Last spring, Virgil Romer went to a Hampton Bays boys track practice and witnessed a raw sophomore in Quinn Smith throwing the discus close to 130 feet. He knew right then and there that the now junior had a future in throwing events, and later that season Smith confirmed that by reaching the New York State Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Fast forward nearly a year later, and Smith has now thrown himself into the mix as one of the top shot put throwers in the state. He placed sixth overall out of 27 competitors with a personal best throw of 53 feet ¼ inch at the New York State Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex on Staten Island on Saturday. He was one of just two juniors to reach the podium in the event and is now just 3 inches away from matching Pat Crowley’s school record from 1985—something Smith can viably shoot for next winter as a senior.
“I think the only place he can go is up,” Romer said. “I still think Quinn is raw with his strength and the sky is the limit with this kid. And with Quinn you know it’s going to happen. You know he wants to be great, he has that mentality. He was sixth in New York State as a junior and he’s not happy. He says he should have come in third.”
The first thing Smith remarked about after Saturday’s competition was that he just got beat out at the end for fifth place, with Shenendehowa senior Kyle Gregor beating him out by an inch and a quarter. Smith, at one point, was ahead of both Gregor and Batavia junior Alex Rood, who wound up placing fourth.
It was an extremely competitive field with Lancaster Central senior Jonathan Surdej winning with an impressive 61-foot-2¾ inch throw. Ramapo senior Anthony Harrison placed second with a throw of 59 feet 5¼ inches and Lancaster Central senior Michael Wolford placed third with a mark of 54 feet 8 inches.
Discus was Smith’s main event last spring, but with the success he saw this winter, Smith said his goal is to qualify for states in both this spring. Romer said that if Smith continues to progress, he could very well find himself at upstate Middletown High School for spring states.
Smith is up for the challenge.
“Practice Monday. That’s all I can say,” he said after Saturday’s meet.