Curtis Fitzpatrick was a natural fit for the shot put.
The Egg Harbor Township High School senior is 6-foot, 210 pounds, strong and athletic.
"We put our athletes, our big guys over there," EHT track and field coach Ryan Smith said. "He was prototypical for it."
It's a little surprising to see an athlete of Fitzpatrick's size to finish the shot put and then head to the starting line of a sprint race.
What's even more surprising is how often he wins.
Fitzpatrick excels at sprints and throws for the Eagles. Egg Harbor Township is ranked No. 1 in The Press Elite 11 and is among the favorites for South Jersey and state Group IV titles.
Fitzpatrick competes in the 100, 200 and high jump along with the shot put. His contributions are invaluable to the Eagles when it comes to team scoring.
"His ability is natural," Smith said. "He knows exactly what he has to do."
Fitzpatrick, an 18-year-old Egg Harbor Township resident, ran sprints and dabbled in the shot put on his middle school track and field team. When coaches asked him to do both as an EHT freshman, he jumped at the challenge.
Fitzpatrick complements teammates Kofi Yamoah and James Plummer in the shot put. Both throwers are headed to NCAA Division I programs on scholarships - Yamoah to Rutgers University and Plummer to Clemson University.
All seniors, Fitzpatrick, Yamoah and Plummer are leaders of an Eagles team with very high expectations.
"We have to get that state title," Fitzpatrick said. "We have a lot of good athletes. We'll have to get (the top three in events like the shot put) to win."
The 1-2-3 punch in the shot put is just one aspect of EHT's impressive roster.
Plummer is also a talented discus thrower. Steven Morgan is EHT's top hurdler. The Eagles return many athletes and won the Varsity II track title at the Jim Camburn Memorial Relays at Buena Regional on April 6.
"Our depth is tremendous," Smith said. "We cover every event."
Fitzgerald epitomizes the Eagles' versatility.
Track and field athletes often compete in more than one event. Some excel in a few events.
It's rare, however, to see someone fare well in such different events as sprints and throws. Fitzgerald was a running back and defensive back for the Eagles football team.
"I'm ready to get in my groove. I just love to compete," Fitzgerald said. "When someone does better than me, I want to keep practicing until I'm better than them."
Fitzgerald has progressively become one of the area's top sprinters. He won the state Group IV 55-meter dash over the indoor season and helped the Eagles to their first state title under Smith.
The winter success has EHT's athletes and coaches hungry for more. The Eagles fell short of last spring's expectations to win a South Jersey Group IV title.
"That is our goal this year," Smith said.
The Ocean City girls team is off to a solid start thanks in part to some key athletes winning multiple events.
The Red Raiders are ranked No. 8 in the Elite 11 and a contender for the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference. Bridget Flynn won the 400 and 800 in a tri-meet against Mainland Regional and Vineland last Monday. Flynn and Rachel Stremme, who won the 400 hurdles, also ran for Ocean City's winning 1,600-meter relay team.
In the same tri-meet, Taylor Price swept all three jumps. She won the high jump clearing 4 feet, 8 inches, the long jump (15-8) and the triple jump (32-0).
All three were victorious in various events in Ocean City's dual meet win against Hammonton in a dual meet last Wednesday.
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