The buzzer sounds, and the fans storm the court. Hilltop lore is littered with such moments – a number witnessed in 2005, let alone the entire course of Georgetown’s athletic history.

Yet the unforgettable events last weekend at MCI Center inspired HOYA SPORTS to pass on a few select stories from Georgetown’s deeper past. The memorable moments we’ve chosen span five sports and more than 60 years, but the lesson they share is that the exhilaration of dramatic victory just never seems to get old.

The first achievement we profile is of an individual, one who retains the title of “Georgetown’s greatest athlete” despite focusing on a sport that was hardly his truest love.

Even in 1940, Time magazine did not hesitate to label the shot put the “dullest of sport events. . On a track-meet program, it is usually an incidental diversion while running races are being staged.”

Al Blozis (C ’42) preferred football, but freshman eligibility rules precluded him from competing on what was then one of the finest gridiron squads in the country. So with the help of track and field Head Coach Elmer “Hap” Hardell, he worked on refining his shot put skills.

The sport was not new to Blozis. Track and field was among the four sports in which he competed at Dickinson High School in Jersey City, N.J. A gawky teenager who drew the ridicule of track team members as he passed practices on his way home from school, he was dared to “come over and put the shot” one day; soon after, he was spending his afternoons on the other side of the fence.

In high school, Blozis was an all-state tackle and won the New Jersey state shot put championship. At Georgetown he was a star. Arthur Daley of the New York Times called him “the most magnificent physical specimen that these eyes have ever seen,” and UPI selected him as one of the three outstanding athletes of 1941 – along with two sportsmen by the names of Ben Hogan and Joe Louis.

The most amazing day of Blozis’ collegiate career came in April 1940. Georgetown indoor track was competing at the concluding Amateur Athletic Union meet at New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Blozis was competing in another universe entirely.

He picked up the 16-lb. ball and flung it. It landed 55 feet 1 inch away, breaking the previous world indoor record by two and a half feet.

He launched the 12-lb. ball. Three feet beyond the existing mark.

Finally, the 8-lb. ball. He heaved it 78 feet 1/4 inches.

Blozis had just added eight feet to the world record.

The capacity crowd roared at what THE HOYA called “one of the most amazing weight feats yet recorded in history. . Since Al’s first appearance on the track, newspaper correspondents predicted immediately that he would soon become the next world’s champion weight man, but little did they think that [Al] would better the world [12-lb.] mark by more than three feet.”

“Big Bertha” was the toast of campus. He was favored to win gold at the 1940 and 1944 Olympic games – or at least he would have been had World War II not precipitated their cancellation. He was rumored to “toy around” with a 20-lb. shot put. Time Magazine wrote that “before the summer is over, track fans expect Blozis to smash [Jack] Torrance’s world’s outdoor mark for 16 lb. (57 feet 1 inch) as well.”

It never happened officially. But while posing for a newspaper action photo later that year, he hurled the ball 57 feet 9 inches, earning the unofficial title of “Mr. Shot Put U.S.A.”

Blozis’ story ends sadly, as World War II ended up extinguishing more than the Olympics. After a distinguished college football career that saw an Orange Bowl appearance, second-team all-American recognition and, eventually, an NFL Rookie of the Year trophy and playoff appearance, Blozis enlisted in the United States Army.

He had tried to do so after graduation from Georgetown, but was rejected because he was too big for a uniform.

A member of a French mountainside scouting party in the midst of a fierce snowstorm, Al Blozis was declared missing in action on Jan. 31, 1945. His body was never found, although a fellow soldier later claimed to have witnessed the fatal blast from German machine-gun fire.

Blozis was awarded the Bronze Star and his number, 32, was retired by the New York Giants. THE HOYA, on May 11, 1945, wrote him an obituary.

“We could go on almost indefinitely relating his deeds, telling how time after time, he broke his own world’s records in the shot put, how he astounded pigskinners with his amazing coordination and speed,” it read. “But none of us will ever be able to express in words how big a man Al really was. They just don’t issue those kind of words.”

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