MANATEE COUNTY — Sixteen-year-old Anthony Lanzi didn’t know what to expect when he first stepped onto the track six months ago.
Having spent the past eight years playing football and dabbling in weightlifting, the Southeast High junior right tackle had no intentions of picking up another sport. But at the urging of his offensive line coach, Lanzi decided to attend one of the Seminoles track practices.
“At first I was just like, ‘Yeah OK, I’ll go out and do that,’” Lanzi said. “Eventually, I went out to one of the practices because it just looked liked something fun that I saw.”
Lanzi gravitated toward the field events; and after spending the next few hours throwing around a shot put and discus, Lanzi was hooked.
“Running isn’t exactly my favorite thing to do,” Lanzi said. “I chose shot and discus because of my size, and I ended up liking it. Shot put is my favorite (though) because I think I’m better at it and it’s more suited for my body size.”
Now six months later, Lanzi’s talent and passion for the sport are starting to shine. Lanzi finished third in the shot put with a throw of 41-04 1/2 at the AAU Club Championship July 12-18 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World. Lanzi competed against 46 other boys from across the United States, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. With his third-place finish, Lanzi qualified for the AAU Junior Olympic Games July 31 through Aug. 7 at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va.
“I was surprised,” Lanzi said of his third-place finish. “I was aiming for the top three, so I was definitely happy. It was something new and exciting because it was guys from all around Florida and the country and not just my county.”
In his first track season with the Seminoles, Lanzi just missed qualifying for the district meet. Since then, Lanzi has spent three to four days a week practicing. In addition to throwing on his own, Lanzi also occasionally trains with a throwing coach in Clermont.
“It’s just a lot of fun for me because it’s something I’m always improving on,” Lanzi said. “It’s a lot different than football. I was always used to playing team sports and with (track) it’s all about me.”
As for the AAU Junior Olympics, Lanzi would like to throw a personal best with the hopes of placing and winning a medal.
“It would be nice if I could get around 50 (feet) by then,” said Lanzi, whose personal best is 44-04. “I would definitely be happy.”
Lanzi plans to go out for the Seminoles track team again in the spring and has aspirations of eventually playing football and also doing track and field in college if the opportunity presents itself.
Contact Jen Blanco at email@example.com.
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