Rumor has it that John Langhauser shed a few tears during the Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts romantic affair, “Notting Hill.” Not what one would expect from a burly thrower on the verge of breaking the Yale shot-put record, but then again, there isn’t much about Langhauser that conforms to the cocky machismo image so commonly associated with his sport.
The confident yet humble captain knows how to put in the hours to achieve his desired results. One testament to this characteristic is the fact that after not qualifying for any finals in the shot put at Heptagonals in his sophomore year, Langhauser returned in his junior year to take first in the same event.
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And he does not rest on his laurels.
The thrower works tirelessly in what he terms his “pursuit of perfection in technique.” Anyone hanging around Coxe Cage in the early morning hours during the dead of summer may have caught a glimpse of the New Jersey native working on his throw.
“I think the reason that he’s gotten better each year is that he’s worked extremely hard,” teammate Nathan Noll ’09 said.
Langhauser — the middle child in a family of five siblings, all athletes — has a soft-spoken way about him. He made sure to express what an honor it was to be selected as the captain of the nearly 60-member track team. He has also built up a close relationship with throwing coach Anna Mahon since her arrival during his sophomore year, and constantly emphasizes his great respect for his fellow track teammates.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without my coaches or my team,” Langhauser said. “They’ve been great.”
Mahon noted her athlete’s commitment to his craft, and attributed his performance to a reverence for the sport.
“He’s very passionate about shot, and I would say that is coming out in his throw,” Mahon said. “He is very interested in it both athletically and intellectually.”
With Langhauser breathing down the neck of the record, Mahon said John just needs to focus on being the best athlete he can be, and “that’s going to open up the floodgates.”
Record or not, Langhauser — who competes in discus, weight throw, shot put and hammer throw — does love his sport. He lightheartedly said that it is “a really cool event: how far can you throw a heavy object.” But he also admires the objectivity of throwing.
“There’s nothing subjective about it,” Langhauser said. “You have all these standards to compare your distance to. You know exactly how far you’ve come.”
Yes, he appreciates his 2006 Ivy League Championship, but it is the progress Langhauser has made since his freshman year of which he is most proud.
Despite his pursuit of immaculate throwing technique, Langhauser’s dorm room hygiene is decidedly less pristine. Jared Holst ’07, his fall roommate, said that sometimes John’s full-size bed was so filled with clothing and clutter that he would sleep on his floor, which, being in Morse, happens to be made of cold, hard slate. On an inspired night, he may clear off a three-foot space upon which to doze.
In his waking hours, the Langhauser enjoys watching movies. He cites Wes Anderson works as some of his many favorites, but said he can’t pick a favorite genre because he watches so many varieties of film. The electrical engineering and computer science major enjoys also enjoys poker, and is currently designing a computer program that will play poker for his senior project. Most of this work is done on “Thermaltake” — the computer he built and lovingly named.
Langhauser’s friends rib him about being the shortest thrower on the team, and the soft-rock station that is often playing when the throwers pile into his Ford Focus doesn’t help his cause much either. But he does fit the thrower machismo stereotype in one way: John loves the X-Man Wolverine. Holst said he often quotes the character and leaves the testosterone-charged words of the superhero on his away messages.
And in the end, the tearful sucker for romantic comedies doesn’t shy away from making others cry — especially his competitors at Coxe Cage.