Little City man scores big in throws pentathlon
VERGENNES — Vergennes athlete Ron McConnell broke another barrier on his quest to be the best he can in the track and field discipline of throws pentathlon.
At the USATF East Regional Throwing Championships in Chelmsford, Mass., on July 12. the 51-year-old surpassed the 4,000-mark (what he called “the Mt. Everest of points in the pentathlon world”) and ended up scoring a lifetime best of 4,109 points. It not only won him the gold and was the highest point total at the meet, but it was also good enough to be competitive on a national, and perhaps world, stage.
The throws pentathlon consists of five events: the hammer throw, shot put, discus and javelin throw (all Olympic events), plus the weight throw, which is similar to the hammer but with a different size implement. Athletes are awarded points for the distance they throw in each event.
Of the five events (hammer, 156’; shot put, 44’ 9”; discus, 144’ 5”; javelin, 175’; and weight throw, 56’ 3”) he set four lifetime personal records.
The 4109 currently ranks first in the USA and second in the world, as well as coming close to setting a track and field American age group record, McConnell said.
The Regional Championship was an elite-level meet, and McConnell faced some stiff competition. Fifty-five-year-old Bob Arello led the competition slightly after the hammer throw and shot put, and John Wirtz, 45, used a strong discus to surge ahead.. But McConnell clobbered Arello and Wirtz in the javelin — one of McConnell’s best events and also had a good round in the weight. Wirtz was second with 4,082 point and Arello was third with 4078.
McConnell is in training for the “Throwathon,” a throwing marathon to be held in Chelmsford on Sept. 6.
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