116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS — While Darius King has garnered much of the attention among Northern Iowa’s group of throwers on its track and field team, his friend and former roommate Kyler Yodts has put together a similarly successful college career.
Yodts, who grew up in the Quad Cities with King, competed against his future college teammate in high school and ultimately became the catalyst to convince King to join him at UNI after his own commitment.
“I was actually committed (to UNI) first and I got him to drive with me up here for a track meet and got coach (Dan) O’Mara to notice him,” Yodts said. “(I) kind of helped in the recruiting process of getting him here, which, I’m pretty glad he came.”
Since the duo arrived at UNI in 2017 they’ve broken school records, cracked multiple top 10 all-time lists and been a part of four Missouri Valley Conference championships.
So, when the pandemic hit last March, King and Yodts didn’t hesitate to return, and in Yodts’ case he had to call his future employer and ask for a year to return to school and finish what he started.
“It was kind of hell. Very hectic,” Yodts said. “We found out whatever day it was and the next day — I was supposed to be working full-time for John Deere (after graduation) — and I called up the HR rep the next morning and said, ‘Hey, is there any way we can push back a year?’ They were very willing to work with me, which I’m very thankful for.”
Yodts broke UNI’s school record earlier this year in the indoor weight throw, but will compete in the hammer throw and shot put at this weekend’s MVC outdoor championships in Carbondale, Ill.
He said competing with King in practice while under the tutelage of veteran throws coach O’Mara has put him in position to reach his potential.
“(Darius and I) like to keep it light at practice. A lot of chirping and talking back and forth,” Yodts said. “At the end of the day, the kind of athlete he is — naturally gifted — it’s kind of fun to watch him and try to poke at him sometimes.
“There’s not enough time to talk about all the things O’Mara has done for me. More than anything, just trusting (his process).”
Yodts is second all-time in school history in the hammer throw after throwing 63.97 meters at the Drake Relays last month. He ranks second in the MVC in the hammer throw and 25th in the NCAA’s West Region.
“I’m pretty confident in myself. I’m sitting 25th in the region right now, so I’m pretty safe to make it to (prelims in) Texas in two weeks,” Yodts said. “Now, the next steps are, what do I have to do in these next two weeks mentally, physically in our training to prepare myself to hopefully have a chance to make it out of that prelim? Like Coach O’Mara says, ‘nothing’s impossible.’”