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January 4, 2014

Jean DePlacido column: Under Smith, Peabody tracksters embrace new weight throw event

There is something new and exciting for the Peabody boys’ track team this winter: the weight throw has been added, and it’s proving to be very popular.

The addition of the weight throw has been headed up by former Bishop Fenwick coach Jay Smith, who joined the Peabody staff and designed the program.

“We’re very excited to have Coach Smith as a member of our throwing and strength conditioning team,” said head coach Fernando Braz. “His 22 seasons of developing young people to be better citizens while producing many state champions and national contenders in all throwing disciplines is legendary.

“As a program, our priority and philosophy is to develop the person first and athlete second. Under the leadership of (coaches) Tom Holleran and Dennis Grube, the weight team has been the leaders in implementing the philosophy.”

Smith decided to step down from his Bishop Fenwick coaching post before the season started, wanting more free time to pursue other things. But he still wanted to remain active in the weight throw and hammer, two areas where his Crusaders enjoyed great success at state and national events. After Smith’s daughters graduated from Fenwick last year, he wanted a less demanding schedule and has found the perfect situation with the Tanners.

“My daughters ran for Braz in his summer program, and the last couple of years I’ve been one of the coaches. Last summer I worked with the football kids,” said Smith. “He and I are on the same page, and I’m happy being there 2-4 days a week and bringing a slightly different aspect to the program. Grube and Holleran are veterans, and we have a nice division of labor.

“The best thing for me is not having to be there every day. It was different when my daughters were running. The first time it snowed this season, I was thankful I didn’t have to be in charge of 100 kids.”

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