The shot put looks simple: Take one heavy object, heave it as far as you can, call it a day.
West Deptford’s Nick Pulli knows it’s quite a bit more complicated than that.
Pulli launched the shot 51-7.75 at the South Jersey, Group 2 championships Friday—but the sophomore knows he’s capable of much more, if all the elements come together.
“It’s tiny little things that I need to change,” Pulli said.
Whether that’s adjusting his timing ever so slightly, or making sure he gets the right flick of the wrist on his release, Pulli is confident he can add a few more feet before the season’s done.
“If everything goes right, 56, definitely,” he said.
With Friday’s throw just a few inches off his personal best, Pulli said he was generally pleased with how the day went, but said it wasn’t his best possible day.
He’s hoping that comes next week—or, better yet, the week after. He’ll have to be at his tops to qualify beyond states, given his competition just in South Jersey, Group 2—Pleasantville’s Dontaye Rivera put the shot 60-3, and Bridgeton’s Braheme Days Jr. launched it out of the sector, notching a 64-5.75.
“I’m just happy I’m going to states as a sophomore,” Pulli said.
Elsewhere on the track, Kyle Perry grabbed the last qualifying slot for states in the 400, racing to a 50.85 finish in the final event of the night. Kevin Cianfarini, who was ninth, missed out on a trip to states by a little more than half a second, finishing in 51.46.
And in the 1,600, Evan Stigale was 18th in 4:55.85, while Jonathon Ladner was 19th in 4:57.17.
The Eagles will have a chance in several events Saturday, with these athletes likely to shine:
Shai Mumford: Unofficially the third-best time in the 200 in South Jersey, Group 2 so far, Mumford should challenge for the title and advance to states.
Phil Palmer: Got a big win at the Haddonfield Invitational in the 3,200, the fourth-best time in the section leading up to championships. Palmer could move through to states.
Ray Parsons: Another highly-ranked 3,200 runner, Parsons has the sixth-best time heading in, and along with Palmer, should fight to try to make it through to states.
Leo Impagliazzo: A dark horse in the 800, Impagliazzo would need to carve a few seconds off his top 800 time to have a shot at advancing.
Todd Jarrell: On the edge of making it through to states in discus, where he’ll compete with Pulli to try to get the pair qualified.
Sean Weidler: His best pole vault height so far puts him eighth, so Weidler will need to go big or go home.
Also keep an eye on the 4x400 relay team—with a performance similar to the one they put up at the Haddonfield Invitational, the team could challenge for the title.