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T.J. Crater
Position: Assistant Coach, Throws
Hometown: East Wenatchee, Wash.
Alma Mater: Idaho
Graduating Year: 2002
Experience: 3 Years

T.J. Crater joined the Washington staff right at the end of 2011 to take over the storied Husky throws program in his home state. Crater's successes at every level have seen him rise quickly through the coaching ranks, and his passion for teaching the sport and familiarity with the Pacific Northwest makes him a natural fit at the University of Washington.

A native of East Wenatchee, Washington, Crater got his coaching start at Central Washington University, earning national honors, before moving on to the D-I level at the University of Nevada, and then on to the throws coach at Penn State University, where from 2009 to 2011 he helped numerous Nittany Lions to NCAA podium finishes.

During his time at Penn State, Crater also began coaching world-class professional shot putter Ryan Whiting, a partnership that continued through Crater's move to Seattle. Whiting was a finalist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2013 World Championships silver medalist in Moscow.

While rebuilding the depth of Washington’s rotational throwers through excellent recruiting classes, Crater has continued Washington’s javelin run, with Huskies making up a quarter of the West Region’s NCAA entries last year. Seniors Joe Zimmerman and Jimmy Brookman, and freshman Carson Fuller all advanced to the NCAA final site last year, with Brookman earning All-America Second Team honors for the second straight year, and Zimmerman and Fuller getting honorable mention. Zimmerman was Pac-12 runner-up in 2013 and 2012 in his two years working with Crater.

Jordin Seekins graduated with her best season in 2013, scoring at Pac-12s for the first time and advancing to West Prelims in the javelin, setting a PR of 151-3 that ranked sixth in UW history. In Crater’s first year in 2012, senior Angus Taylor extended his hammer throw PR to 204-2, ranking seventh in UW history, and he placed 15th at West Prelims.

In Crater's three seasons at Penn State, his athletes combined for 11 All-America honors and five Big Ten Conference titles. Three of Crater's throwers earned third-place finishes in their events at either the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships, and under Crater's watch, twenty new marks were written into the Penn State Top-10 outdoor records or Top-5 indoor lists.

In 2011, Penn State had two senior shot putters among the nine finalists at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Joe Kovacs took third overall with a best of 62-2 ¼ and Blake Eaton was ninth at 60-9 ¼. Earlier in the spring, Eaton had won his second straight Big Ten title, with Kovacs taking second. In 2010 it was Eaton who was third at the NCAA Outdoor meet in the shot put, and at NCAA Indoors in 2010, again it was Kovacs who placed third overall, while Eaton was eighth.

On the women's side, Karlee McQuillen captured the Big Ten javelin title in 2011, and three more Nittany Lion javelin throwers would place third, fifth, and seventh behind her. McQuillen and freshman Laura Loht would both advance to the NCAA Outdoor meet, placing 10th and 15th, respectively. In 2010, McQuillen was third in the javelin at NCAAs, throwing a season-best 171-2.

During Crater's first season, Tanner Evak won the Big Ten men's javelin title, and Emma Schmelzer earned Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championship honors, by virtue of scoring 21 individual points with second-place finishes in the discus and hammer, and a fourth-place effort in the shot. Kim Hanslovan set the women's school record in the javelin at 178-4 and advanced to nationals.

Prior to Penn State, Crater spent the 2007-08 season at the University of Nevada. That year was highlighted by his work with Inger Appanaitis, who placed 13th in the javelin at the 2008 NCAA Championships, the best finish ever by a Nevada thrower, and then went on to place 18th at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. Appanaitis also won the WAC javelin title and scored in all four throwing events at conference to finish as the High Point Winner for the championship. She hit the West Regional marks in all four events. Sophomore Constance McAlman also was a West Regional qualifier in the discus and hammer throw, placing top-12 in both.

Crater's coaching career got its start at CentralWashingtonUniversity in Ellensburg, Washington, where he spent four seasons. At Central, Crater was named the 2007 USTFCCCA Division II National Men's Assistant Track and Field Coach of the Year after also winning the West Region honor. Crater coached 10 NCAA qualifiers who combined for 30 national qualifying performances. He also coached nine All-Americans at the Division II level and 12 Great Northwest Athletic Conference individual champions. His throwers helped power CWU to the 2007 GNAC title.

Crater helped Cameron Neel to five All-America honors and eight GNAC titles at Central Washington. Neel was named NCAA West Region Athlete of the Year in 2007. His athletes set eight conference records.

A four-year letterwinner for the University of Idaho from 1998-2002, Crater was a five-time All-Big West Conference performer, earning the distinction three times in the hammer throw and twice in the shot put. Crater also hit the NCAA qualifying standard in the weight throw indoors in 2002.

Crater attended Eastmont High in East Wenatchee and received his Bachelor's degree from Idaho with a double major in forest resources administration and forest products timber harvesting.

Crater and his wife, Shery, welcomed their first daughter, Baylee, in December of 2010.

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