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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jul 22, 2021

Middletown Native Competes at Olympic Trials, Places Among the Country’s Best

By Tim Morris

Andrew Liskowitz joined America’s elite shot putters at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials. The Middletown native was one of the best college throwers in the country prior to the trials held at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. After a strong sixth-place finish in the finals, Liskowitz, a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy, became more than a college thrower; he became one of the country’s finest with a future in the event.

The shot put competition at the trials was unforgettable as it included Ryan Crouser’s world-record throw, 76-8 ¾, breaking Randy Barnes’ 31-year-old record (75-10 ½).

“The Olympic Trials final was incredible. The atmosphere was electric,” Liskowitz said. “I was taking it all in. It’s the pinnacle of the sport. The fans of Hayward are the best. Eugene is called Tracktown, USA.”

Liskowitz played his part in what was the deepest shot put competition in Olympics Trials history. His best throw of 68-9 ¾ was not only tops among college throwers at the event, but the best ever sixth-place finish and 20th best throw all-time at the trials. His throw was also No. 2 all-time by a college thrower.

Liskowitz, who threw collegiately for the University of Michigan, where he was a two-time Big 10 champion and six-time All-American, felt comfortable being in the company of the best.

“I felt very competitive,” he explained. “I knew my technique was solid. My realistic goal was to make the final. I was very happy with how I did.”

Competing against the best is also a chance to observe them and learn.

“With the distances that are happening, the bar has been raised in the shot put,” Liskowitz said. “Crouser is one of the most interesting to watch. He’s 6-foot-7, 320 pounds, and I’m 6-2, 285 pounds. His technique is different, but he is so relaxed. There’s a certain balance between being focused and relaxed. You need you muscles to relax to throw well.”

Although he missed out on making the Olympic team and competing in Tokyo, Japan, Liskowitz has had international experience competing for Team USA. In 2019, he qualified for the World University Games in Naples, Italy.

“It was an incredible experience,” he recalled. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity.”

The CBA and UM grad made the most of it, winning the silver medal.

Liskowitz also learned the travails of international travel. His baggage was left in Orlando, Florida. Luckily, he had packed some clothes in his carry-on bag that tided him over.

It has been quite a trip for Liskowitz going from ice hockey at CBA to the Olympic Trials in the shot put. Liskowitz went to CBA with the goal of playing for its ice hockey team. When he was cut his sophomore year, he turned to track and field.

“I kept myself busy, lifting for hockey,” he explained. The lifting led him to throwing the shot put and discus. Once he made his decision to stick with the sport, he went all out. “I’m so competitive,” he pointed out. “Anything I do, I want to be the best at.”

There was another motive behind working to be the best thrower: he had a goal of using athletics to get into college. His older sister Liv, who played soccer at Middletown High School South and set the school record in the javelin throw in track and field, went on to be a member of the rowing team at Syracuse University.

“She’s the most athletic of all of us,” said Liskowski. “My sister raised the bar pretty high academically.”

In addition to Liv, there was younger brother Christian, who went on to Purdue University and played soccer and competed in track and field.

“We were all involved in sports growing up and played sports together,” noted Liskowski. “I was so lucky to have grown up with that.”

Liskowski said he learned his competitiveness from his siblings, playing basketball in the driveway where elbows were known to thrown.

The big breakthrough for Liskowski in high school was teaming up with former Monmouth University All-American thrower Jon Kalnas his junior year. Kalnas runs Critical Mass, a personal training facility in Tinton Falls, where he trains up-and-coming high school throwers. Liskowski came to Kalnas as a 51-foot thrower. Kalnas turned him from a glider to using the spin technique.

“I worked real hard at it, and I trusted Jon,” he explained.

That trust was rewarded as Liskowski improved his CBA school record to 59-10 ½ and earned all-state recognition. He also improved his discus best to 183-0, another Colt record. It paved the way for him to be a preferred walk-on at UM (track and field scholarships are minimal).

At Michigan, Liskowski was tutored by another top flight coach in Jerry Clayton. He credits Clayton with helping him become a champion thrower.

“He’s such a decorated coach,” Liskowski said. “He gave me a program, and I worked hard.”

With the Olympic Trials behind him, it’s time to look forward for Liskowski, who has not ruled out going for the 2024 Olympics. He’s going to compete in the American Track League (ATL) meets this summer. Although he has graduated from Michigan, he is back on campus training under Clayton. The ATL is designed to help advance American track and field. He hopes that performances in the ATL could lead him to competing in the Diamond League, track and field’s professional league.

“I’m focused on this summer,” said Liskowski. “I plan on continuing to compete.”

His goal for the summer is to improve on his personal best, currently 69-4 ½, and get to 70 feet.