SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 2, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Prep shot putters gear up for nationals

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — Over the years, there have been some excellent shot putters at St. John’s Prep. Standouts like Rich McNeil, Chris Murtagh and Sean Enos are some of the best that long-time head coach Ray Carey has ever had.

But in his 36 years at St. John’s, Carey has never had two of his shot putters throw over 54 feet.

Until this season.

Senior David Roy and junior Evan Dombrowski both achieved that incredible feat for the Eagles this winter.

“They push each other all the time,” said Carey. “Right now they’re the last two kids on the team, so they’re so they’re still working to get ready for New Englands (today) and then in New York for Nationals on March 9. They’re so close in ability that their personal bests are within two inches of each other.”

Roy finished second at the Division 1 meet this winter at 52 feet 10 inches, while Dombrowski was right behind him (52-8) in third place as the Eagles finished 10th overall.

Last weekend at All-States, Roy took second again (54-11) with Dombrowski fifth (53-10 1/2).

“Qualifying mark for nationals is 53-5,” said Carey. “I don’t work directly with them; all the credit has to go to our two throwing coaches. Bill Boyle and I have coached together for 30 years, while Tim McAuliffe threw for us and recently graduated from Boston College. The older guy and the younger person make a nice combination.

“Both David and Evan are rotary throwers. The older shot put style is the glide, but now there are a lot more using the rotary technique. It has advantages, but spinners do tend to be a little unpredictable.”

At the Prep, shot putters have to throw outside the entire winter (although in bad weather Carey said they don’t go out). “Throwing outdoors is something you get used to,” said Roy. “We have our outdoor circle or throw in the parking lot because we can’t throw inside. One thing that really does help is having Evan working with me.”

Dombrowski said he definitely wants to continue to throw in college, and he likes the competitiveness with Roy.

“It definitely helps me,” Dombrowski said. “My goal this winter was to qualify for nationals and to basically get my best mark. I think the big improvement I made is because of maturity and hard work in the offseason. I do a lot of weight lifting and throw with other people whenever I can.

“I’m looking for consistency, and eventually when you develop that, you’ll have a big throw. David and I build each other up. The competitive edge we have is great, and having success is rewarding. I know he likes to see me do well, and I feel the same way. We’re also lucky to have such good coaches because Mr. Boyle is very good with fundamentals, and coach McAuliffe is great about showing us new techniques. I’ve learned a lot from both of them.”

Both Roy and Dombrowski also throw the 25-pound weight, which is a non-scoring event, and do the discus in spring track. But their primary event is the shot.

This will be their first trip to nationals. “Going there is huge,” said Roy, who has narrowed his college choices down to Rhode Island, Bryant, Bucknell and Sacred Heart (he has been accepted to all four). “There will be so many good throwers and runners competing.

“My goals this year were to throw 54 feet and for our team to win the conference; both happened.”

Hard workers with different personalities, Roy came to the track team after playing volleyball as a freshman. Dombrowski, who hails from Gloucester, came out late for the team that first winter from football.

“I was looking back to the results from a year ago when Roy threw 47 feet and Dombrowski 44. Since then, they’ve made incredible progress,” Carey noted.

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Abbey D’Agostino of Topsfield was named Division 1 Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Dartmouth College student had a 3.65 GPA during the cross country season and was second at the NCAA championship. She finished less than a second behind the winner last November.

D’Agostino has been a member of the USTFCCCA All Academic team the past two years and is a multi-time All-American.

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Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at jmdeplacido@aol.com.