Nick Danner’s victories in the javelin and shot put at the Class B state meet helped lead the Waterville boys to their fifth state championship in eight years. Then, after setting a Class B record in the javelin at the state meet, Danner went on to the New England championships and placed second in the javelin with a throw of 187 feet, 2 inches.
His dominance in his track and field events made him the sport’s top male performer of the year.
Danner’s results are particularly impressive considering that he didn’t start competing in the throws in earnest until his junior year.
He started out his high school track career as a sprinter and hurdler. But by his junior year, Danner decided to devote his time indoors and outdoors to the throwing events.
“He always was a very good javelin thrower. But I think he saw himself as a sprinter and a hurdler,” said Waterville Coach Ian Wilson. “As he continued to fill out, he devoted himself to the weight room and committed full-time to the throws.
“His was not the evolution of someone who is good in the throws. Usually a thrower is pretty much a thrower. Nick came to it a little late.”
After his junior year, Danner spent four times a week in the weight room for as much as two hours a day. He continued the regime all through the indoor and outdoor track seasons, Wilson said.
“We had New Englands and nationals circled on the calendar. He trained pretty hard right through states. He wanted to perform well at the bigger meets,” Wilson said.
At the Class B state meet on June 1, Danner won the javelin with a meet-record throw of 192 feet, 9 inches, and also captured the shot put with a mark of 47-4½.
Danner competed at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in North Carolina on June 14 and 15 but fell shy of his best, finishing 23rd in the javelin with a throw of 169-6.
“He was a little disappointed but there are so many variables in the javelin — wind, weather. And at nationals, he had a big Jumbotron behind him. That was upsetting,” Wilson said.
Danner will compete for the University of Rhode Island next year. And Wilson is certain he’ll do well.
“Nick really learned how to focus when the stakes are highest,” said Wilson. “Some athletes come by that easily and some have to acquire it. Nick acquired the skill.
“He’s a lead-by-example kind of guy, kind of quiet. But his leadership came through in the example he set.”
Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: