First-year Throwers Aiming For Titles
Michael Anderson had a knack for staying at track and field practices longer than scheduled.
The Dallas senior was learning the ropes of the shot put and discus, and he often wasn’t satisfied when it was time to pack up the equipment. So, Anderson would stick around until he could head home on a solid throw.
“One more throw,” he’d say.
“Every practice. One more,” Anderson said this past week outside the Mountaineers’ weight room. “If I didn’t PR (set a personal record) on that throw, it’s one more.”
There’s only so many times a thrower can set a career best, but that attitude is what has turned Anderson from a track and field newcomer to a District 2 title contender in no time. He’s not the only Wyoming Valley Conference thrower trying to take the fast lane to a D2 championship, either.
Anderson and Coughlin senior Jervone Young are both in their first and only full seasons competing in the shot put and discus. Despite that inexperience, they’re among the favorites to win championships at the District 2 Class 3A championships, scheduled for Thursday at Scranton.
Anderson is the top seed in the shot put at 50 feet, 11 inches. Young is second-best at 47-10¾.
The discus is a much more open competition, but the star football linemen also have potential to shine there, too. Anderson is in the mix as the second seed (136-10), while Young enters sixth (132-7).
“It took a lot of practice, a lot of frustration and a lot of persistence to get it good,”Anderson described his progress in both events. “When I first started, the glide especially, and the spin, it took me weeks and hours of practice just to get the first half of it down.”
An injury kept Anderson from trying out track and field as a sophomore, and he played baseball last year.
He finally decided to give it a shot this spring, while Young joined the Crusaders to help coach Paul McGrane collect points in the field.
Both clearly have the size and strength to out-throw just about anyone in the district.
It’s just not that simple.
Anderson conceded he thought he’d be able to show up and reach whatever distance he needed, but he “quickly realized it’s strength, and, more importantly, technique.”
“It was more of a mental battle than anything. It’s confidence,” Young said. “You think in your head 48 (feet) is really far. But when you throw it, it’s really not that far. You just have to get it out there.”
Success came through plenty of repetition. They gradually added inches and feet throughout the season while mastering the motions that are at the center of each throw.
Anderson said he’d break down his motions step by step in practices. When it was time to compete, he’d remind himself to stay loose and compete with a clear mind; there’s nothing that can ruin a discus attempt quite like a frustrated heave.
It all clicked recently for Young, who earned his PR at May 4’s James Cross Wilkes-Barre Invitational. Anderson similarly saw his work pay off in a recent meet when he jumped from 47 feet to beyond 50.
“But I feel I still have a lot more in the tank,” Anderson said.
They could use an extra special day at districts to ensure gold.
In the shot put, West Scranton’s Bailey Loureiro is the third seed and only other within two yards of Anderson at 45-foot-5.
North Pocono sophomore Chris Kryeski is the top discus seed at 139-foot-2; Anderson, Valley West’s Cole Gorham (134-foot-5) and Young are among six throwers within seven feet of his mark.
“I think when everyone gets there, it’s more like whoever’s going to have the best day that day,” Young said. “It’s really anyone’s game. You can’t be over-confident or not confident enough.”
All those practices with “one more throw” could lead to one more meet at states.
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