At the Deer Park Invitational on April 23, Hampton Bays junior Quinn Smith tripped over the throwing circle barrier and badly sprained his ankle. He couldn’t walk on it for a few weeks. With high expectations going into this spring of possibly winning county and state titles in both the shot put and discus, the injury worried some, and even infuriated his most staunch supporter, his father.But Smith, in his usual calm demeanor, told them at the time to not worry about it. Westhampton Beach junior Jack Meigel made his debut at states this past weekend in the high jump. He tied with two others for 11th place in the 46-person field by clearing 6 feet 5 inches, 3 inches under his personal best, which he reached at the state qualifier a few weeks ago. According to his head coach, Connor Christian, Meigel was one placement away from qualifying for the Federation high jump.
“My dad was pretty upset. You know, he gets really into it. He thought I was finished,” Smith explained. “I said, ‘Just wait, it’s going to be a comeback story.’”
It certainly was.
Smith put the injury behind him last week to win the Small Schools county title in the shot put and a third-place finish in the discus to qualify in both events for the New York State Outdoor Track Championships which were this weekend at Middletown High School, where he doubled down and won a pair of silver medals in the discus and had a fourth-place performance in the shot put.
By placing second in the Small Schools discus with a throw of 163 feet 2 inches, Smith qualified for the Federation discus, which is all schools in the state, large and small, combined in one event. He went on to place second in that event as well, with a throw of 168 feet 6 inches. Ramapo senior Anthony Harrison won the Federation title with a 189-foot-9-inch throw, which broke a 34-year-old meet record by exactly 2 feet.
Smith is the latest in a long list of strong throwers at Hampton Bays, which includes Virgil Romer and Charlie Pensa, just to name a few. Andrew Morris, in 2012, was the last Bayman, prior to Smith, to have won a state medal, having won silver in the Small Schools discus that year and placing fifth in the Federation.
“It was great, it was a lot of fun,” Smith said of the state meet. “I was a little disappointed in the shot, not that I’m mad at what happened, I just wish I threw a little farther. I made up for it in the disc, and I was really happy with how that turned out.”
Smith said that he’s put a lot of personal work into both events, working by himself on the weekends in addition to regular practice at Hampton Bays. He said he’s also gotten a lot of help from his coaches, namely assistant coach Virgil Romer. But he was also appreciative of the tips he received from a pair of Amityville coaches, who he knew only by Coach Kyle and Coach Hawkins. Smith and Amityville’s Alton Kimborough have duked it out over the past year or so in local meets and invitationals.
“I became really close with them over the past couple of years. They’re really supportive, even though I’m going against their kid a lot of the time,” he said.
With his senior season still in front of him, Smith, who also plays football in the fall, said he still has a lot to accomplish. He still wants to take down school records at Hampton Bays and he’d like to add a gold medal to his collection.
“I’m trying to win it all next year,” he said. “I’d like to get stronger and improve over the summer.”
Smith was one of three Baymen who qualified for states. Senior Thomas O’Connell competed in the Small Schools 400-meter intermediate hurdles, in which he finished 12th in 58.24 seconds.
Hampton Bays head coach Andrew Arbocus said it wasn’t O’Connell’s fastest time, but that he jumped out quickly in the first 200 meters to put some pressure on what was a fast field. O’Connell was 1.25 seconds off his personal best.
Darwin Fernandez, a sophomore, placed 16th in the Small Schools 400-meter run in 51.46 seconds.
“I am very proud of the accomplishments of all three of these young men this season,” Arbocus said. “It was great to coach and watch all three compete at the championships this past weekend.”
“It’s encouraging that he can consistently jump 6 feet 5 inches,” Christian said. “Once we get a little more power, that consistency should take him even higher, and that’s what we have to work on. There are a lot of positives with Jack, and I know he will work hard over the summer to improve.”
Westhampton Beach junior Jack Meigel made his debut at states this past weekend in the high jump. He tied with two others for 11th place in the 46-person field by clearing 6 feet 5 inches, 3 inches under his personal best, which he reached at the state qualifier a few weeks ago. According to his head coach, Connor Christian, Meigel was one placement away from qualifying for the Federation high jump.