MOBILE CHRISTIAN’S JOSIAH HARRY
Photo | Courtesy Mobile Christian
Previously in this column, a story featured the exploits of Gábor Máté. He is a native of Hungary who competed for Auburn University in the discus, hammer throw and shot put. He went on to represent his homeland in several Olympics.
Now living in Mobile, he dedicates much of his time to training the next generation of throwers. Among those he mentioned for that article was Josiah Harry from Mobile Christian.
“I love working with him,” Máté said. “He has set the state record in shot and discus. I can’t wait until 2024 when he has a chance at the Olympics.”
Others have also seen Harry’s potential. He recently signed an athletic scholarship to compete for the University of Alabama.
“All the coaches were great,” Harry said of the recruitment process. “It made it difficult to see where to spend college. I just felt Alabama was the right fit. LSU, Auburn and Florida were also in the mix.”
Pete Prescott has served as Harry’s coach at Mobile Christian since 2013. Prescott immediately noticed something different about the then-seventh grader.
“He latched on and fell in love with throwing,” Prescott said of Harry, who is in the National Honor Society and his school’s marching band. “The middle school only had a few meets, so he asked to come out with the varsity. The older kids would go home, and he wanted to keep practicing.
“In his eighth grade season, he won the Class 2A state championship in discus. We researched it, and it had never been done before.”
He went on to win the state championship for the discus in Classes 3A and 4A. During his sophomore year, he set the Alabama state record for Class 3A.
That summer, he won shot put at the Emerging Elite division at the New Balance Nationals meet while breaking the meet record. He was named an All-American in the shot put and in the discus, where he finished fourth among some of the best throwers in the nation.
However, he tore the meniscus in his right leg last year. He was out for six months for recovery and rehabilitation.
“He came back as a junior in time for the Mobile Challenge of Champions,” said Prescott, referring to the celebrated track and field meet. “He threw the discus with a standing throw — no rotation — and still won. He finished fourth in the shot put, and ended up with Mobile County records in both events.”
At the Class 4A regionals, he won all three throwing events: discus, shot put and javelin. He went on to win the shot put and discus at the state championship, setting a new mark in the shot put.
“He physically has some attributes. He started as a skinny beanpole,” Prescott said of Harry, who now packs 270 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame. “Everything you told him to do, he did it. Mentally, he is very adaptive to learning better techniques. He got very serious about the weight room. [He now has a bench press of 385 pounds.] From that point on he took off like a rocket.”
He achieved a personal best throw in the shot put at 63 feet in a USTA-sanctioned meet hosted by Máté. His best effort in the discus is 194 feet, 3 inches. Although the coach admits the javelin is not Harry’s favorite event, the student still has managed a toss covering 168 feet, 8 inches.
The high school indoor track and field season begins Saturday in Birmingham at the Magic City Invitational. Harry missed the previous indoor season because of his injury. The state indoor championships will return to Birmingham in February.
“His senior year should be really great,” his coach said. “The key to Josiah is that he is a student of his event. He studies and knows what to do. He is very critical of himself.
“The Olympics are certainly in his future. It is one of his dreams since the seventh and eighth grade. He has all of the things necessary to get there. He is mentally tough and has the physical stature with long arms and long legs. He understands what he is doing. Nothing can stand in his way.”
** Nina Messinger, a student at Bayshore Christian School (BCS), has signed the Fairhope school’s first college athletic scholarship. She will play volleyball for William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. “I’m excited for this amazing opportunity and look forward to what the future holds,” Messinger said.
“Nina is one of the most dynamic and exciting players I’ve coached. She is the little engine that could,” said BCS volleyball coach Dave Omtvedt.
** Collegiate soccer takes over the Orange Beach Sportsplex this week as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors its women’s national championship. The University of Mobile is serving as the host team, while other squads from the Southern States Athletic Conference are William Carey and Martin Methodist College of Pulaski, Tennessee. Fans may purchase daily passes for $15 and tournament passes for $35 at the gate. Children 10 and under will be admitted for free. The title game is Saturday at 6 p.m.
** The Sun Belt Conference has honored two University of South Alabama (USA) basketball players. Its first men’s basketball player of the week is senior Josh Ajayi. He averaged 21.5 points and 10 rebounds in wins over Southern Mississippi and Pikeville.
After averaging a double-double in the USA women’s opening two games, Antoinette Lewis was recognized by the conference. The junior center averaged 25 points and 14 rebounds per contest while shooting 51.5 percent from the field and adding seven blocks, six steals and four assists.
** The United Soccer Coaches has announced the Spring Hill College (SHC) men’s soccer team had qualified for the group’s Team Academic Award for its exemplary performance in the classroom during the 2018 – 2019 academic year. SHC posted a 3.3 combined team grade point average last year, marking the fourth consecutive season the Badger men have won the award.
** The men’s golf team from the University of Mobile won the Redhawk Fall Classic in Athens, Alabama. After finishing ninth in the opening match, the Rams improved their team score from 606 to 575. Noah Whittington would finish second overall with a score of 139 (-5). J. Michael Riley shot a 141 (-3) for fourth overall. Each were named to the all-tournament team.
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