Junior Liam Lovering practices a throws on Feb. 1 at Rauch Fieldhouse. Lovering is one of three team captains for the men's track and field team. (Connor Malinger/B&W Staff)

Lehigh junior thrower Liam Lovering’s self-critique pays off


In late 2020, during Lehigh’s early decision application period, track and field assistant coach Allison Taub logged onto a Zoom call with now junior, Liam Lovering.

Lovering, a shot put and discus thrower at Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, was Taub’s first one-on-one Zoom call with a recruit, as she was still new to the program. 

Though Lovering was confident he could be a Division I thrower, Taub described his marks as “good, not great,” which the Maryland-native agreed with. 

However, Taub ended the call determined to get Lovering to South Mountain.

“Liam, on the Zoom call, was himself,” Taub said. “He was confident that he could throw at the next level if he was given the chance to. I remember getting off that Zoom call and saying, ‘I have to get this kid. This kid is going to be something special.’” 

Three years later, Lovering holds Lehigh’s fourth-best mark for indoor shot put, third-best for the weight throw and is .66 meters from Lehigh’s all-time discus record. 

Still, the self-critical Lovering did not end his first collegiate season with the marks he wanted. As a freshman, he had to adjust to a heavier shot put and discus than used during his high school career.

Lovering also began training for the weight throw, which he threw only twice during his freshman year, describing it as “not pretty at all.” 

“My mark wasn’t bad, but in the picture of the NCAA, it’s not good at all it was pretty terrible. So Allison [Taub] was like, ‘this ain’t it this year.’” 

Though Lovering placed sixth in discus at the Patriot League Championships in 2022 in a downpour, he credited his success to being better prepared than his competitors, as he had competed in the rain before.

Junior Liam Lovering prepares to throw weight on Feb. 1 in Rauch Fieldhouse. Lovering improved his third all-time mark at the Lehigh-Lafayette Dual Meet to 17.95 meters (Connor Malinger/B&W Staff).

“I kind of told myself, ‘Hey, you got a free pass, you scored because you were a bit more prepared, because you were lucky, but next year it’s probably not going to be that lucky, so you got to actually work and be competitive,” Lovering said. 

In the offseason, Lovering added 30 and 50 pounds to his bench press and squat, respectively. 

Now even stronger, Lovering entered his sophomore season determined to improve, especially in the weight throw, in which he attempted to better his technique after sparsely competing in the event in practice and meets.

With the record books as motivation, Lovering said marks from teammates and other competitors are what drive him during meets.

“Liam is the most competitive person I’ve ever met,” sophomore thrower Wil Jaques said. “He thrives under pressure, and he is always putting in the extra work. He is always showing up early and setting up before everyone even gets there.”

Before meets, Lovering starts the day off with a Rubik’s Cube, which he often does before meets because it takes his mind off the throws. He endures his teammates’ jokes as he solves the puzzle, sometimes confusing red and green in certain lighting due to his color blindness.

During the outdoor season, Lovering made it to the first round of the NCAA championships for discus. 

Before the next season, he was unanimously voted captain by his teammates, which Taub said was not surprising. 

“Liam, from the day he stepped on campus, was a leader,” Taub said. “You never have to ask him to do something because he’s already going to be doing it.” 

However, Lovering was diagnosed with a bulged disc, which he believes he sustained sometime in his sophomore spring season, which kept him from throwing from June to October.

“People [were]telling me, ‘Oh, you’ve been injured, you’ve got to give yourself time to come back,’” Lovering said. “That kind of thing is frustrating because I don’t want time to come back, I want to be back.” 

Lovering was unsure if he would be back for the start of the season. He recalls lying in his bed in September, staring at the ceiling, his back still in pain, with a mixture of angst that he could miss the start of the season and longing to get back to the sport he loves. 

Lovering was able to make his comeback before the first indoor meet, where he claimed second overall in the weight throw and shot put in the Mountain Hawk Opener at Rauch Fieldhouse.

Junior Liam Lovering talks with senior Alex Clevenger while waiting for his turn in the circle on Feb. 1 in Rauch Fieldhouse. Lovering is one of three captains on the men’s track and field team this season. (Connor Malinger/B&W Staff)

Despite this success, Lovering was unhappy with his results as he shook off the rust from the injury, but during the team’s 106-75 win against Lafayette, Lovering said he cemented his return. 

Lovering steps into the throwing circle for the weight throw and faces the back of the cage. He holds the weight to his left and begins to spin counterclockwise to build up momentum. It takes him three spins before he releases the weight, almost falling forward due to the sheer force he threw with. He and Taub watch the weight as it passes all his previous marks, and everyone else’s at the meet, for a personal record of 17.95 meters. 

Lovering would go on to win the shot put and help guide the Mountain Hawks to their 10th straight win over Lafayette, but as always, he is focused on the next meet. 

“The fact that it’s a sport where there is a record for everything, you know that there’s room to improve, especially if you don’t have [the record],” Lovering said.

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply