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Fragapane looks to build on state success in 2015

Barrow MVP

POSTED: June 7, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

Fragapane lets loose at the 2014 Georgia Olympics. He would finish second in the state for Class-AAAAA shot put and first in Region 8-AAAAA.

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Barrow County has a rich history of track and field success, and that tradition continued this past year with multiple athletes from both Apalachee and Winder-Barrow making the state finals in Augusta and Jefferson.

One of Apalachee’s representatives, Tyler Fragapane, took second in Class AAAAA shot put after winning both Region 8-AAAAA and taking second at the AAAAA East sectional.

The Wildcat junior threw a 50’ 6” shot to claim second in his class at the Georgia Olympics on May 8 to help Apalachee claim a 28th place finish with his 8 points.  

Fragapane, who will be a senior next year, has even higher aspirations than finishing as the state runner-up.

“I did it last year, but this year was more difficult because I had shoulder surgery, so I understand why I didn’t finish as well as I wanted to, but it should be better next year,” Apalachee thrower Tyler Fragapane stated.Fragapane’s best throw in 2014 was 50’ 8”, more than three feet better than his farthest mark from 2013. If he is able to consistently improve at a similar rate, Fragapane would have a great shot at winning state next year and ranking among the best throwers anywhere.“The more I get my shoulder stronger, the farther I can throw,” Fragapane added. “My coach takes me to the weight room and makes me do all-shoulder workouts and explosive workouts. I pretty much work on power and explosive workouts.”One way Fragapane intends to improve upon this year’s performance is to add a rather difficult weapon to his arsenal: the spin throw. While spin throws are common in discus and are, in fact, almost the only way to compete in high school, shot put is a whole other animal. Shot putters tend to adopt the spin only if they are already competing at the highest level with other forms and seek to add that extra push to their overall distance.The reason for that is because it is such a difficult skill to learn, requiring balance and concentration that no other shot put form requires.As difficult as it may be to learn the spin, Fragapane has one advantage. He is also learning the hammer throw, which is exclusively spin, so he can throw in college. The GHSA does not field hammer throw competitions at the state level, so Fragapane has had to seek out additional training and coaching from outside sources in order to improve his hammer throw technique, but those lessons have proven useful.“I’m trying to learn hammer for college. I started doing it at the Georgia Track Camp. They brought their throwers out there to teach us and I’ve been spinning and enjoying it,” Fragapane mentioned. “It takes a lot of balance, I can tell you that, because they taught us to spin three times and release, which I was trying to learn the spin move at that time and get used to it.”Between extra practice at hammer throw and Fragapane’s usual training, he believes that he will be ready to employ his practiced and polished spin move starting next season.“I spun probably three times this year. The furthest was probably 45 feet, and that was a good day,” Fragapane joked. With Fragapane’s success at state and throughout the season, it is little surprise that colleges have begun taking notice of Apalachee’s premiere thrower. So far, Fragapane admits that he has received offers and interest from quite a few schools, but he is still holding out for something more.“I want to go to college. I want to make sure my parents don’t have to pay for anything,” Fragapane explained. “I’ve heard from a couple colleges, and a bunch of colleges are sending me e-mail about track, but I haven’t got one college yet that I want to go to. I haven’t got UGA yet.” The track and field facilities at the Spec Towns complex on-campus at the University of Georgia have often been regarded as some of the best in the country, especially for throwing events. Many Olympic throwing athletes, such as former Bulldog Reese Hoffa, continue to train in Athens, making it an excellent destination for anyone hoping to build a collegiate career as a thrower.“Believe me, no other colleges, whatever they’re offering, I’m going to UGA if they offer,” Fragapane admitted Fragapane spends much of his time training and working, so he spends his precious off time just enjoying the company of family and friends.“I’ve got a job, so I go to work just about every other day. Other than that, I hang out with family,” Fragapane said. “I don’t really want to go out. There’s no point in doing it anymore.”While Fragapane has found recent success in shot put, his athletic career nearly strayed far from the throwing ring. He had originally wanted to play baseball and football, but a string of injuries and concerned friends forced him to find a new avenue of athletic expression.“It hasn’t been too hard sitting out of football because that’s where I got all my injuries,” Fragapane admitted. “When I was in eighth grade I was going to play baseball, but my friends told me I wasn’t very good.”With nowhere to turn, the now disillusioned baseball player had to discover his own path.“So then I turned to track and I turned out to be amazing at it, so I just stuck with it,” Fragapane added.Fragapane plans to return to Apalachee’s track and field program in the spring of 2015 where he will compete one last time for a state title at the annual Georgia Olympics.
 

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