LAWRENCE — Ryan Doherty knew he wasn’t cut out to be a hurdler. The massive tumble was simply the painful confirmation.
“I was a JV hurdler and wasn’t very fast,” he said. “One day my sophomore year I took a huge spill where I caught both my arms and legs on a hurdle. I went down hard. That’s when I called it. That’s when everyone looked at me and knew I shouldn’t be hurdling.”
It wasn’t until after that embarrassing incident that Doherty even considered trying to throw a javelin, and it took until his junior indoor track season for the football standout to pick up a shot put.
But now, just over a year later, Central Catholic senior from Methuen has earned Eagle-Tribune All-Star honors in his two seasons focusing on the shot put, and ranks among the area’s best in the javelin.
“Ryan is just a born leader,” said Raiders head coach Mike Leal. “A few years ago he was a JV sprinter, just here to get in shape for football. Last year he really found throwing, and he has become an elite performer in multiple events. He just loves to compete.”
Last spring Doherty threw 52-8 1/2, best for an area athlete, earning Eagle-Tribune All-Star honors and this winter he was again an All-Star with a 51-9 3/4. In between he earned Eagle-Tribune football defensive MVP honors.
“I just love to compete,” he said. “I love throwing because I can compete against opponents and I can compete against myself and my best. I really didn’t see this success coming.”
Doherty, in fact, never intended to go out for track.
“I came to Central thinking football and baseball would be my thing,” he said. “But then I got cut from the baseball team, and it was really the football coaches telling us to do other sports and not be lazy. So I tried track, and running really wasn’t a good fit.”