When it comes to shot put, no one in New York is better than Smithtown West's Ben Bonhurst. That's not just this year, either. That's in the history of the discipline. Bonhurst tossed the shot 65 feet at the L.I. Elite Track Invitational Friday at St. Anthony's. The throw is a state record, breaking the previous mark of 64-111/2, set by Derek McGuire of Immaculate Heart Central in Watertown in 2004, Smithtown West coach Peter Schieck said.
Bonhurst was undefeated this season before falling to Longwood's Dennis Russell at the Suffolk State Qualifier Meet on Feb. 8.
"I got beat and I wasn't going to take it anymore," Bonhurst said. "I wasn't going to get beat two times in a row. It lit a fire under my butt and I just started chucking."
It was that one loss that motivated Bonhurst even further, trying to increase his explosiveness in the circle by working hard in the gym with his mom, Haidee Ganz-Bonhurst, who doubles as his coach.
"My mom kept asking me during practice, 'do you want Dennis [Russell] to beat you again,' " he said. "I definitely saw a difference in practice. Once you start winning a lot, you kind of take it for granted. Once you lose, you start not to like it. I didn't like it."
The senior could feel the difference as soon as the shot left his hand Friday.
"It felt smoother," Bonhurst said. "My technique was better. I used more of my legs today. It felt good."
So how did Bonhurst celebrate breaking the record? By going to the gym for more training, of course. Record holders never rest.
"It's a slippery slope at the top," Bonhurst said. "You've got to work your butt off to make sure you don't fall below the number one spot. All I can do is go up."
Bonhurst said he plans to throw at the Eastern State Championships on Monday at the Armory in Manhattan, a final tuneup before the state championships next weekend at Cornell.