WOONSOCKET – These next six months are going to be electrifying and entertaining for Woonsocket High’s Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan.
Competing in the Villa Novans’ season-opening Northern Division indoor track and field meet against Mount Saint Charles Academy and Central Falls High last Thursday at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house, the All-American thrower easily captured the shot put and 25-pound weight throw, and he did so with distances that caught the region’s attention.
In the shot, Robinson-O’Hagan, who will continue his superb career next fall at the University of Mississippi, delivered a throw of 63 feet, 6½ inches that broke Classical legend Charles Ajootian’s 56-year-old state record by 13 inches, and in the weight, he unleashed an 81-foot-1 throw that put him atop the national rankings in that event.
“Ten minutes before we left for the meet, he went through an incline bench, two different sets of deadlifts, and a few other things,” head coach Marc Piette said last Friday afternoon. “It’s December, we always lift. We train through it all to be fresh in February.”
Robinson-O’Hagan, who was ranked second in the nation in the weight last winter with a throw of 76-5½, which was 30¼ inches behind his former WHS teammate, University of Kentucky freshman Logan Coles, now sits 26¼ inches away from the state record that was set seven seasons ago by Barrington’s Adam Kelly, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that mark fall during the start of 2022.
“It’s unbelievable, and let me tell you, there’s a lot more in there,” said Piette. “It’s not like, ‘This was the perfect throw.’ There’s a lot to be had, so I’m pretty confident we can be mid-to-high 80s.”
“I think 86-6 is number two all-time in the nation,” added the veteran head coach. “I don’t know if number one’s a possibility – that’s 93 feet and that’s pretty deep – but we’re going to make a run for everything that we can.”
As for his throw in the shot put, which currently has him ranked second in the nation in that event, it’s unclear if it will indeed count as a state record “because a steel tape wasn’t available to measure it,” added Piette. “And Tarik didn’t beat (the record) by an inch, he beat it by more than a foot, so the steel tape isn’t going to do much.”
Robinson-O’Hagan was back in action at last weekend’s 67th annual Bishop Loughlin Games at the Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex in Staten Island, N.Y., and in that meet, he competed against some of the East Coast’s top throwers, including the one that sits in second place in the national rankings in the weight, New York’s Michael Pinckney, whose top throw is 79-9¾.
Robinson-O’Hagan wasn’t able to hit the 80-foot mark in the weight, but his throw of 79-1 was still good enough to claim the event and top Pinckney by nearly seven feet. And in the shot, his winning throw of 62-8 outdistanced Pinckney by almost three feet.
“It looks like it’s going to be a big year,” Piette said on Monday afternoon. “Tarik’s been in the weight room now for a few weeks and the strength gain has been massive in that short period of time.”
Joining Robinson-O’Hagan and Piette on the trip to New York were four freshman throwers from the WHS girls’ squad. Competing in the freshman shot put was Piette’s daughter, Isabella, who took third place with a throw of 26-1½, and Adelaide Caron, who placed eighth in 22-5¾, and in the freshman weight, Angeliea Ortiz finished eighth in 33-8¾ and Piette was ninth in 33-4¼.