MANCHESTER CENTRAL has a pretty good track record of producing Division I javelin throw champions. Last season during her junior season, Dominique Pascoal won the title at the NHIAA Division I Track and Field Championships and last Sunday, sophomore Jacob Stanko won his championship at Winnacunnet High of Hampton.
It’s interesting to note that Pascoal and Stanko each won their respective titles in their first season of throwing the javelin.
“It was surreal — still is when I think about that day” said Pascoal of her Division I championship last season. “The day before the meet I sprained my foot playing basketball and on the day of the meet I went to school on crutches. My trainer told me it wouldn’t be a good idea to throw the javelin that day. I told him I wanted to. He ended up taping my foot and I went out and won.”
Stanko posted a personal-best throw of 163-03 last Sunday to win his crown and Pascoal finished second with a 117-05 in her Division I javelin competition.
The season for both will continue today at 2:30 p.m. in the Meet of Champions at Londonderry High.
Stanko has already had a memorable sophomore season.
Last fall, he was summoned to the varsity football team to start at quarterback against rival Memorial and Merrimack.
“I played junior varsity, but they needed me when some players got hurt,” said Stanko, who threw his first varsity touchdown pass against the Tomahawks. “It was a 15-yard pass to Nick Makris, something I won’t ever forget.”
Stanko explained throwing a football and a javelin are one in the same.
“The technique for both is the same,” said Stanko. “I mean throwing the football in the fall really keeps me sharp for the javelin throw.”
Pascoal agreed, adding “you’re trying to throw a perfect spiral as far as you can. And it’s not just your arm that’s doing the work, it’s your whole body. I never believed something so simple could keep you focused and in shape. After a long, hard stressful day in school, it just feels good to get outdoors and throw the javelin.”
Pascoal said during her freshman season, former Central coach Kelly Fox asked her to try the javelin. “She convinced me that I was capable of doing it. To that point all I ever mainly played was soccer and basketball. So when I took her (Fox) advice, I went out and threw the javelin 102 feet in my very first meet. I enjoyed it, but because I had other things going on in my life, I didn’t join the track team until my junior season.”
Not only did Pascoal win the Division I title last year, she qualified for the New England Track and Field Championships in New Britain, Conn., and recorded a personal-best throw of 122-4 for a fifth-place finish.
“I was so excited and yet so nervous and overwhelmed of being there,” said Pascoal. “To me it was like being part of the Olympic Games or something like it on a smaller scale.”
Stanko started competing in track as a 1,600-meter runner at Hillside Middle School, but he soon turned his attention to the throwing events. “I just didn’t enjoy running,” said the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Stanko. “Basically it just comes down to me liking to throw things. I just like throwing the football and javelin.”
Today, Stanko said he’s expecting a tougher field at Londonderry. “We’re at the stage where we’re facing the best of the best from each division,” said Stanko. “I’m just going to go out and do my best.”
Stanko still has two more seasons at Central, but Pascoal is moving on to Keene State College. She wants to major in education, minor in communication and her dream one day is to become a teacher or an actress.
“I’m going to stick with the javelin at Keene State, but I’m thinking of trying out for the basketball team,” said Pasqual. “I can shoot really well and I just want to get back into it.”
As she departs Central, she said she’s grateful for all the encouragement and support she’s received from coaches Misty Francis, Kristen Bouchard and Coby Jacobus.
“I just hope my coaches see what I see from them,” said Pascoal. “They’ve helped me along the way and javelin has opened a few more doors for me.”
Stanko said his goal after high school is to join the Marines. “I want to attend the Naval Academy and play football for Navy,” he said. “One day I hope I can play in the Navy-Army game. I enjoy watching it on TV every year.”
Stanko said he’s rooting for Pascoal today and hopes both of them reach the New Englands.
“Dominique is awesome and I’m happy for her,” said Stanko. “She’s a great thrower and knows how to do it better than me. To qualify for New England, you have to finish top five and I really believe Dominique and I are capable of doing it.”
Manchester Memorial will have two athletes trying to qualify for the New Englands. Junior Brett Hoerner is the second seed in the 800-meter run today. Last week, he finished second in the Division I meet with a 1:55.86 time.
Senior Shawn Case is seeded fourth today in the triple jump after he finished third in the Division I meet with a 42-0 leap.
THE third annual Dan Duval Memorial Golf Tournament is set for Friday, June 27, at Derryfield Country Club. Shotgun start is 8:30 a.m., followed by an auctions of sports items to raise money for the Dan Duval Charitable Trust.
By the end of this school year, the trust will have given out over $15,000 in scholarships and donations. This week scholarship committee members Pat O’Neil, Bill Sheehan and Judy Cooper announced the 2014 scholarship winners in June: Danny McMillan, Manchester West; Sarah Brewster, Manchester Memorial; Kelly Martin and Anja Matukic, Manchester Central; and Bryce Pepin, Trinity High.
Organizer Jeff Duval said the tournament is filled, but he’s still looking for sign sponsors, and merchandise for the raffle table. One can call Duval at 494-0152 for more information.
“City Sports” is published Saturdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email staff reporter John Habib at firstname.lastname@example.org.