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UT track star Tripp Piperi eyes repeat National Championship

An injury almost ended the Longhorns star's senior season. Now Tripp Piperi is ready to chase a second National Championship.
Credit: Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman

AUSTIN, Texas β€” If you step foot inside of a Texas track-and-field meet, one voice you will surely hear is Tripp Piperi's. The Longhorns shot put star screams at the top of his lungs with each and every throw.

"I just get into a zone, I get amped up. I feel the adrenaline coming on," said Piperi. "A lot of it is I have a lot of emotion and I love to do this – and also, I like to put on a show."

He is almost always the star of the show. Tripp has won seven Big 12 Championships; he is a five-time All-American; he won a National Championship in 2019, and in 2021 he set a school record with a 21.74-meter indoor toss, which is third best in NCAA history.

Tripp's senior season started as well as possible, then hit a snag when he injured himself at practice, just days before the indoor National Championship.

"I took my first practice throw and I fell over the toeboard and tore the ligaments in my high ankle, and also tore my meniscusm," said Piperi. "It hurt – in that aspect, it sucked."

What came next was surgery, then intense rehab.

"I was in the trainer no less than two hours a day, and most of the time it was more like four or five," he said.

Just 53 days after surgery, Tripp was cleared to defend his Big 12 Championship, and he did so with two goals in mind – "win" and "send a message."

"Let's make sure everyone knows I'm back," said Piperi. "I got into the ring and I was like, 'OK, this is going to be loud!'"

Tripp let out his standard scream as he threw the shot 19.8 meters to win a seventh Big 12 Championship.

Tripp is still working to get his form back to where it was when he set the school record, but he said his raw strength – exemplified by a 777-pound squat – is enough to impress while he works his way back.

"At that point it's an emotion thing," said Piperi. "If I need to I can launch one and get rowdy and have fun, and tell everybody, 'I'm back!'"

"Mentally, in that meet, I was like, 'I'm not going to a.) lose my first Big 12 Championship meet since I got to college, and b.) have someone else take it from me," said Piperi. "I don't want to give anyone else the pleasure of beating me."

Next up for Tripp is the NCAA Championship final, followed closely by the Olympic trials. Tripp is less than three months removed from surgery and estimates he is "about 80%," but his goal remains lofty for these two huge events.

"I'm going to go for it," said Piperi. "I'm going to put everything I can in that ring and show everybody that no matter what, I'm going to give it my all. So, there will be screaming!"

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