Sam Welsh ’18 sets a new record in discus

The first time Sam Welsh ’18 picked up a discus during a track and field practice in spring 2016, something about throwing it made an impression on him. “I felt I could do well with it,” says the All-American and Massachusetts state record holder. “It reminded me of my baseball swing, with a similar rotational movement. I just fell in love with it.”

Within two weeks, Sam had thrown 130 feet, an impressive distance for any high schooler. After training through the winter, he threw 183 feet, 9 inches — a CA record — in his first competition.

Sam had played baseball and basketball for years, but his interest in them was waning. “I was looking for something to replace that fire,” he says. He started discus training that summer, though he admits he had no idea what he was doing. “All I had was YouTube and a dirt field,” he says. When he began practicing with a local Chelmsford, Mass., club in the fall of 2016, he started hitting his stride and focused on improving. “When I went into the fall, I had no idea I’d be going to national meets,” he says. “All I could think about was my training.”

Once he started training in earnest, the distances grew. In the New England DIII Championships, he set a new Eastern Independent League and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council record. At the New Balance Nationals he came in fifth, making him an All-American — a title he earned again at the Junior Olympics in July 2017. At the Bay State Games the same summer, he threw 195 feet, 11 inches for a Massachusetts state record. The throw also put him first in the United States for the class of 2018.

Jonathan Waldron, his track and field coach at CA, sums it up: “Within one year, he went from never having touched a discus to being the best high school discus thrower ever in the history of Massachusetts.” In explaining this meteoric rise, Waldron adds, “He’s extremely coordinated, with a great sense of balance. And Sam’s personality is well suited to discus: He’s very driven to perfect whatever he’s doing.”

Everyone at CA has been so supportive, especially Coach Waldron, Coach Champion, Coach Bohenek, and Sue Johnson,” Sam says. “The journey has been amazing.“Last fall, I set a goal of hitting 200 feet. I hit it in practice and now want to hit it in a meet.” This summer, he hopes to throw in Junior Nationals, where a heavier disc is used — something he is already training for. He wants to throw in college, but “before athletics come academics,” he says. “I’m looking to enjoy the overall experience.”

And from there? “I try to set high goals for myself,” he says. “My dream is to go to the Olympics.”

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