Patience and Persistence Pay Off for Eric Favors
Eric Favors has been patiently building himself up for this moment. After qualifying for the NCAA East Regional for the third straight year, South Carolina’s redshirt junior shot putter will make his first appearance in the NCAA Championships later this week in Austin, Texas.
“This is the reason I’ve worked so hard,” Favors said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Nothing is given. My freshman year, I fouled out (at regionals). Last year, I threw it 18 meters and didn’t make it out. I went into this offseason with a mission; to make it to nationals and compete with these dudes because I know I’m on their level.
“I don’t take anything as a failure. I take it as a learning lesson. You have to keep learning and building, and whatever happens, happens.”
While he can break down technique, minor adjustments and his mental approach, Favors doesn’t mince words about his keys to success at nationals.
“I just have to throw it far,” Favors said with a laugh. “I try not to think too much. There are a couple of cues I have to follow, but for the most part I can only handle what I can control, so I’ll just do my best.”
“I’ve worked so hard, and it’s paying off now.”
– Eric Favors
Favors had the good fortune to compete and learn from outstanding teammates in his event over the years, including All-American Josh Awotunde (2015-2018), and he was happy to step out of those shadows and shine at this year’s regional meet in Jacksonville, Fla.
“After we found out what my distance was on my throw, my teammates screamed, ‘you’re in!'” Favors said. “It was amazing. As soon as I found out that I had qualified, it was a sense of relief. After not qualifying in the previous years, I really felt confident this year. I had a belief in my ability and made it happen. It felt good.”
Favors noted that getting more accustomed to his technique helped him get over the hump this year.
“This is my fourth year with the rotational technique, and it just feels comfortable,” Favors said. “Coach (Curtis) Frye had told me to act like I had been there before in order for me to level up. I’ve competed against those guys, week in and week out, and I was able to do it.
“The coaches have spent the last couple of years helping me as much as they can. They’ve helped me so much.”
Having a positive mental approached has also helped in his development.
“Negative thoughts can come and go,” Favors said. “You just have to focus on the positives. I got into yoga this year and writing down all the cues of every single practice for months. I’ve been planning this for a long time. The mental aspect is a huge part of competing.”
Now that he’s checked off one goal on his list, Favors still has more he wants to accomplish. While there can certainly be distractions in reaching the NCAA Championships, Favors has an easy answer to what he’s looking forward to the most.
“Just competing,” Favors said. “I’m so happy to have another opportunity and another competition to perform. There’s nothing intimidating about it. I know I’m at the level as these other dudes. I’ve worked so hard, and it’s paying off now.”
Inspired by seeing South Carolina’s 4x400m women’s relay team win a National Indoor Championship earlier this year, as well as Paul Jubb from men’s tennis winning the 2019 NCAA Singles Championships last week, Favors can’t help but be excited about the possibilities in his future.
“I think about being on the podium,” Favors said. “That’s one of my goals. I’ve worked this hard to get here. I have another opportunity, and I’m just going to compete to the best of my ability that day. Whatever happens, happens.
“We have all the complexes, facilities, and coaches here. It’s a great place. We have what it takes in order to win, and you’re seeing it!”
The 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held June 5-8 in Austin, Texas.