Between tearing his patella and meniscus in his knee in 2011 and all he has accomplished since then, Rauhof would easily be in the running for Comeback Athlete of the Year if there was an award.
“I was told by doctors I would never be able to throw anymore,” Rauhof said.
But as a result of choosing to do otherwise, Rauhof was recently named the first-ever Peach Belt Conference Field Athlete of the Year.
“It’s an honor,” Rauhof said. “I never expected it especially after being told I was never going to be able to throw again.”
Rauhof received the award after winning the hammer throw and shot put events April 20.
“It’s been one heck of a season,” Rauhof said. “I wasn’t expecting it. I figured I would do it for fun.”
Rauhof’s original plan was to throw for the Air Force Academy, but his freshman year there didn’t work out too well and he decided to enroll at Clayton State since it wasn’t far from his Peachtree City home.
Following his rehabilitation, Rauhof was asked by track and field coach Mike Mead to mentor a younger thrower. During that process, Rauhof started lifting to get back in shape and believed he could at least throw recreationally.
“Throwing felt good and it didn’t hurt so I decided I would give it one more shot,” he said.
Now, Rauhof has his mind set on performing well in the hammer at the Georgia Tech Invitational, which is schedule to begin May 10.
“If I hit necessary mark there then I can go to the nationals,” he said. “The nationals are the goal. I would really like to be there. That would put the finishing touches on a season that probably never should have been.”
The “nationals” Rauhof is referring to are the NCAA Division-II Outdoors Championships, which are scheduled to start May 23.
Also seeking a business management degree, Rauhof had some words of encouragement for athletes who heard similar medical advice.
“Never give up,” he said. “Train smart and focus on your technique. What hurt me is what helped me. Be a little stubborn. Don’t always listen to the doctors when they say ‘you can’t do it’ because it’s not always true. They err on the side of safety.”