SportsTrack & Field

Two Oregon throwers are locked in a meme war, and it’s not about to end anytime soon

It all started with a barrage of unglam photos that Austin White, a shot putter for the Oregon Ducks, sent to his Snapchat friends starring his teammate, Ryan Hunter-Simms.

White fired the first shot last January when he discovered an old photo of Hunter-Simms sporting a milk mustache in a selfie captioned “#gotmilk?”

White proceeded to display his wit as he re-captioned the photo, “When your mom asks who ate all the milk and cookies…”

Hunter-Simms decided it was time to get back at him.

Since then, the two have taken turns sneaking shots of each other and uploading the photos to either Twitter or Snapchat, where they often receive positive feedback from their friends and followers. Even though the nature of the memes is often made at the other’s expense, Hunter-Simms and White share a close bond that allows them to do just that.

“None of these memes are made out of hostility,” White said. “It’s all out of love cause we care about each other.”

Sometimes, both of them pause their rivalry to collaborate on memes featuring their coaching staff. Their most recent work includes head coach Robert Johnson, who has become so accustomed to the throwers’ antics that he sometimes indulges them.

“I know what they’re up to,” Johnson said. “Ryan, he’s infamous for that. Whenever he comes around, I either make a face or hide — just depends on what I’m feeling.”

Johnson wasn’t the first of the coaches to be targeted. Hunter-Simms was undeterred by strength and conditioning coach Jim Radcliffe’s intimidating demeanor as he proceeded to caption a photo of him relating to Pokemon Go, the top-trending app last summer.

The tweet gained traction as the Pac-12 Networks account retweeted it, which proceeded to become one of Hunter-Simms’ most liked tweets and is still pinned at the top of his profile almost a year later.

Radcliffe was the first target of the coaching staff because, despite his tough exterior, student-athletes love him for his slyness, which comes in handy during morning practices.

“I remember I said something dumb,” Hunter-Simms said. “He [looked at me] and said, ‘Do you ever get tired of being incorrect?’ We just died.”

Throwers are often lost in the chaos at track meets, where at least three events often occur at the same time. They get up to six attempts and have a lot of downtime in between each throw as they wait for 15 other athletes to go.

Perhaps the lack of a spotlight is what makes the throwers so unique as they can focus on honing their wit and personalities.

At the Pac-12 Championships, Hunter-Simms won his first individual collegiate title in the discus. Even though he does not take to running well, the senior felt compelled to take a victory lap around Hayward Field for the fans, slowing to a walk-jog for at least half of it.

If it were up to Hunter-Simms, he would reduce the victory lap to “just a nice 100 down the backstretch.”

For now, he plans to use his anthropology degree to lead him to a coaching job. White plans to go into sales, maybe rise into management and one day own a company – much like Michael Scott, the main character from their favorite TV show, “The Office.”

The two seniors will graduate from Oregon next month, which may lead to a decrease in the meme production as they part ways. But the pictures will remain as their fond memories of college.

“The memes will never die,” White said.

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Romaine Soh

Romaine Soh

Romaine is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in journalism. A budding track and field nerd, she is actively learning the technicalities of ball sports to compensate for her lack of hand-eye coordination.