Friday, September 25, 2015

          3L Nick Howe: Javelin Champion

          Howe’s dreams of competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are a study in determination and perseverance.
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          3L Nick Howe, a two-time NCAA champion and the UC San Diego record-holder in the javelin throw, is a member of an exclusive club of athletes who have mastered the technical demands of an ancient Greek sport.

          He is currently balancing his final year in law school with a vigorous training schedule that he hopes will lead to a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.

          Javelin is a Howe family legacy. During Howe’s senior year in high school, he found his dad’s old javelin—his father competed for UC Riverside—and started to throw it in a field near his house. He quickly realized he had an aptitude for the sport and when he went to UCSD, he joined the track team, making history for the school with his record throws and NCAA wins. His younger brother also went on to throw javelin for UCSD. The sibling rivalry apparently benefited both of them; while Howe still holds the school record, his brother claims the second best throw.

          Competing at the elite level while attending law school requires singular commitment. Howe has always prioritized academics and his daily schedule is an exercise in precision. He devotes between four and eight hours a day, seven days a week, to training when he is not in one of his morning classes at UC Hastings, at his part-time job at Nielsen Merksamer or helping to coach javelin at Stanford.

          Howe, who grew up in the Bay Area, transferred to UC Hastings from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2014 after his wife took a job with Apple. Maintaining his focus on his Olympic dreams has been a challenge since the move because his training is now much more solitary than it was in San Diego. “Everyone says track & field is an individual sport. It’s not. I could be in the gym for six hours and not get as much done by myself as I could in 30 minutes with other people who are working towards the same goal as me,” remarked Howe.

          Howe has competed in the nationals for the past three years and intends to return to the nationals in 2016 where he will attempt to make the U.S. Olympic team. Despite acknowledging the Quixotic nature of the quest, “total insanity” keeps him going. “Intellectually, I know there’s a very slim chance I’ll make the Olympics. I’ve thrown the Olympic standard in practice but the results haven’t translated during competition. There are a lot of guys who are really good and it’s going to take a lot of luck. But there’s a side of me that throws logic to the wind when I train and says ‘I can do this.’”  

          While Howe does not yet know what his javelin-throwing future holds, he does know that he wants to be part of the ever-changing Bay Area community after he graduates from UC Hastings next spring. He is interested in business law and has enjoyed recent classes in bankruptcy and Chinese law. “My strength lies in knowing and understanding the intricacies of complicated material,” said Howe, who also claims to know more than most about 1960s muscle cars.  

          For Howe, the recipe for success, whether in law school or with the javelin, is all about the little things. “You just need to put your head down and grind and do the work,” said Howe, making his accomplishments seem deceptively attainable. 

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