Nick White’s improvement in the shot put this year is impressive, but then you could say the Cheverus junior’s motivation carries a lot of weight.
Tradition in the White family runs deep in the weight throws, an event that also has a storied history at Cheverus.
White follows two brothers, Matt and John, who were state champions. Matt won four state titles for Cheverus in the shot put and discus, and John was a Class A shot put champion both indoors and outdoors.
Their father, Jim, also was a state champion at Cheverus. He won the discus as a junior in 1978.
Nick looked up to all of them when he was in elementary school, watching his brothers compete in state meets and watching his dad coach them. White said he knew when he got to middle school he’d be a thrower.
“I was in fifth grade when Matt won the discus at the state meet,” White said. “He was (seeded) in fifth place, but he won it. I remember the Press Herald was there and took his photograph, and all his friends piled on top of him. We have that photo at home.”
As a sophomore, Nick finished fourth in the discus at the Class A state outdoor meet (135 feet, 1 inch) and went on to compete in that event at the New England championships, where he placed 17th.
White has already taken a big leap forward this season in the shot put. He placed 10th at the indoor state meet last year with a throw of 43-61/4, but started this season with a distance of 47-71/2 – 5 feet beyond the second-place throw – at the SMAA meet on Dec. 21.
“My goal this year is to PR, to break 50 feet in the shot put, and to be a state champion,” White said.
Cheverus throws coach Ken Swanberg thinks White not only can do all of those things but that he can make the top three at the New England championships. And Swanberg knows something about the throws. In 14 years at Cheverus, Swanberg has coached athletes to 16 state titles.
Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 210 pounds, White doesn’t look big as much as he looks lean and strong. He seems to launch the shot put at practice with ease.
“Already he’s improved, and he’s grown inches in his chest and his torso,” said Swanberg. “He’s got the body now to compete at another level, to compete at the New England level. And he also has the heart to put in the hours in the weight room.”
Swanberg said White has what few champions bring to a sport at an early age: the drive and single-minded purpose to be a champion.
But then, White has plenty of role models.
“My other sons are bigger. But Nick is the quickest,” Jim White said. “It’s physics and speed. Yes, you have to be strong, but Nick is the same size I was, around 215 pounds. Throwers are typically 260 and 280, but you can compete with them if you have the technique.”
Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: