O.B.'s Florek looks for big finish to high school career
MOC champ will throw javelin at national meet this weekend
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer
This weekend Old Bridge High School's Brian Florek will compete in the javelin competition at the Nike Outdoor Nationals, in Greensboro, N.C., where he hopes to cap what has been an outstanding spring season.
For the second successive year, Florek won the state championship in the javelin, as well as the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV, the overall Group IV title and the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) championship. He regularly tosses the javelin more than 200 feet with a personal best of 206 feet.
Florek also won the discus championship on CJ Group IV, as well at overall Group IV title with his best toss of the year, 163.2 feet.
The senior managed to accomplish this despite suffering a sprained ankle during the winter track campaign that hampered him throughout the spring although it did not hurt Florek's performance.
I was able to compete with a brace and it wasn't too bad, but I never gave the ankle a chance to heal, Florek said. I've had some time since the high school season ended and it's almost 100 percent now.
This is just in time for his trip to the Nike Outdoors at North Carolina A&T University. Florek qualified each of the past two years. He used his time there as a sophomore to soak up the experience and learn from the other competitors, but was disappointed in his showing last year.
My best throw is usually my first, but I fouled last year, he said. The next five guys all threw over 200 feet, and I ended up putting a lot of pressure on myself and I didn't do as well as I expected. I'm going to do better this time.
Florek came to the weight events by accident. Following a freshman baseball game, he went to the Old Bridge track to watch the end of the meet and wait for his older brother, Stephen, who threw the javelin for the Knights. Following the meet, the younger Florek picked up the javelin and tossed it more than 120 feet, a throw witnessed by Old Bridge track coach Jack Campbell.
Brian was a natural, his technique was just a little off, but you could see right away that he could throw, Campbell said.
Shortly thereafter, Florek opted to forego baseball and basketball to concentrate on the javelin.
I liked the javelin a lot and the more I thought about I realized that I'd have a better opportunity to compete at the college level if I went with the track team, said Florek, who has received a partial scholarship to Kent State University, where he will continue his career in the fall.F
lorek worked regularly under the tutelage of Old Bridge assistant BobWeiss and by the end of his sophomore campaign had a personal best of 182 feet, and had qualified for the Nike Outdoors (a throw of 170 feet is needed to qualify).
While in North Carolina, Florek met and began working with Jeff Gorski, the United States Amateur Track & Field Association's javelin development chairman.
That helped set the stage for a strong junior season as Florek added Gorski's advice to what he had already learned, to become a force in the GMC and Group IV as he added about 20 feet to his distances, setting the stage for his senior year, where he added success in the discus to his repertoire.
The 5-foot-11 180-pounder noted that it takesmore than strength alone to be a success in javelin or discuss. He cites three other components: speed, flexibility and mental state.Afifth component is the support of his parents, Stephen and Celeste, along with his older brother.
If you're not there mentally, it won't happen, the rest is all about technique, Florek said.
To achieve his success, Florek works out year-round. During the summer months, he works on technique and analyzes video to make subtle adjustment. In the fall, it's on to light throwing, weight lifting and crossover drills. During the winter, Florek works on his speed and also handles the shot put for the Knights' winter team. In the spring, he goes full bore with sprints, flexibility drills, lifting, plyometric drills and technical work.
You have to work hard at any sport, he said. I've enjoyed it and my goal right now is to do well in nationals andmakemy mark in the event.