Cantwell throws big -- his baby's a load, too

May 11, 2008 

Christian Cantwell let out a roar that shook the block around Modesto Junior College and followed with a "Whooo!" when the shot put pounded the ground 71 feet, 4¾ inches away Saturday at Modesto Junior College Stadium.

The straight and true put was the third-longest in the 67-year history of the California Invitational Relays, the best put in the world this year, and it gave Cantwell his third consecutive victory in the meet.

Cantwell is in for a busy summer. He has trips to Los Angeles, the Netherlands, Eugene, Ore., and Beijing on his itinerary, and he knows a detour will disrupt one trip this month when a nine-pound bundle of joy that's growing by the day arrives.

Cantwell's wife, 2000 Olympic shot putter Teri Steer, is carrying a baby boy whose size is drawing as much attention as his name, given by Mom, according to Dad.

When Teri said she favored the name Jackson Daniel for baby Cantwell, Christian responded, "Jack Daniels, that's cool." He said that's the first reaction of the friends he tells, too. A month before his arrival -- May 27, by cesarean section -- Jackson Daniel's weight was estimated at nine pounds with a birthdate weight of 12 pounds.

"His femur length is off the chart," Christian said.

Cantwell accomplished a goal Saturday, to improve on his performance at the Drake Relays two weeks ago. Cantwell's winning put Saturday was nearly three feet better than his 68-6 winner April 26.

His winning heave in Modesto was also nearly three feet better than runner-up Russ Winger of Idaho (68-5¼) and unattached third-place finisher Dan Taylor (68-5). Even Cantwell's worst throw, 68-8 on his first attempt, would have beaten Winger.

Only Brian Oldfield, who tossed a record 72-3 and 72-½ in 1981, has put the shot farther than Cantwell at MJC.

Launching from MJC's plywood surface works in Cantwell's favor, though he said he slipped "I think 3 inches" on his first attempt.

"(The plywood) was moving down -- dipping," Cantwell said. "I like plywood, actually. Being heavy, it's hard to turn on concrete."

Cantwell had a similar positive reaction on the attempt that followed his winner, only this one went left and landed 70-8½ away. Cantwell said better form might have resulted in a longer put than his winner.

"It went a little more to my left," he said.

Bee sports editor Bill Poindexter can be reached at bpoindexter@modbee.com or 238-4588.

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