Junior Max Klein breaks 40-year-old shot put record, now ranked 7th in the country

(Photo Courtesy of Max Klein)

(Photo Courtesy of Max Klein)

Andy Zhou

Junior Max Klein shattered his own Newton North track and field shot put record by nearly two feet with a throw of 63 feet and 0.5 inches Saturday, April 24, placing him 7th in the country.   

Klein broke the school shot put record twice, first surpassing North’s previous 43-year-old shot put record of 59 feet and 8.5 inches set by Joel Dennis in 1978. He beat that record with a throw of 61 feet and 1.5 inches in a meet against Milton, Thursday, April 1. On April 24, he set the record again. This throw placed him seventh in the country.

“It was just a matter of time––we knew it was gonna happen,” said health and wellness teacher Michael Bower, the shot put coach. “He has a great keen eye for the technique and he’s a student of the sport, always looking for more information and knowledge.”

During his initial throw on April 1, Klein was unsure if he had broken the record, but his uncertainty quickly shifted to relief.  “Once it got measured, I nodded at coach Bower, and that’s when I think I realized I broke it,” said Klein.

The records are an important step in Klein’s shot put career. “I think this has really put me forward and given me the confidence that I can actually go to nationals and compete,” said Klein. “That is kind of my next big goal: to either place or even win.”

Klein added that the broken record came as a surprise to some of his teammates. “All my friends thought it was an April Fool’s joke when I said I threw 61,” said Klein. “The 60 foot in the throwing realm is kind of that big goal for everyone, and it doesn’t happen that often. It was always a goal for me to throw 60 feet, but I had no clue when it was gonna happen.”

In addition to studying the sport, Klein’s committed work ethic set him apart from others. “He pretty much trains every single day, in one way or another,” said Bower. “Just to put in perspective, during the winter time, he’s outside here at the high school shoveling snow, and then throwing in the snow.”

Bower added that Klein’s versatile skill set allows him to pursue many facets of track and field. “Wait until he goes outside and he throws the discus,” said Bower. “He’s gonna smash that record too.”