Former Lakeside High School standout Reese Hoffa had another good showing last month at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The former University of Georgia All-American and U.S. Olympic Team member nearly won another national shot put title. He finished second behind winner Christian Cantwell.
Hoffa posted a throw of 21.33 meters, just 0.32 meters behind the winning throw of 21.65 meters by Cantwell.
After a stellar prep and college career, Hoffa slowly started to emerge as an elite national performer. In 2003, he earned his first big win on a national platform when he took first place at the Pan-American Games. At that time, he was ranked No. 9 in the world, and No. 5 in the U.S. in the shot put.
In 2004, he really exploded on the national scene. He earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team with a second-place finish at the Olympic Trials. He also posted three victories in national events, as well as four second-place finishes.
By 2006, Hoffa was ranked No. 1 in the world after victories in the U.S. and World Outdoor Championships. In 2007, he won six major events, including a defense of his title at the U.S. Outdoors and a victory in the world Championships.
The following year, he won the Olympic Trials to make his second consecutive U.S. Olympic Team. He would finish seventh at the Olympics, but came back to win four first-place titles in 2009 and ended the year ranked No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 3 in the world.
Congratulations to Hoffa on another terrific accomplishment. He is putting together a resume that is among the best of any athlete to ever call the Augusta area home.
More golfers perform well
In my previous column I mentioned the accomplishments of Columbia County golfers Austin Vick and Carter Newman. Local golfers continue to post noteworthy finishes.
Greenbrier's Jonathan Lilly got off to a hot start at the Palmetto Junior Classic in Columbia last month. The rising senior carded an opening-round 71 and found himself one shot out of the lead with two rounds to go. Cody Shafer was also in the mix, tied for sixth after an opening-round 73. Robert Robertson opened with 76 and was tied for 22nd.
Lilly shot 74 in round 2 and went into the final round tied for second. He faltered a bit in the third round with a front-nine 41, but showed a lot of moxie with a back-nine 35 that allowed him to post a Top 5 finish in this prestigious event.
Shafer and Robertson finished in a tie for 20th.
Shafer put together his best tournament of the year with a dominant performance in a big American Junior Golf Association event.
Shafer completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Burgett H. Mooney Jr. Classic, winning by three shots with rounds of 67-69-70, good for a 7-under 206 total.
Chase Koepka. of West Palm Beach, Fla., finished alone in second place. His brother, Brooks Koepka, is a rising junior at Florida State.
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