Hayden Gorovitz began throwing a javelin when he was 6 years old. But the spear was left alone at times while he pursued football and baseball.
When those sports didn’t work out as well as he would have liked, he turned back to the javelin.
“When those two sports fell through, that long spear was right there waiting for me,” Gorovitz said.
Now, as a junior at Phoenix Desert Vista High School, he owns the state record in the event, with bigger throws in sight. Last week, at the Glendale Mountain Ridge Track and Field Invitational, Gorovitz let loose for a state-record 209 feet, 6 inches. It is the top throw in the nation by a high school athlete this year.
In his freshman year, he played football and baseball, then baseball only as a junior, but through those two baseball seasons, he was involved in track and field part-time, he said.
Now it’s full-throttle javelin. He even built a practice area in his backyard, which has a 60-foot runway, a 12-foot wall and a 20-foot net.
“We use regular javs but we had disks that were imported from Germany that we taped around them,” Gorovitz said.
That way it stays in the netting and doesn’t fly into a neighbor’s yard.
His neighbor, Michael Rivers, happens to be his javelin coach, making it convenient for Gorovitz and his brother to get coaching from home.
“I have been throwing with him since I was around 6 years old,” Gorovitz said.
Gorovitz is always, it seems, on the cutting edge of the javelin, never shy about asking for help from experts in the field, and constantly working, whether it’s in his yard or in the big fields at Desert Vista and doing physical therapy just to stay healthy.
“Hayden is a heck of a competitor but he’s an even better teammate,” Desert Vista head track and field coach Collin Mattoon said. “While he has racked up his own accolades, the majority of conversations I have with Hayden typically stem around how the other athletes are doing, how the team is stacking up in points, what we as a program can be doing to come closer together.
“He embodies the ‘we-me’ mentality and it’s contagious. He genuinely cares about the direction of the team and he is everything you want in a leader.”
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A couple of months ago, Gorovitz went to train with some Olympic athletes, including Curtis Thompson, Tom Pukstys and Jeff Gorski.
From 1999-2003, Gorski was the men’s javelin development chairman for USA Track and Field. That led to coaching six-time U.S. javelin champion and 1992 and ’96 Olympian Pukstys. Pukstys set six American records in the javelin and was ranked in the top 10 in the world for a three-year stretch.
Thompson, who is 27, had the top throw at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials.
“It really helped me solidify my form,” Gorovitz said about training with those athletes. “And where I am right now is exactly where I want to be.
“My goal for this year is to be going 230-plus (feet). Going into the summer, hopefully more big numbers pop up for me.”
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