MileSplit - You have had a great season so far, Penn Relays champ and a 218-4 PR in the disc. What are you most proud of so far?
Sam - I would have to say that I am most proud of the work that I have put into this season. It’s nice to look back on a big throw or a big win like Penn Relays and smile, but the pride that I have in those wins comes from the hours I put in during the offseason, winter season and every day this spring. Without that work I would never have been able to accomplish what I have.
MileSplit - What excites you the most about the remainder of your season?
Sam - The fact that only I can determine how far I will throw. I have about 24 throws left until I am completely finished with high school competition. Each one of those throws needs to count for something and the only way that can happen is if I work tirelessly the rest of the season to ensure that my technique is as good as it can be, that I am as fast and strong as I need to be and to ensure that on each of those 24 throws I have a chance at pushing my personal best even further.
MileSplit - When & how did you get started in track & field?
Sam - In eighth grade just to stay in shape I joined the track team and I thought I’d be a sprinter/hurdler/jumper. Turns out that wasn’t meant to be and my coaches told me to throw the discus one meet. From there I started practicing and I decided the discus is something I could pour my dedication into and I got serious about it.
MileSplit - Person/people most influential to your success in track & field and why?
Sam - All my coaches, friends and family have been key to getting me to where I am now but my father is without a doubt the most influential person to my track and field career. He is the one who got me really excited about throwing, he drives me all over to clinics, meets, practices, nationals and he’s there every day trying to help me get better; and while living with your coach may get a tad annoying at times, I wouldn’t be the athlete and person I am now without him.
MileSplit - Your favorite track & field event(s)? why?
Sam - I think the obvious answer here is the discus. It’s something I do and do well and can really focus on for three, four, five hours a day without feeling like I’m wasting my time. There’s always room for improvement, something to change and technique to work on. It never gets boring and when done right, I think it is one of the most rhythmical events in track and field. However, the 100m dash is also a favorite event of mine. It’s crazy seeing how fast some people are and trying it out every now and then to see how I compare.
MileSplit - Your track & field event coach(es) and what they mean to you?
Sam - My throwing coach, David Hagan, is an excellent coach and a great person. He’ll stay around and help me through a four hour practice, he pushes everyone on the team to do their best and he’s a fun guy to have as a coach. He’s driven down to Penn Relays and nationals with me and he is there every single day of the season to make sure that I am on the right path.
MileSplit - Keys to your successful track & field training program?
Sam - Fun. Four hours of running, throwing and lifting a day can get very monotonous. The only reason I’m able to do it and stay sane is because I have fun. My friends on the team and coaches and I all have a great time while we practice and even when I’m just alone lifting or throwing I try my best to enjoy what I’m doing.
MileSplit - Your favorite track & field meet and why?
Sam - Penn Relays is by far the best high school track and field meet in the world. There’s nothing like it. Competing against not only the best throwers in the country, but the best throwers in the world and in one of the most exciting venues in the country creates a surreal atmosphere in which you can only throw far. However, I also might be just a tad biased towards Penn Relays because I’m going to be calling that circle home for the next four years.
MileSplit - Your favorite performance in track & field and why?
Sam - Clutch performances are my favorite types of performances because they show that the athlete is not only physically capable, but also mentally tough. That being said, I think Jesse Owens’s performance in the Berlin Olympics of 1936 was one of the most clutch performances by any athlete in the history of organized sports. It dwarfs any other athletic feat.
MileSplit - Track & field athlete(s) you most enjoy competing against and why?
Sam - I’m not sure if I have a favorite athlete to compete against. The guys I throw against I usually end up seeing a lot of and I’ve made friends with a bunch of them so I really don’t know if I have a favorite thrower to compete against. They’re all great guys and it’s always fun throwing against them.
MileSplit - Your greatest experience in track & field so far and why?
Sam - My greatest experience in track and field so far has to be winning the Penn Relays this year. The whole offseason my coaches and I had been preparing for this meet and to see all those hours of training come to fruition in such a venue is like nothing else. It was an unbelievable day and one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
MileSplit - Goals for the 2012 track & field season?
Sam - My goal for this season is to push myself until I can push myself no further so that I know the result of this season, whatever the distance may be, is the best that I could have done. If I do that, then I will be happy.
MileSplit - Long-term goals in track & field?
Sam - I’m not sure if I have any long-term goals yet. I’m really focused on finishing out this season strongly. Of course it’s nice to think about competing in Penn Relays in college, the NCAA championships and even Rio 2016, but I’m not there yet. Right now I am just taking it day by day and trying to improve on my best throw from this season.
The Fun Run
Do you like rock or pop…
Sam - Rock
Do you like shorts or jeans…
Sam - Probably shorts even though I wear jeans more often
Do you like Words with Friends or Angry Birds…
Sam - Actually, Scramble with Friends, but that’s similar enough to Words with Friends to say Words with Friends
Do you like Facebook or Instagram...
Sam - Facebook
Do you like going out or chilling at home...
Sam - Usually going out but there’s nothing wrong with just sitting down and relaxing at home
Do you like sun or snow...
Sam - Sun