Often the track and field performer of the year is an athlete who competes in multiple events, wins multiple events or sets state records.
This year’s outstanding honor in boys’ track goes to an athlete who excelled in one event but proved he’s one of the best in New England, and did so after completely devoting himself to changing and perfecting his technique.
Deering senior Jared Bell came into this indoor season as the defending state champion in the shot put but he wanted more than another state title. So after throwing 51 feet, 11.5 inches in the event last year to win the Class A meet, he changed his technique from the standard throw to the spin move, and it paid off.
Bell won the Class A state meet with a throw of 56-.25, then went to the New England championships in Boston and took third with a throw of 55-3. It was the highest finish of any Maine high school male athlete.
We liked not only Bell’s ability to perform well in a big meet, but his thoughtful approach and commitment to his sport.
At the end of the outdoor season last year, Bell decided to change his form and devoted himself to the task, Deering throws coach Frank Myatt said.
Working with his father through the summer and into the fall, Bell watched videos of throwing techniques. Neither of them had any experience learning a new technique in a field event. They watched videos of proper spin-move technique, then would critique Bell’s.
“When I won the state meet indoors, that motivated me. I wanted to do even better my senior year. Over the summer I learned the spin move watching videos with my dad, and went to throw the shot and discus four times a week,” Bell said. “We’d go up to Falmouth, just my dad and me in the morning and at night. It was a lot of work but I feel it paid off big time. I had a leg up on most other competitors.
“If anyone knows anything about track and field or the throws, you are constantly making adjustments. I was, right up until the New Englands.”
Now, rather than thinking of turning and throwing, Bell runs through a lengthy list of all the positions and movements he needs to execute for a perfect spin move, and to assure he doesn’t foul.
He thinks about keeping his back straight, staying low, trying to jump higher, keeping his upper body torqued, and making sure the angle of the shot is a perfect arc.
After playing baseball and track, he decided this year to just compete in outdoor track. And in choosing Princeton as his college for its academics, Bell also made certain he approved of its track and field facility so he can continue to improve and excel in the sport he loves.
“I was actually a little skeptical, but he showed me the spin move one day and after a couple of days of really watching him, he had the basics down,” said Myatt. “Then he was just fine-tuning. Nobody can really expect to add four feet at any point. His improvement was really about dedicating himself and putting in the time.”
Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: