When he was sitting on a hospital bed 18 months ago, Jack Lint would have never predicted that he would be the second-highest decathlete performer in Michigan’s history upon return.
As the fifth-year senior nursed his shoulder immediately after surgery, he could not have imagined throwing a javelin 56.79 meters, a distance over four-and-a-half meters longer than his previous best. But he did — putting himself into prime contention for a spot in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
“I really didn’t expect it to happen this soon or that well or that I would get a huge (personal record) like that,” Lint said.
It seems unlikely on the surface, but Lint delivered with a come-from-behind win at the Jim Click Shootout, winning the event with an overall personal score of 7,596 points. 690 of those points came from the javelin throw, which was essential for him to win the overall event.
The throw prevented Lint from falling 125 points behind, as his original throw would have had him do. The latter throw allowed him to surmount Texas Tech freshman Axel Hubert, the eventual runner-up, with a 116-point comparative victory in the 1,500 meters.
Thanks in no small part to an extreme level of dedication and an admirably positive mentality, Lint completed the race of his life.
“I was rehabbing, you know, two or three or four hours a day, every day,” Lint said, “pretty much all the way through at least February or March and then after that, you know, continuing another hour or so every day. … My goal was always to come back and compete, you know, throw. So I kind of kept that in the front of my mind the whole time.
“My rehab process was definitely a lot longer than anticipated or expected, so just to keep that in mind, even though things weren’t happening fast. ‘Eventually I’ll get back’ was what I was telling myself.”
Lint worked incredibly hard in pursuit of his goal, fighting to get back to full strength even in the face of setbacks and complications.
“I couldn’t even really run until November or December (2017),” Lint said. “So three or four months without running, and no running fast until January, so this past year has just been building back to where I was.”
Despite that being what Lint has had to do over the last year, his actual performance does not reflect as such, a result he chalks up to confidence. Lint told his coach that he was going to throw a personal best in the javelin during warmups for the event, a remark met with a laugh that looks foolish in hindsight.
“I just had confidence that it was gonna work out well,” Lint said. “And then in warmups, everything was going well. It just came together.”
Whether it was confidence, ambivalence or just good juju, the result was anything Lint could have hoped for. His journey back to the level he wants to compete at is far from over, but he certainly laid an auspicious groundwork and has plenty to be excited about moving forward.
“It was just really awesome to get a personal best in the whole decathlon, and then also to know that my shoulder is back to being better than it ever was,” Lint said. “I think that was definitely the highlight of the entire trip.”