PARSIPPANY – When Parsippany Hills’ Justin Gurth enters the circle on Sunday to compete in the shot put at the NJSIAA Indoor Meet of Champions, he’ll take the same approach as he did last spring.
The 11th-seed and a long shot to medal in the discus at the outdoor Meet of Champions last June, Gurth unleashed a PR of 164-7 to finish third. At the Group 2 meet last weekend, Gurth threw 54-2 ½ in the shot put at the finish fourth and secure his spot for Sunday.
Entering the competition seeded ninth, Gurth is once again a dark horse to medal, but he is undeterred about his chances to bring home some hardware.
“Outdoors, it was a pretty big jump for me,” he said. “I just went out there to do my best, and if I do that, I knew that anything could happen.”
Gurth, who achieved his PR of 54-3 in winning the Morris County Championships in January, not only has his sights set on medaling, but also breaking the school record of 55-3.
“In every meet, I’m always looking for a PR and a better throw, “Gurth, who will attend Lehigh on a football scholarship, said. “I was able to accomplish that outdoors and that’s my mindset this time. If I have my best day, I can’t ask anymore than that.”
The Meet of Champions will serve as an opportunity for redemption for the 6-3, 285 pound Gurth.
“I didn’t do well at the Groups last year,” he said. “I didn’t make it out. “To make it to the Meet of Champions is always a big deal. It’s a big meet where all the big throwers are and it’s going to be fun to compete against the best in the state.”
A change in his technique, from a slide step to a spin, has helped Gurth improve his shot put from last season’s best of 48-6.
”As a sophomore, I witnessed some big throws from spinners and I always wanted to do that,” Gurth said. “I was getting pretty decent at it for the discus and I knew that I could throw farther if I tried it for the shot. Strength only takes you to a certain level and then technique takes over.”
Gurth surpassed the 50 foot barrier in his first meet this season with a throw of 51 feet.
“Our first goal was to break 50 feet,” Parsippany Hills’ assistant coach Bobby Fulton said. “That broke him into the big time. As the season went on, he just crept up from there.
He’s ready to go and all I try to do is ask the kids to give me a PR on the biggest meet on the biggest day. If you let it all hang out there and give it your best, that’s all I can ask. We’re hoping for a PR and wherever it takes us, it takes us. You can’t worry about the competition. Just do what you can do in the circle.
“I thought that he was capable of this because he works hard and he’s driven. All I have to do with Justin is to keep working on technique and drills. He’s a pleasure to have as an athlete and he’s a super young man.”