NAPLES — There’s no doubt Andrew Fish and Conner Thomas’s athletic careers at Moore Haven High School will be most remembered for their accomplishments on the football field.
After all, the duo from the Brighton Reservation helped the Terriers football team compile an 18-3 record the past two seasons as standouts on the offensive line.
But they’ve also excelled beyond the gridiron. Both Fish and Thomas shined in shot put for the track and field team this spring. Thomas also found success in the discus throw.
The seniors made sure the Class 1A-District 8 meet April 10 at St. John Neumann High School in Naples wouldn’t be their last one.
Through somewhat precarious routes, they qualified for the regional tournament in shot put and Thomas also qualified in discus throw.
Entering the district meet, Fish had earned consideration as one of the elite throwers in the district. Last year he was district runner-up as a junior and reached the state meet.
“He’s had a pretty good season so far and has shown much improvement meet after meet,” said Moore Haven track and field coach Cynthia Cook.
But his first two throws at the district meet were scratches (throws that landed outside the field lines). So his third throw – and what could have been his final throw of his high school career – carried plenty of drama. He not only needed to make sure the shot put landed in-bounds, but he also needed the throw to be among the top eight of the 28 competitors in order to advance to the next flight that day.
Fish didn’t panic. His third throw was good enough to advance into the next flight. His final throw of the day – at 13.23 meters – turned out to be his best and it earned him runner-up in the district championship and a spot in regionals. Fish barely missed out on winning the district title, which went to Seacrest Country Day’s Srdjan Kopunovic at 13.34 meters.
Thomas, meanwhile, didn’t have as much drama in shot put thanks to a series of strong and consistent throws. His steady day of throwing included a personal best of 12.86 meters, which was good enough for third place. It was in discus that Thomas surprised just about everyone, including himself.
He competed in the event almost as an afterthought and ended up finishing runner-up out of 28 competitors. His furthest toss was 38.06 feet and earned him a ticket to regionals.
“Conner definitely surprised me with his second place overall finish in discus,” Cook said. “We had actually discussed him not doing that event at districts in fear of hurting his arm and risking his chances in the shot put. But as he always does, he not only did well, he got second overall and advanced to regionals. As for shot put, he was on fire. He made two new [personal records] and ended up placing third overall and earning a seat to regionals.”
The Class 1A-Region 2 meet was held April 27 at Cypress Creek High School in Wesley Chapel just outside of Tampa.
Fish finished fifth overall, which gave him an at large spot to the state meet May 3-4 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. His best throw at regionals was 13.32, close to his personal best of 13.65. He finished ahead of Kopunovic, the district winner, who finished seventh.
Thomas didn’t advance to states in either shot put or discus. He finished 14th in shot put with his top throw being 11.70. As for discus, Thomas’s tosses got better and better, but not good enough. He started with a scratch followed by tosses of 27.32 and 29.81 feet.
Had Thomas reached states, he would have been competing in the same city where he’ll go to college. He’ll be headed to Tulsa Welding School. Fish, meanwhile, will continue his athletic career in Miami this fall when he joins the St. Thomas University football team.
On the girls side at Moore Haven, Tafv Harris wrapped up a solid freshman season in shot put. She had a personal best of over nine meters. Her best throw at districts was 8.17, which placed her right in the middle of the pack, 12th out of 24 competitors. It wasn’t enough to advance to regionals, but she has three more years to look forward to.
“…I think it was a good lesson as to what to prepare for and I expect good things from her in the future,” Cook said.