Despite knee issues, St. Rose’s Huisman wins another MOC gold in shot put

June 14, 2024 at 10:59 a.m.
St. Rose's Josh Huisman stands atop the podium for the fourth time in his career after winning the gold medal in the shot put at the June 12 Meet of Champions. Courtesy photo
St. Rose's Josh Huisman stands atop the podium for the fourth time in his career after winning the gold medal in the shot put at the June 12 Meet of Champions. Courtesy photo

By RICH FISHER
Contributing Editor

As his high school throwing career winds down, it’s tempting to wonder how great Josh Huisman would be with a healthy left knee, because of how good he is right now.

The St. Rose of Belmar senior won another NJSIAA Meet of Champions shot put gold medal on June 12, as he uncorked a career outdoor best throw of 67-feet, 3-¾ inches at Pennsauken High School. It was Huisman’s second straight outdoor MOC title, to go along with two indoor MOC golds he won the past two winters.

It came on the heels of the Non-Public B championship he won June 8 with a throw of 64-9¾ at Stockton University in Galloway. On June 15, he will try to conclude his outstanding career by getting a PR throw at the New Balance Nationals in Philadelphia.

And he is doing it all with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee.

“It felt good to get a decent mark at the Meet of Champs,” Huisman said after his June 13 practice. “I have not been able to train like I did in the winter or past years. I’m going to physical therapy but I’m not doing any squatting, not taking that many throws. I only took 10 throws today; I usually take 20 to 30. I know if I take anymore it’s gonna start to hurt.

“It’s one of those nagging things,” he continued. “I have the reps underneath my belt but it’s kind of a mind game right now. I know I can throw one really far, even with a torn patellar. I’ll hope for the best (at Nationals) and prepare for the worst.” 

Huisman was put to the test by Bergen Catholic’s Ben Shue at the MOC. Shue threw a 69-2 three days earlier at the Non-Public A meet. The two went back and forth exchanging further marks throughout the competition. Each fouled on an attempt where they both threw over 70 feet. On his second-to-last heave, Josh hit his winning mark as Shue finished with a 65-10½. 


St. Rose Meet of Champions medal winners Josh Huisman (left) and Joe Seib (right) flank coaches Pete Casagrande and Kaitlyn Lavery after competition ended at the June 12 meet. Courtesy photo

“It was a nailbiter until the end,” said Kaitlyn Lavery, who coaches St. Rose along with Pete Casagrande. “I was very happy to see Josh win again… I knew he was going for the school record, which he didn’t get. He’ll go for it at nationals.

“I saw the results from Non-Public A and Ben had a further throw than Josh had in Non-Public B,” the coach continued. “So, I was anxious to see if Josh could pull it out. I did think he was gonna win. Josh is Josh and he’s done it before.”

As he neared his final throws, Huisman had to use his adrenaline effectively but not let it overwhelm him.

“In big meets like that your adrenaline kind of goes through the sky,” he said. “Your head’s spinning. I found it’s better to take it down a notch, stay calm. And that’s what really helped me.”

Huisman admitted that after he hit his winning mark, he was jittery to see if Shue would pass him again.

“Watching his last throw was pretty nerve-wracking,” he said. “I didn’t think mine was enough. It’s definitely one of the better competitions I’ve been at. It was a good battle and made me feel good at the end.”

Huisman also took fourth in discus with a 172-9, falling 13 inches short of his second-place distance of 173-10 at the Non-Public B meet. Josh was happy to see junior teammate Joe Seib finish fifth in shot at the MOC with a mark of 58-4-½.

At Nationals, Josh will try to break his PR (and indoor school record) of 67-7, set at the winter Meet of Champs. He also hopes to get Luke Grodeska’s school mark of 68-¾

Lavery knows he will be ready.

“He’s an awesome kid to work with,” she said. “You can see at these meets that he’s not only focused on doing his job and getting a win and getting prepared for himself; he’s also there talking to all the other throwers. Everybody likes him, everybody admires the kid.”

The coach credits his family for much of Huisman’s success. His dad and brother Andrew put up a throwing circle at their Wall home and numerous throwers from other Shore Conference schools along with St. Rose have stopped by to work out.

“He gets a lot of support and that makes it fun for him,” Lavery said. “A lot of people look up to him and that pushes him to do better.”

In looking back on a high school career that has landed him a scholarship to the University of Michigan (helped by a 3.5 grade point average), Huisman can only smile. 

“It’s been a long ride, but it’s been fun,” he said. “The coolest part was freshman year, being on the team with my brother was a real blast, something to remember. I learned a lot from him. My sophomore year we didn’t have many throwers. I was calling on some friends and got some kids to do it. Now we have a full team with close to 10 throwers. They can carry on what my brother and Luke Grodeska started.”

And what Josh has maintained.


Other Meet of Champion place-winners (top 8 finish) were: 

BOYS 

Lincroft’s Christian Brothers Academy: Senior Jack Falkowski, 2nd, 800 meters (1:51.65).

Senior Kevin Van Lew, 7th, discus (169-04)

Toms Rivers’ Donovan Catholic: Junior Michael Douglas, 3rd 100 meters (10.70).

Red Bank Catholic: Senior Patrick Coyle, 7th, 800 meters (1:55.75).

GIRLS

Holmdel’s St. John Vianney:  Senior Alexandria Scott finished 2nd in the 400 meters (1:00.51).

Other South Jersey Non-Public A sectional gold medal winners were:  

BOYS 

CBA: Senior Jack Falkowski, 800 meters (1:53.16), and 1600 meters (4:09.99); junior Joe Barrett, 3200 meters, 9:01.21; senior Tristan McFarlane, high jump (6-2)

GIRLS 

RBC: 4x800 relay team of juniors Ava Bataglio, Charlotte Heaton and Grace Heaton and freshman Rhiannon Hill; junior Kennedy Miller, shot (38¼)

SJV: Senior Alexandria Scott, 400 meters (1:00.57)


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As his high school throwing career winds down, it’s tempting to wonder how great Josh Huisman would be with a healthy left knee, because of how good he is right now.

The St. Rose of Belmar senior won another NJSIAA Meet of Champions shot put gold medal on June 12, as he uncorked a career outdoor best throw of 67-feet, 3-¾ inches at Pennsauken High School. It was Huisman’s second straight outdoor MOC title, to go along with two indoor MOC golds he won the past two winters.

It came on the heels of the Non-Public B championship he won June 8 with a throw of 64-9¾ at Stockton University in Galloway. On June 15, he will try to conclude his outstanding career by getting a PR throw at the New Balance Nationals in Philadelphia.

And he is doing it all with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee.

“It felt good to get a decent mark at the Meet of Champs,” Huisman said after his June 13 practice. “I have not been able to train like I did in the winter or past years. I’m going to physical therapy but I’m not doing any squatting, not taking that many throws. I only took 10 throws today; I usually take 20 to 30. I know if I take anymore it’s gonna start to hurt.

“It’s one of those nagging things,” he continued. “I have the reps underneath my belt but it’s kind of a mind game right now. I know I can throw one really far, even with a torn patellar. I’ll hope for the best (at Nationals) and prepare for the worst.” 

Huisman was put to the test by Bergen Catholic’s Ben Shue at the MOC. Shue threw a 69-2 three days earlier at the Non-Public A meet. The two went back and forth exchanging further marks throughout the competition. Each fouled on an attempt where they both threw over 70 feet. On his second-to-last heave, Josh hit his winning mark as Shue finished with a 65-10½. 


St. Rose Meet of Champions medal winners Josh Huisman (left) and Joe Seib (right) flank coaches Pete Casagrande and Kaitlyn Lavery after competition ended at the June 12 meet. Courtesy photo

“It was a nailbiter until the end,” said Kaitlyn Lavery, who coaches St. Rose along with Pete Casagrande. “I was very happy to see Josh win again… I knew he was going for the school record, which he didn’t get. He’ll go for it at nationals.

“I saw the results from Non-Public A and Ben had a further throw than Josh had in Non-Public B,” the coach continued. “So, I was anxious to see if Josh could pull it out. I did think he was gonna win. Josh is Josh and he’s done it before.”

As he neared his final throws, Huisman had to use his adrenaline effectively but not let it overwhelm him.

“In big meets like that your adrenaline kind of goes through the sky,” he said. “Your head’s spinning. I found it’s better to take it down a notch, stay calm. And that’s what really helped me.”

Huisman admitted that after he hit his winning mark, he was jittery to see if Shue would pass him again.

“Watching his last throw was pretty nerve-wracking,” he said. “I didn’t think mine was enough. It’s definitely one of the better competitions I’ve been at. It was a good battle and made me feel good at the end.”

Huisman also took fourth in discus with a 172-9, falling 13 inches short of his second-place distance of 173-10 at the Non-Public B meet. Josh was happy to see junior teammate Joe Seib finish fifth in shot at the MOC with a mark of 58-4-½.

At Nationals, Josh will try to break his PR (and indoor school record) of 67-7, set at the winter Meet of Champs. He also hopes to get Luke Grodeska’s school mark of 68-¾

Lavery knows he will be ready.

“He’s an awesome kid to work with,” she said. “You can see at these meets that he’s not only focused on doing his job and getting a win and getting prepared for himself; he’s also there talking to all the other throwers. Everybody likes him, everybody admires the kid.”

The coach credits his family for much of Huisman’s success. His dad and brother Andrew put up a throwing circle at their Wall home and numerous throwers from other Shore Conference schools along with St. Rose have stopped by to work out.

“He gets a lot of support and that makes it fun for him,” Lavery said. “A lot of people look up to him and that pushes him to do better.”

In looking back on a high school career that has landed him a scholarship to the University of Michigan (helped by a 3.5 grade point average), Huisman can only smile. 

“It’s been a long ride, but it’s been fun,” he said. “The coolest part was freshman year, being on the team with my brother was a real blast, something to remember. I learned a lot from him. My sophomore year we didn’t have many throwers. I was calling on some friends and got some kids to do it. Now we have a full team with close to 10 throwers. They can carry on what my brother and Luke Grodeska started.”

And what Josh has maintained.


Other Meet of Champion place-winners (top 8 finish) were: 

BOYS 

Lincroft’s Christian Brothers Academy: Senior Jack Falkowski, 2nd, 800 meters (1:51.65).

Senior Kevin Van Lew, 7th, discus (169-04)

Toms Rivers’ Donovan Catholic: Junior Michael Douglas, 3rd 100 meters (10.70).

Red Bank Catholic: Senior Patrick Coyle, 7th, 800 meters (1:55.75).

GIRLS

Holmdel’s St. John Vianney:  Senior Alexandria Scott finished 2nd in the 400 meters (1:00.51).

Other South Jersey Non-Public A sectional gold medal winners were:  

BOYS 

CBA: Senior Jack Falkowski, 800 meters (1:53.16), and 1600 meters (4:09.99); junior Joe Barrett, 3200 meters, 9:01.21; senior Tristan McFarlane, high jump (6-2)

GIRLS 

RBC: 4x800 relay team of juniors Ava Bataglio, Charlotte Heaton and Grace Heaton and freshman Rhiannon Hill; junior Kennedy Miller, shot (38¼)

SJV: Senior Alexandria Scott, 400 meters (1:00.57)


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