Second at New England's Sweet for Shepaug Javelin Ace, Sam Moravsky. By John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
For Shepaug junior Samantha Moravsky, finishing second in the javelin at the New England High School Track and Field Championships last week to cap off a fantastic spring felt like sweet retribution.
“I hoped my success last year wasn't just a fluke. Once I made it to the State Open again I knew this is where I needed to prove to myself that I could indeed be the thrower I wanted to be. As my coach Jon (Addorisio) and I like to say, I choked big time last year at the State Open, only throwing around 85 feet. So, in my mind getting past this point was the hardest challenge.”
The 5-foot, 4-inch 17-year-old wiped away last year’s State Open performance by winning the Berkshire League and Class titles and pacing fifth at the State Open with a throw of 121-feet, 6-inches before a majestic effort in Maine at New Englands. She threw the javelin 132-feet, 9-inches to finish only behind Natalie Howes of Londonderry, N.H. By the way, she was also this year’s Berkshire League heptathlon champion.
“I proved to myself that I could get past my failures and learn from them. I also qualified for Nationals. However, due to previous commitments I will not be attending this year. But you can definitely count on my appearance there next year.”
As a sophomore she came out of virtually nowhere and emerged as one of the best throwers in the state, winning her event at the Berkshire League and the Class S state championships, while also breaking the school record in the javelin.
Moravsky says she is “immensely pleased” with her junior season. Before this spring started she set goals of making it to the New England Championships and breaking 130 feet. “With hard work and determination (and a lot of help from God) I succeeded in meeting both those goals and even surpassing them.”
“Sam is a great athlete but an even better team member and person,” says Addorisio. “She always puts her teammates before herself and leads by example. When coaches visualize a captain they should use her as an example. She comes to practice every day ready to train and compete at the highest level. She has achieved so many great things thus far because of her work ethic. She is always the first to step forward and volunteer for anything the team needs.”
Ironically, Moravsky began throwing the javelin only during the middle of her sophomore year, during spring break. “All of our javelin throwers were gone on vacation, and unfortunately for us we had a meet that week. I was talking to my coach before the meet and he was saying how close it was going to be and that we needed someone placing in every event in order to have a chance at winning. So I asked, more like begged, to throw the javelin, as it was always something I wanted to try. Javelin was about to start and I was warming up when my coach ran up to where we were throwing to tell me that I needed to get first in this event if we wanted to win. Naturally, I didn't think that could happen since I never threw before. But I gladly accepted the challenge. My first throw that day was 100 feet and I won the event and my team won the meet. It was a very dramatic and awesome start to my future throwing career that I will never forget.”
Moravsky says a lot of factors play into being a good javelin thrower. The classic, prototypical physical build for the event is long, tall, and strong. “However, seeing the top high school girls throw at the New England meet this year, I realized that isn't as important as everyone says, although it would definitely help.” She says what it most crucial to be a top thrower is having good form and a fast and strong rotation of the hips when the athlete is about to throw. “That fast whip of your hips, along with the proper steps and release of the javelin, is what will truly give you your maximum distance. You also need to have an overall strong body, since throwing is not solely focused on the strength of your arms.” But, she adds, having a strong core, lower body, and shoulder strength would be “the cherry on top” for a javelin thrower with superb technique.
Beyond technique and strength, Moravsky says attitude plays a role in her success. “I am always surprised when I throw a personal best or win any competition, and continue to be so thankful and grateful that I have such a great track family and family at home that support everything I do. Every time I compete I go in knowing I am going to give it my all and with a goal to break my personal record. If I don't do a personal best I am a bit sad. But knowing that I gave everything I had that day, I can't ask any more.”
Moravsky hopes to take her athletic skills to college. “I definitely want to compete in college in both track and field and, hopefully, soccer (she’s a goalie). While I have not committed to any college thus far, I have my sights set on some. I am looking for a Division I or Division II school that has a strong background in my intended major, criminal justice and/or criminology.”
She, of course, does train over the summer, but being a three-sport athlete (basketball as well) takes a toll on the body. “I think of the summer as a time to relax and have fun. However, I do participate in the Nutmeg Games in soccer and track and field to keep my competitive spirit satisfied. I throw the javelin over the summer to keep my body used to the form and work out my core, lower body, and upper body to stay strong and ready for my next season.”
Moravsky is also tops in the classroom, with a GPA of 4.0. “I honestly don't have any favorite classes and can say I enjoy every subject in a different way. I look forward to expanding my knowledge in multiple subjects and couldn't pick one over the other even if I was forced. They each guide me and form me in their own way. For that reason am I so grateful to have the ability to go to school every day. As for my future, I hope to be involved in national security, and if that doesn't work out for some reason a job within the criminal justice field.
When Moravsky isn’t competing or working out, she enjoys singing, drawing, and spending time outside, hiking, swimming, “or just lounging on the beach with my family and friends.”
After all she has accomplished this spring, who can blame Sam Moravsky for wanting a little down time this summer.