A few days before our first practice Coach OG pulled me out of the weight room to talk. I didn’t know him very well, and at this point in the season I didn’t think I was in trouble, so I didn’t really think anything of it. Once in the office, he asked me how I would qualify for four events. I told him I needed to get stronger. I knew as such because my other sprinting teammates were in MUCH better physical shape than I was. My throwing teammates, well that is a whole post onto itself.
I continued with my strength levels and that I needed to watch my weight. I arrived in August, 2000 weighing about 190lbs. I don’t remember my exact weight, but I knew I was over 200lbs. by our first practice in late October. He asked me to continue with what I was sharing. By the end of the meeting, I knew exactly what I needed to do in order to accomplish my goals. I didn’t realize at the time how difficult it would be, but I knew what I needed to do. But it wasn’t just about what I needed to do, but how to do it.
Before the season started, it was my goal to attend practice every day. I would be joining the sprinters on M, W, and F. I would be throwing on T, Th. I would also lift 4x a week in the fall. I also learned to love the ice bath, so I made it a point to sit in the ice bath every day after practice. I didn’t do much about my nutrition at this point because my weight started to drop after we began to really hit our stride during our training sessions on the track.
We had two meets that fall semester. The first weekend in December we attended a meet at Kent State. I threw the shot-put and weight. I didn’t qualify for our conference meet in either event. I didn’t run because entries were limited. I was beyond mad at myself! The following weekend we hosted a meet at Fredonia. In that meet I hit the qualifying standard in the weight throw. We threw outside—it was probably 35 degrees and I threw just over 40’. I also qualified for the conference meet in the 55m dash. However, before I went home for the holiday break coach and I made the decision that I would focus on throwing—again, I’ll share more about this later.
Coming into our indoor conference meet, I was the top ranked freshman shot-putter and weigh thrower. Back then, anyone that hit the standard qualified for the meet. I was beyond excited for the opportunity to be able to contribute to what I thought was going to be another conference championship win. Unfortunately, things did not go well that day for the Fredonia men. Actually, I believe it was the start to our program’s quick downfall to the bottom of the SUNYAC conference. For some perspective, we finished 3rd in the 2001 indoor SUNYAC championships. In our 2004 outdoor SUNYAC championships we finished last. As a team we scored 16 points. I scored 11 of them (1st hammer, 6th discus).
The ride home from Hobart & William Smith College was a long one. I didn’t quite understand what had happened. For over 20 years Fredonia was untouchable. To be honest, I thought it was my fault. I thought I had something to do with it. Even if I would have won the weight, we still would have finished 3rd. My teammate Marc won the shot-put and finished 2nd in the weight throw.
To be continued in Part 3
Dr. Charles Infurna
Charles Infurna, Ed.D., is the owner and lead coach of Forza Athletics Track Club. Dr. Infurna has coached National Record Holders, National Champions, All-Americans, and Conference Champions at the Post-Collegiate, Collegiate, and High School level.