|Savo Gives It His Best Shot|
|Thursday, 23 February 2012 18:33|
BY CHUCK SLATER
How much does Mahopac senior Steven Savo love the shot put and competing in it? Consider this:
Savo, who is the Section 1 favorite in the upcoming state qualifying competition, set his school record with an indoor toss of 48 feet 8 inches as a junior. But come the outdoor season, his constant practice and devotion to weight lifting – he can power-lift 275 pounds -- led to an injured right wrist. Rest it, no throwing, the doctor said.
So outdoors, he competed left-handed!
“I didn’t win anything but I could still throw 35 feet and get some points for the team,” he said.
But in the county meet, his 35s were getting him nowhere. In frustration and against doctor’s orders, he took a lone right-hand throw, with a sore wrist and without warm-ups or practice. Bingo! The 12-pound iron ball arched out to 45 feet, good for second place overall.
“That’s Steven,” said Mahopac track coach Adam Fetzer. “You don’t see kids like him very often. Track is mainly an individual sport; he wants to win but also wants the team to succeed.”
And is willing – nay, eager, -- to work hard at it. “Steven so wants to improve that he’s asked me if he can get extra (throwing) time in the gym when we’re indoors,” Fetzer said.
“There are a number of times like that. We’ve even come on snow days, he and I, and cleared the entrance.”
“I just like that the event is demanding,” Savo says of the shot. “You’ve got to be strong, you’ve got to be quick and you’ve got to be a really good athlete.”
And, to be really good, you’ve got to learn to spin in the shot-put circle. The back-to-front glide in the circle builds some momentum but the accelerating spin within it builds more – providing one can master the turns, not step out of the circle and toss in the right direction. Easy it isn’t; many don’t try.
“He is 95 per cent self-taught in the spin,” said Fetzer. “I had very little knowledge of how to spin.”
Savo even built a plywood shot circle at his home to practice the intricacies of the technique.
As shot putters go, Savo is on the smaller side at 6 feet and 205 pounds. “He’s not really big nor overly built,” Fetzer said, “but he’s strong as an ox.”
“The spin helps, too,” said Savo. “Let the taller, long-legged kids glide.”
This indoor season, a healthy Savo’s best throw has been 48-3, in a loaded invitational field at the New Jersey Varsity Classic in which he was sixth. In dual meets, the senior is undefeated and recently took the Section 1 Class A championship with a 46-ll½ effort. While he figures to toss his way into the state competition, he probably will have to surpass 50 feet to make his way onto the medal stand.
“I’ve done over 50 feet – a couple of times well over – in a meet but I’ve fouled,” he said. “In the qualifier, I want to come in first, go over 50 feet and not foul.”
“He’s also been over 50 feet in practice,” Fetzer said, “and has competed over 48 feet often. He’s got the potential to put it all together. This is a quiet but confident kid.”
“He seems like a real friendly guy,” said Somers’ Chris Groton, whose 47-7 best stamps the senior as a chief rival in the state qualifier. “It was impressive how he threw with his left hand.”
Interestingly, Savo was a late-comer to the event he loves. As a sophomore, he fancied himself a sprinter when he first tried out for track. ”That was my first thought,” he confirmed. “Throwing was new to me but I liked it and thought I’d give it a try.”
He wants to keep trying, even past his Mahopac years. With his B-plus-to-A marks and interest in computer science, college is next on his agenda. “And I’d very much like to throw in college,” Steven Savo said.