East Xtra: Hempfield's Adams looking to repeat in track
April 11, 2013 4:00 AM
Hempfield's Max Adams won WPIAL Class AAA championships in both the discus and shot put last May, qualifying for the PIAA championships in both events.
By Malik Vincent Tri-State Sports & News Service
The bitter weather of early spring in Western Pennsylvania might have slowed Hempfield Area junior thrower Max Adams in his first meet of the 2013 season, but it wasn't enough to stop him ... uhm, cold.
In a dual meet at Mount Pleasant, Adams bested his competition with a discus toss of 160 feet and a shot put hurl of 50 feet, 6 inches -- not nearly as far as his best career efforts, but good enough to win on that day.
The thermometer on that day -- April 2 -- read 30 degrees.
Many district track observers would consider Adams to be one of the best high school throwers in the state, after claiming WPIAL titles in shot put and discus last May as a sophomore.
Accustomed to success, Adams qualified for the PIAA track and field championships as a freshman, as well. Adams registered a discus throw of 171 feet, which was good for a fourth-place finish. He carried the same rank that year in the shot put with a 57-foot toss.
Despite that, Adams, a sturdy 6-foot-2, 250-pounder, has no intentions to cease his winning ways, especially his success in the WPIAL championships.
"That's something that I expect to go out and win every year," he said.
Adams is also an All-Foothills Conference selection as a defensive lineman for the Class AAAA Spartans football team and was an East Xtra Fabulous 22 all-star this past season.
His track coach, Dave Murray, is impressed with his star thrower's overall athletic prowess and said that it's "one of the major keys to his success."
"He's fast and exceptionally strong," Murray said. "He possesses some really good body coordination. It really helps him do what he does out there."
According to Murray, Adams bench presses almost 400 pounds and squats more than 500.
"He probably could have done more," he said. "I think that was him taking it easy, to be real honest. The kid is an absolute monster in the weight room."
In the WPIAL track championships last spring as a sophomore, his discus throw of 177-4 earned him WPIAL gold and garnered him a sixth seed at the state meet.
"He looked fantastic," Murray said. " We saw that there were some things that he was going to have to improve with his [rotational shot put] technique. In preparation for states, we did whatever we felt was necessary to correct those things.
"We really felt confident about him going out there and doing some real damage."
He knew that his competition would be stiff, but Adams still went out there to compete.
That day, he saw top-seeded Kyle Long, who was a senior at the other Hempfield, located in Landisville in District 3, unleash a record-setting launch of 202-10 in the discus.
Adams' toss of 188 feet wasn't even remotely what he was looking for.
"I'd never been more upset with myself in my life," he said. "There was something wrong with my technique. It was pretty obvious that I just wasn't my best out there. It didn't work out well for me at all."
He hopes that this year will tell a different story.
"I expect to compete on a very high level throughout the regular season, in the invitationals, in the WPIAL championships and especially [on the state level]," Adams said.
"If I don't at least place within the top five, I will be very upset with myself."