PORTLAND – Deering High shot putter Jared Bell set the school indoor record recently, tossing the 12-pound ball 55 feet, 1 inch in a league meet.
Bell, a senior who won the Class A indoor title last year at 51-1, has a distance he would like to reach before he graduates. The gold standard for Maine high school boys is 60 feet.
“I’m really working toward 60 feet,” said Bell.
And should he hit that mark, why not a couple of feet more? Ed Bogdanovich of Portland has the Maine record of 62-1 set in 1977 at the Portland Expo in the SMAA championships. That’s the distance the state’s top shot putters have sought ever since.
“That was one heck of a throw,” said Bell. “It’s something to work for.”
At practices, Bell throws in front of the retractable home bleachers. He knows the distance from the yellow toe line to the wall.
“That would be a state record,” he said.
Bell regularly hits the base of the wall from a starting point a few feet in front of the line.
“I believe 60 feet is not out of the question for Jared,” said Bruce Koharian, Deering’s former assistant boys’ track coach who is volunteering this season.
“Jared is big, athletic, and he’s a student of the sport. He uses a spin move, which gives a shot putter more power. Most high school shot putters use the glide move. Jared’s technique and speed are outstanding.”
Frank Myatt, Deering’s assistant coach who coaches the throwers, cites Bell’s work ethic as the reason he feels 60 feet, possibly more, is within Bell’s range.
“Jared is very determined,” said Myatt. “He works on improving. He watches video of himself and breaks everything down.”
Bell changed to the spin move last summer because he felt it gave him the best chance to increase his distance and get that monster throw.
“It’s high risk, high reward,” said Bell of the spin move. “There aren’t many coaches who teach it. Coaches Myatt and Koharian are very knowledgeable in teaching it. I watch video of throwers who spin. The spin generates more speed than the glide.”
Bell played baseball last spring but will concentrate on outdoor track this season. He tried to do both last year and his throws suffered.
“Track is my passion,” said Bell, who also competes in the 55-meter dash and the 800 relay. “I want to compete in college.”
Bell just started getting serious with weight training last summer.
Already the 6-foot-2, 210- pounder has added muscle, but for the moment it’s Bell’s speed and technique that enable him to throw in the high 50s.
“Any shot putter who can throw 50 feet has speed in the circle,” said Koharian. “We believe 60 feet is not out of the question indoors.”
Bell threw 36 feet as a freshman. As a sophomore he hit 42 feet and last year Bell reached 51 feet.
Rob Sampson holds Deering’s outdoor record of 56 feet. Koharian said that Bell will surpass that.
Bell ranks 13th academically in his senior class and is looking at three Ivy League schools — Princeton, Brown and Cornell. He’s also considering Northeastern University in Boston.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: