Ever the perfectionist, Cobleskill-Richmondville senior weight thrower Don Thorington couldn’t resist his Navy recruiter’s enticement.
“My recruiter told me that I would be the strongest Nuke in the Navy,” said the 6-foot-1, 240-pounder, who plans on becoming a nuclear engineer.
Indeed, Thorington may use his multiple physical and mental skills to help protect his country in the future, but for now, he has his sights set on his school’s shot put record.
Although Thorington has been dominating that event all season long — and easily won it again with a toss of 53 feet, four inches at Thursday’s Section II state track qualifier at the University at Albany — he was not happy with his performance, because he once again fell short of the C-R school record.
“It’s a 25-year-old school record, and the crazy thing is that when I moved here from Flint, Mich., my old school’s record was 57 feet, five inches, and that was at a Class AA school. At Cobleskill, it’s 58-7. I’ve been throwing it really well in practice, but I can’t seem to break it. I’m getting caught up in something, and I’m not sure what it is. I know that I’m capable of breaking it, and I keep going after it every day.”
Thorington, who spent time between rounds in the circle doing one-handed pushups, believes the fact that he hasn’t been pushed much this season may be part of the reason he can’t seem to get that one big toss. His tosses have surpassed the competition by wide margins at every meet.
“I don’t see guys as good or better than I am, and I really want the competition,” he said. “The first time I really saw some very good throwers was at the Eddy Meet. That was my biggest meet since the indoor season. I didn’t do that well [he finished third], but at least I faced some very good competition.”
Thorington will be competing in his first outdoor state meet next weekend at Cicero-North Syracuse, and he can’t wait.
“I’ve been to the states indoors, but last year, I didn’t make it outdoors because of a mistake I made,” he admitted. “I was a minute late for a class, and we have a school policy, so I wasn’t allowed to go to states. I didn’t really have a good year at the shot put last year, but I would have qualified for states in the discus. It was a tough lesson, but I learned it.”
The muscular Thorington is a physical specimen, and he used his strength and power on the Bulldogs’ football team, where he was an all-state defensive end and guard.
“I work out all summer with the weights, and I do a lot of bench presses,” he said. “I had reps of 405 pounds twice. I don’t do too much weightlifting during the track season, but I will do about 150 pushups a day to keep my hands and arms strong.”
Thorington stressed the fact that power isn’t everything in weight tossing.
“When you’re ready to get in the circle, you don’t won’t to be too pumped up, because you need to use your technique,” he said. “Once I’m in the circle, I’m in a world of my own.”
Thorington’s coach, Ed Hantho, believes his protegé will reach all of his goals, including the school record.
“He was disappointed today, because he tossed only a 53-6. He’s gone 55 feet before, but he wants that school record of 58 feet,” Hantho said.
“I do believe that he’s the kind of kid that will get it done. Obviously, he has the power, but power isn’t everything. When you’re in the 50s [feet of distance], you also need technique, and Don has it. He’s spent years perfecting that technique. He’s a real student of the game, and he watches video of the shot put and discus all the time. He works on the mental aspect of the sport, too.”
Although Thorington is the premier shot putter in the Capital Region, he hasn’t been as dominant in the discus, and his coach isn’t sure why.
“In this sport, you would definitely expect him to be better in the discus. It’s not his technique, because he has excellent technique,” Hantho said. “Maybe it’s just that Don prefers the shot put. I still think he’s a 150 to 160 guy in the discus. He’s done well at the league meets and in practice. Sometimes, you reach a plateau in this sport, but we will continue to work on both, and we’re looking forward to the state meet.”
There were several impressive performances on both the boys’ and girls’ sides, as numerous athletes took over the No. 1 spot on their respective Section II leaderboards.
Izaiah Brown of Amsterdam lowered his area best in the 400 to 47.64, while Jay Navin of Saratoga Springs took over first place in the 800 with a time of 1:53.78.
Jeremy Spiezio of Greenwich lowered the local 3,200 best to 9:07.81, while Amsterdam’s David Graveley cut his own best time in the 400 intermediate hurdles to 55.86.
Amsterdam’s Julian Gallup pushed the long jump mark to 22-1⁄2 inch, while Brian Greenberg of Bethlehem increased his area-best in the triple jump to 46-8.
For the girls, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s Janelle Rothacker lowered the area best in the 800 to 2:14.20. Estela Smith of Saratoga Springs pushed her own mark in the 3,000 down to 10:08.10.
Competition continues today at 4 at the University at Albany.
400 D1 — Sarah Knowles (Shenendehowa), 55.53; Nastasia Johnston (Columbia) 56.05; 400 D2 — Suzi Hanehan (Schuylerville) 58.21; 55.53; 800 D1 — Janelle Rothacker (Burnt Hills) 2:14.20; 800 D2 — Leah Triller (Holy Names) 2:15.11; Courtney Breiner (Emma Willard) 2:17.03; 3,000 D1 — Estela Smith (Saratoga Springs) 10:08.10; 3,000 D2 — Emily Acker (Albany Academy) 10:37.78; 400 hurdles D1 — Ellery Bianco (Saratoga Springs) 1:02.98; 400 hurdles D2 — Carly Bulich (Catskill) 1:07.29.
400 D1 — Izaiah Brown (Amsterdam) 47.64; Rob Haughton (Saratoga Springs) 49.13; 400 D2 — Devlin Bahruth (Johnstown) 50.48; 800 D1 — Jay Navin (Saratoga Springs) 1:53.78; 800 D2 — Ian Allen (Chatham) 1:58.12; 3,200 D1 — Aidan Tooker (Saratoga Springs) 9:10.97; Steve Booker (Bethlehelm) 9:12.54; 3,200 D2 —Jeremy Spiezio (Greenwich) 9:07.81; 400 hurdles D1 — David Graveley (Amsterdam) 55.86; 400 hurdles D2 — Max Comer (Schuylerville) 57.01; Daeshen Buseck (Johnstown) 57.04; High jump D1 — Jack Fitzgerald (Ballston Spa)
6-3; High jump D2 — Max Lagonia (Chatham) 6-3; Roscoe Quint (Maple Hill) 6-3; Pole vault D1 — Michael Budka (Gloversville) 13-0; Pole vault D2 — Ian Allen (Chatham) 12-9; Long jump D1 — Julian Gallup (Amsterdam) 22-1⁄2; Long jump D2 — Alec Swider (Scotia-Glenville) 21-8; Triple jump D1 — Brian Greenberg (Bethlehem) 46-8; Ronel Forde (Shaker) 45-9 1⁄2; Triple jump D2 — Dan Omicinski (Scotia-Glenville) 43-1⁄2; Shot put D1 — Nick Green (Saratoga Springs) 49-10 1⁄2; Shot put D2 — Don Thorington (Cobleskill-Richmondville) 53-4; Discus D1 — David Slattery (Queensbury) 146-0; Discus D2 — Nolan McComb (Taconic Hills) 142-11.