By Phil Stacey
---- — It’s a true story that Patrick Corcoran has repeated often; a happy accident that not only helped shape his high school experience, but also determined the course of his college path.
“I always thought track was a bunch of skinny kids who ran in circles,” Corcoran, a Bishop Fenwick senior, said with a chuckle. “I didn’t know about the jumps and throws. One of my friends said to me, ‘You should do it; you’ll love it.’ So I figured I would do it to stay in shape by running ... and the rest is history.”
Corcoran didn’t make his mark sprinting or running long distances for the Crusaders; rather, he’s left an indelible mark on the sport by becoming one of the premier throwers in the area.
His ability to successfully heave shot puts, the discus, hammer or weight throws will bode well for the 6-foot-1, 275-pounder at the next level. The Beverly native will be taking his talents to Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., where he’ll compete during the winter and spring seasons for the Leopards’ track and field team.
“It’s really the best fit for me,” said the 18-year-old Corcoran, the oldest of seven siblings (two of whom, Bridget and Colleen, also attend Fenwick). “Lafayette has a great liberal arts program and while it’s small (2,600 students), it has the academic offerings and opportunities of a larger university. The campus is gorgeous, too. I love the place.”
Corcoran will throw the shot and weight throw during the winter season for the Leopards, then drop the weight throw but add the hammer in the spring.
His best throws as a high schooler include 47 feet 4 inches in the shot indoors and 46-5 outside; 120 feet even in the discus (although he’s throw up to 135 feet on fouls); 60 feet 9 inches in the weight throw and has had some hammer throws in the 140s.
Owner of a weighted 4.357 grade point average and the vice president of the National Honor Society at Fenwick, Corcoran was accepted at Catholic University, Providence, Villanova and RPI in addition to Lafayette (he was also wait-listed at Holy Cross). When it came down to making a decision on where he’d be spending his next four years, he went with his gut feeling.
“I remember I was pretty anxious when I knew the (acceptance) letter from Lafayette was coming, then really excited when I got it and found out I got in,” said the 18-year-old. “I figured if I was that excited over just getting into the school, I’d be even more excited to actually go there.”
Corcoran and his father Neil went to visit the school last August, then stayed with a member of the track team during an official NCAA visit in the fall. “It was nice to meet some of the guys on the team; they seem like a great group for me to hang out with,” he said.
The Leopards, who compete in the Patriot League, are coached by Julio Piazza. In addition, associate head coach Michele Curcio specializes in throwers and Corcoran is eager to begin work with the nationally recognized coach.
“I honestly wish I started (track and field) my freshman year; I would’ve liked to have been physically and athletically where I am now a year ago,” said Corcoran, who played soccer, basketball and baseball as a ninth grader. “But hindsight is 20/20, and I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else other than Fenwick.”