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Coulter gives it his best shotput

Chris Coulter was All-Catholic in his first season competing in track. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Chris Coulter was All-Catholic in his first season competing in track. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Most athletes would have been pretty happy

Not Chris Coulter.

Coulter is a sophomore at Father Judge High School, and in the winter he decided to keep busy and stay in shape during the offseason, the two-way tackle on the football team would give another sport a try. So he signed up for track and picked up the shot put.

He started with the indoor season, and he was good. Not great, but that’s to be expected because he never picked up a shot before this winter.

Didn’t matter, he was still disappointed.

“I missed All-Catholic by three inches,” Coulter said. “I figured I’d try it because it would help me in football, make me explosive and faster and I thought I would be decent at it since I have size and strength.

“I didn’t know how much I would do in indoor because I started late, but I was disappointed I didn’t make All-Catholic. Missing it made me really want to get better, and I did improve a lot.”

A whole lot.

Coulter didn’t just make All-Catholic in the spring, but he was first team, and advanced to the state championships at Shippensburg University.

All of this was within five months of the first time he picked up a shot.

“It was hard getting in a lot of practice because every day we’d have football and track at the same time, but it worked out,” said Coulter, who lives in Winchester Park. “I would go to football practice, and then after I would go out and try by myself, focusing on form and power. I got better and better.

“It’s harder than I expected. When I first picked it up and felt it, it’s 12 pounds, I couldn’t believe how far people could throw it. Like the world record is over 70 feet. I didn’t understand how someone could throw it that far, but now I want to be one of the ones throwing it that far.”

Coulter found himself throwing against the best in the state during states, and that only motivates him to do better next year and the year after.

“I think I can do a lot better,” Coulter said. “I have a shot put now. I got it for my birthday. So I’m working on it. It’s about getting stronger and having better form. The more I practice, the better I feel.”

It’s a perfect second sport for Coulter, but make no mistake about it, the big guy is a football player first.

He became a starter on the offensive line during his freshman year, when the Crusaders played in the spring after the school opted out due to coronavirus. It actually worked out great for Coulter, who used the extra time to get better. And by the time the spring season rolled around, he was ready to go.

“It gave me time to get in the weight room, which you usually don’t get before football season,” Coulter said. “I started right away, and it was good. It was fun to play against very good teams. We weren’t in the Catholic League, but those teams were really good. It was great to get that experience.”

As a sophomore, Coulter’s responsibilities grew larger.

Not only was he a fixture at offensive guard, he became a starter on the defensive line as well. Playing on the line is tough in any situation, but when you’re playing a schedule that includes teams like St. Joe’s Prep, La Salle, Archbishop Wood and Roman Catholic, it’s even harder. Those teams routinely have guys who go on to play college football, many at the Division I level.

But Coulter, thanks to some experienced teammates and quick learning, held his own during his first year in the Catholic League Red Division.

“We had a really good line, especially the seniors, they were great leaders and good players,” said Coulter, who led the Crusaders to a seven-win season despite the tough schedule. “They were always helping us. That’s how I got to do well against better competition.”

Next year, the Crusaders will have three new starting offensive linemen after losing three to graduation. Don’t worry, they’ll have a guy who is more than willing to show them the ropes.

“That is my job, I want to teach the younger kids what they need to know to play,” said Coulter, who was the vice president of his sophomore class. “They need to learn how to be good leaders for when they grow up. The seniors taught me that, and now it’s up to me to teach the new guys. That’s how you get better.”

Football workouts will dominate Coulter’s summer. He’ll also pick up that 12-pound ball and continue to perfect his craft. Because as a football player, Coulter makes a very good shot putter.

“My PR this year was 44 feet, so I want to keep getting better,” Coulter said. “States was a really nice experience. It showed me what I have to accomplish in the next few years if I want to compete. It shows me what the competition looks like. The form they had, the throws they had, it taught me what I can do in my career.”

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