Slater leads Hudson boys track and field against Nordonia

Roger Gordon
Correspondent
Hudson Explorers

Senior Chris Slater had an outstanding evening in the throwing events April 14 in leading the Hudson boys track and field team to an easy 83-54 victory at Suburban League National Conference rival Nordonia.

It was the Explorers’ first win over the Knights in five years as they improved to 3-0 overall and 3-0 in the National Conference.

Slater won the discus event with a personal-best throw of 161 feet. He followed that up with a first-place shot put toss of 44 feet.

“Chris had a fantastic performance throwing the discus,” Hudson head coach Mark McConnell said. “He’d been starting to throw really well last week in practice, so we were just waiting for that to happen during a meet, and it really soared in this meet. He was pretty pumped after such a good throw.

“He did really well throwing the shot put, too. He was very confident. A lot of his confidence came from his really good throw he had in the discus. Winning the discus really fired him up for the shot put. It wasn’t his personal best, but he had a very good night throwing the shot put.

“Chris really set the pace for our throwing events. He led the way and did a very good job. I figured there was a good opportunity for him to have a good night. The weather was perfect – mid-60s, not a lot of wind. And he really stepped up to the plate and delivered a really good performance.”

According to McConnell, Slater, like many of the team’s upperclassmen, is hungrier for success than normal because last season was taken away by COVID-19.

“Chris has improved a lot since his sophomore year,” he said. “We’ve seen that with a lot of our seniors. They’re two years older. We’ve seen a lot of development, which is very common with these boys in high school as they get bigger, stronger and faster every year. And Chris definitely is bigger, stronger and faster than he was two years ago. So it’s been no surprise to see him throwing a lot better than he did then.

“He’s on pace to do really well this season. He has his goals of trying to go far in the postseason, and he’s progressing really well. I was talking with our throwing coach, and he’s been really pleased with how well he’s thrown so far this season. He’s excited to see how Chris continues to progress as the season goes on. It’s been a joy to see him do so well.”

Slater takes practice sessions very seriously.

“Chris is always working on his technique and working hard to improve those little moments in his throwing skill and technique to get the maximum distance possible,” said McConnell. “He’s definitely coachable and working hard every day at practice to get better at both the shot put and the discus.

“I think the mental aspect of his throws has really helped him this season. He’s really focused and motivated.”

Slater is also one of the leaders on the team.

“Chris shows the younger guys how it’s done, and they’re learning a lot from him,” McConnell said.