Our 2nd Forza Athletics season actually began with the conclusion of Luis’ senior season at Nazareth College. It was at this time that Luis was nominated for the James D. Ulrich USATF Niagara Division III Thrower of the Year. Luis had a very special senior season. He won all 10 of his indoor meets, broke the Empire 8 and NYSCTFC Conference Weight Throw records, was awarded Atlantic Region Male Field Athlete of the Year, and won the 2016 Division III Weight Throw National Championship with a throw of 20.45m. That throw ranks Luis 6th all-time among Division III throwers. He also won Empire 8 and NYSCTFC titles in the Hammer throw, to go along with his 3rd place finish at the 2016 Outdoor National Championships.
It was a very special moment for me for a couple of reasons. First, it was the first time one of my athletes had been nominated for and received a prestigious post-collegiate award. Second, Luis invited me to attend the awards ceremony with him. The second reason may sound funny, but athletes were only given one ticket for a guest to attend the ceremony-and Luis picked me!
Luis made the move to Buffalo during the summer. That made training together a little bit more difficult for us, but it provided him a great opportunity to work with our high school athletes a couple of times a week when he was on campus for class. Our indoor season consisted of working with the following athletes on a consistent basis; Monique Hardy and Andrew Palermo. Monique just completed her sophomore year at Webster Thomas High School. Andrew will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall.
You are able to view some throws from their training sessions on Luis’ Instagram and Twitter account’s @luis4real. Monique and Andrew had fantastic indoor track & field season’s! Both athletes broke the Section V record in the 20# and 25# weight throws. Monique threw 56’1” at the Section V State Qualifier Meet. Monique won her County and Sectional meets as well, capping off her season with a New York State Championship in the 20# weight throw. Monique finished 4th at the New Balance Indoor National Championships. She also broke the New York State sophomore class record. Her throw of 56’1” ranked Monique #4 in the country and #1 sophomore.
Andrew threw 70’ at the New Balance Indoor National Championships, placing him 4th! He also won his Sectional and State Qualifier meet, finishing 3rd at the New York State Championships. Andrew is only the fourth male thrower in New York State to throw the shot-put 50’ and the 25# weight 70’. Not to be outdone with his prolific weight throw marks, Andrew also won the shot-put at his sectional meet.
Additionally, two new high school athletes trained with the Forza Athletics family this season. Bailey Robinson and Lindsay Johnson. Both seniors achieved personal best throws in the 25# this season, with Lindsay finishing 3rd at the Section V state qualifier meet with a throw of 44'6", earning the opportunity to compete at the Indoor State Championships. Bailey broke the Wayne-Finger Lakes Class D 20# weight throw record with a throw of 42’.
Luis built upon the indoor success he had last season by again throwing at the 2018 USATF Indoor National Championships. Luis placed 7th this year, capping off a season in which he fulfilled graduate school courses and acted as recruiting coordinator for our collegiate program. Qualifying for and making the finals of the USATF Indoor National Championships while maintaining an internship, full-time course work, and a graduate assistant position made for a remarkable indoor season.
Our outdoor focus began when the majority of the high school season was completed. Luis and I began working with Monique after her dual-meet season was completed. Our initial focus was to develop rhythm and establish technique in the hammer after having not thrown the weight/hammer in 3 months.
Monique opened her outdoor campaign with the New Balance Outdoor National Championships. She did not disappoint, finishing 2nd with a throw of 56.12m, just 10cm away from the National Champion. Her throw broke the New York State sophomore class record, as well as placing her #4 all-time in New York State. She continued to build upon her season by winning the USATF Junior Olympic Regional Qualifying meet by throwing 53.05m (new meet record). Monique recently completed her outdoor season by winning the 2017-18 USATF Junior Olympic 17-18 yr. old Hammer competition in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her throw placed Monique as the #1 sophomore in the country, #4 overall in the hammer.
Reflecting back on this season, I count my blessings every day I have the opportunity to coach young athletes that are focused on becoming more efficient and confident throwers. We want our throwers to grow and develop into better people as well, by interweaving “life” conversations during practice. The goal of some of our throwers is to one day compete at the Division I or Division II level. Besides assisting them with what the decision may come down to (distance thrown), we guide our athletes in many other ways.
We take time during practice to discuss some of the many factors that may play a role in that decision, such as; grades, SAT/ACT scores, intended major, distance from home, visits, how well they may get along with the current throwers on the team, how well they may get along with the current coach, and financial aid just to name a few. Many other factors may play a role in the decision, which is why we openly discuss these topics with our athletes.
If you are a local athlete, and are interested in joining our throwing family, please contact me or Luis. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about joining our club team, when we practice, where we practice, and our summer competition schedule. Or better yet, you can contact the throwers we have previously or currently coach. They would be able to answer your questions as well.
As always, thanks for reading ~ Charles
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.