St. Rose shot putter Huisman uses hard work, prayer to claim MOC gold

June 21, 2023 at 8:02 p.m.
St. Rose shot putter Huisman uses hard work, prayer to claim MOC gold
St. Rose shot putter Huisman uses hard work, prayer to claim MOC gold

By Rich Fisher • Contributing Editor

Shot putter Josh Huisman has a secret weapon that he shares with God. 

“Throwing and many other sports are all mental,” Huisman said. “Doing prayers and meditation the night before, and the morning of, really pays off.”

The St. Rose of Belmar junior cashed in for his first outdoor NJSIAA Meet of Champions gold medal with a PR (personal record) throw of 64-feet, 7.75 inches on June 15 at Franklin High. It makes a nice bookend for the indoor gold he won this past winter. 

“The fact I was able to win an indoor and outdoor title is an amazing feeling,” said Huisman, who entered as the fourth seed. “During the indoor season there is not as much competition. Also, some people who had higher marks than me indoors were sick. So, the fact everyone was feeling well for the outdoor season and there was more competition makes it much more of an accomplishment.”

Josh out-threw Fabian Gonzalez of Southern Regional, Manahawkin, by 8.75 inches in a competition that was in doubt until near the end. Huisman’s winning toss came on the fifth of his six opportunities.

“The competition was very entertaining because it kept going back and forth between me and Fabian for first,” he said. 

Purple Roses coach Pete Casagrande was impressed with the calm confidence that Huisman displayed. 

“Josh is always working towards being the best,” Casagrande said. “We talked during the competition when he was behind, and he very calmly told me ‘I got this.’ He is amazing.” 

Huisman was hoping to hit 65 feet on his final attempt but put a little too much “oomph” in it. 

“I believe I got 60 feet,” he said. “Since it was my last throw, I decided to go as fast and hard as I could, and it ended up being too much. I couldn’t hit the correct positions for a big throw. … [It] only gives me more motivation for next year.”

For now, it’s nice to look back on this year. Huisman won eight of the 10 big events he threw in and finished second in the other two (including the Penn Relays). He also took second in discus in the Monmouth and Non-Public B meets. 

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Casagrande knew all along Huisman would excel this spring. “He inherited his work ethic from his two older brothers who threw at St. Rose and has become the hardest working athlete we have ever coached,” the coach said.

“We watched him get better each week. Winning two MOC titles in one year is incredible. … We have been blessed with so many incredible throwers in the past, but Josh may end up being the best we have ever seen.” 

Other MOC medal winners (top eight finishers) for the boys were St. Rose’s Brian Theobald (2nd, 1600); Donovan Catholic’s Michael Thomas (5th, 100 meters); Red Bank Catholic’s Emanuel Ross (3rd, long jump); and CBA’s Conor Clifford (5th, 1600), Code Abutel (7th, javelin), and the 4x400 relay (8th). 

Girls to medal were Red Bank Catholic’s Cate DeSousa (4th, 800); St. Rose’s Tilly O’Connor (3rd, 3200); and St. John Vianney’s Alexandria Scott (2nd, 400 hurdles). 


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Shot putter Josh Huisman has a secret weapon that he shares with God. 

“Throwing and many other sports are all mental,” Huisman said. “Doing prayers and meditation the night before, and the morning of, really pays off.”

The St. Rose of Belmar junior cashed in for his first outdoor NJSIAA Meet of Champions gold medal with a PR (personal record) throw of 64-feet, 7.75 inches on June 15 at Franklin High. It makes a nice bookend for the indoor gold he won this past winter. 

“The fact I was able to win an indoor and outdoor title is an amazing feeling,” said Huisman, who entered as the fourth seed. “During the indoor season there is not as much competition. Also, some people who had higher marks than me indoors were sick. So, the fact everyone was feeling well for the outdoor season and there was more competition makes it much more of an accomplishment.”

Josh out-threw Fabian Gonzalez of Southern Regional, Manahawkin, by 8.75 inches in a competition that was in doubt until near the end. Huisman’s winning toss came on the fifth of his six opportunities.

“The competition was very entertaining because it kept going back and forth between me and Fabian for first,” he said. 

Purple Roses coach Pete Casagrande was impressed with the calm confidence that Huisman displayed. 

“Josh is always working towards being the best,” Casagrande said. “We talked during the competition when he was behind, and he very calmly told me ‘I got this.’ He is amazing.” 

Huisman was hoping to hit 65 feet on his final attempt but put a little too much “oomph” in it. 

“I believe I got 60 feet,” he said. “Since it was my last throw, I decided to go as fast and hard as I could, and it ended up being too much. I couldn’t hit the correct positions for a big throw. … [It] only gives me more motivation for next year.”

For now, it’s nice to look back on this year. Huisman won eight of the 10 big events he threw in and finished second in the other two (including the Penn Relays). He also took second in discus in the Monmouth and Non-Public B meets. 

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Casagrande knew all along Huisman would excel this spring. “He inherited his work ethic from his two older brothers who threw at St. Rose and has become the hardest working athlete we have ever coached,” the coach said.

“We watched him get better each week. Winning two MOC titles in one year is incredible. … We have been blessed with so many incredible throwers in the past, but Josh may end up being the best we have ever seen.” 

Other MOC medal winners (top eight finishers) for the boys were St. Rose’s Brian Theobald (2nd, 1600); Donovan Catholic’s Michael Thomas (5th, 100 meters); Red Bank Catholic’s Emanuel Ross (3rd, long jump); and CBA’s Conor Clifford (5th, 1600), Code Abutel (7th, javelin), and the 4x400 relay (8th). 

Girls to medal were Red Bank Catholic’s Cate DeSousa (4th, 800); St. Rose’s Tilly O’Connor (3rd, 3200); and St. John Vianney’s Alexandria Scott (2nd, 400 hurdles). 

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