confident that you can get over the hump this season and win both titles?
CC: Yes, I feel very confident because my coach and I have implemented new things into my training and fixed things in the weight room to the point where I’ll be strong enough to be able to push the ball way out beyond what I did last year. I’m looking to not only just beat the competition this year, but to the point where there is no competition.
TC: You reached the NCAA West Regional last year, what are your goals this season in terms of the national stage?
CC: My goal this year is obviously (the same as) every year, but I think I have a good shot this year to be a first team All-American, which means to make the final at the NCAA meet. At the Regional meet you only have three throws to get it done because of a rule change last year. At regional, you have to go in and take care of business — on one of your three throws just put a good one out there to set the tone — and then you can concentrate on nationals.
TC: Your personal best throw is an NCAA record. Do you feel you can beat that mark in the upcoming seasons?
CC: I feel very confident that I will be able to beat my mark. (Our) goal this year was set at 64 feet — which is three feet further than my previous personal best. I feel very confident that I will be able to surpass that easily. After last year it will just be another average throw for me.