HINGHAM — James Cordon’s throwing coach calls him an “energy vampire.” While he never launches the javelin past 148 feet in practice, the Southeastern senior who’s broken the school record twice this year feeds off the atmosphere of meets.
That played out on Thursday on Day 1 of the MIAA Division 2 South championships at Notre Dame Academy, when Cordon edged Apponequet sophomore Jackson Gagnier, 153.11 to 153.03. With the victory, Cordon earned his third of three bids to the All-State meet next week, where his goal is to reach 170 feet — something the UMass Lowell commit has never done before.
“Just the adrenaline,” Cordon said after he won the Division 2 South crown. “It’s all of it put together. Competition, adrenaline, just seeing everyone around me and the competition feel. I like that energy.”
In the preliminary round, it looked like Cordon was saving his energy. He started with a throw of 146.6, to which throwing coach Lloyd Lamarre said he wasn’t tucking his elbow enough. “Gotta get that arm up,” Lamarre told Cordon.
In reality, it was less power conservation than feeling out the grip on his javelin, which kept slipping out of his hand as he released. Cordon used a yellow javelin on Thursday despite recording his best distances and practicing most with a blue one. The senior said he’s used the yellow one for longer, and sentimental value led he and Lamarre to agree to leave the better, blue option behind.
After his third preliminary throw, a 151.11 toss that gave him the second-best score among advancing athletes, he whispered to Lamarre, “I haven’t even thrown hard yet.”
“My first three throws, I was really just trying to work on form and technique in my five-step,” Cordon said. “Because in my warmups, I didn’t really feel good about how it was coming out of my hand. And I guess it was because of the grip. It just didn’t feel normal as it does in practice, like how I usually throw in practice. so I was really trying to emphasize that I wasn’t throwing as hard as I could.”
In the finals, Cordon — who also plays quarterback for Southeastern — still had Gagnier to beat. He released too early on his first throw, popping up a 140-foot dud. Then, on his second throw of the round and fifth of the afternoon, Cordon sailed the yellow javelin 153.11 feet — not his personal best of 158.03, but enough to best Gagnier, a first-year track and field athlete, and claim gold.
Still, Cordon didn’t throw as well as he’d hoped. Between now and states, he and Lamarre plan to work on a longer run-up to generate more power; Cordon uses a five-step technique, while most of his competitors sprint up to the line to gain momentum and torque.
Another fix — a much easier one — is to return to his blue javelin, which Lamarre said he’ll have no choice but to use next week at States and beyond, where Cordon could become the first track and field athlete in Southeastern history to reach Nationals.
“If things keep progressing, he’s going to hit his 170,” Lamarre said. “And hopefully we’ll be able to go to New Englands, then we’ll go from there and honestly, I envision him peaking at New Englands or whatever the national standard is.”
▪ In one of the most dominant performances of the day Norton senior Isabella Pietrasiewicz won the girls 800-meter race from gun to tape, posting a blazing time of 2:15 (unofficial).
▪ Though favorite Andrew Cabral from Seekonk led the boys 2-mile race for the first seven laps, Catholic Memorial’s Christopher Sullivan drafted behind him the whole way. In the final 400 meters, Sullivan advanced to Cabral’s shoulder, then kicked on the final straightaway to finish first. Sullivan and Cabral, as well as third-place finisher Patrick Healey (Bishop Feehan) automatically qualified for States.
▪ Dover-Sherborn’s Luke Loeffler (2,539 points) was the boys’ pentathlon winner, and Scituate’s Jane Feeney (2,946) earned the girls’ title. Day 2 of the D2 South will be Saturday.
▪ Day 1 of the Division 1 North championships were held at North Andover High. Brookline’s Jami Chamberlain won the girls’ pentathlon with 3,023 points, while Lowell’s Izaiah Strum (3,177) was the boys’ winner. The Division 1 North concludes on Saturday.