Fox Chapel freshman shows worlds of potential in discus, shot put

Saturday, June 10, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Making an appearance at the PIAA Class 3A track championships as a freshman didn’t make Fox Chapel’s Claire Conti want to take a break.

During the first week of June, Conti went to compete unattached at a meet in Slippery Rock in the throwing events.

“I’m trying to keep working,” Conti said. “I got a taste of what I could do. I want to see what I can do and get better from there. I didn’t want to stop after the season. I didn’t want to be laid back on lifting and I would have regressed. I wanted to get better this summer.”

Conti ended up leaving a strong impression as a freshman. She placed fourth at WPIALs in the discus and went on to throw 110 feet, 2 inches at Shippensburg to finish 13th in the state.

Conti ended up finding her passion during her eighth grade track season. She wanted to try it in seventh grade but broke her foot after crashing into a tree on her bicycle after completing a jump.

“(Throwing) seemed pretty cool,” Conti said. “It’s something that was different and set apart from running and stuff. I thought I’d give it a shot, and I was good at it. I kept going, and it turned into a fun sport for me.”

Conti was able to slowly build up her confidence throughout the season. Fox Chapel’s coaching staff kept her away from some of the higher-profile meets early in the season. Conti was able to gain some new skills before hopping into the more competitive meets.

“Usually, during an athlete’s freshman year, you want them to get the experience of being in a big meet,” Fox Chapel coach Thomas Moul said. “We were selective in the schedule we had for her. We wanted her to get a quality experience and give her the opportunity to learn how to quickly adapt.”

Conti said she had her PR of the season for the discus at the Seneca Valley Invitational, which was held concurrently at the more competitive Butler Invitational.

“You aren’t throwing against seniors and juniors who are throwing in the 130s and 150s,” Conti said. “It helped build confidence. My PR came in the SV meet. I didn’t have as much pressure to perform.”

Conti is hoping to see improvements in the shot put as a sophomore. When she first started throwing, Conti felt the shot put was her best event.

During her freshman season, she felt more comfortable with the discus.

“The discus is a lot more technical,” Conti said. “It’s not as much as about strength. It’s more about technique. You have to know what you are doing while spinning. It became more comfortable as I practiced.”

Conti is excited to keep working throughout the summer and to try to go further during her sophomore campaign.

“My coaches early in the season told me I had a chance to go to states,” Conti said. “I didn’t want to hype myself up and miss states. I wanted to go to WPIALs, but making states was the cherry on top. I didn’t care how I did there. I just wanted to make it there.”


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