Prep superstar finishes uber-rare Penn Relays career sweep

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Making history at track meets is nothing new for Morristown (N.J.) High shot put star Nick Vena. On Saturday, he changed the record book at one of the most prestigious meets in the country.

Morristown shotputter Nick Vena
Morristown shotputter Nick Vena

With a meet-record throw of 72-feet, 9.25 inches, Vena won the Penn Relays scholastic shot put title for the fourth consecutive year. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Ted Silary, Vena became just the fourth scholastic competitor in the event's 117-year history to win an event in all four years he was eligible to compete in it.

"I never thought of winning four times," Vena told the Inquirer. "In middle school, I heard of this meet and I wanted to win at least once. Coming here and getting four, that's something I never would have thought of.

"I knew it would be very hard, but I accomplished it and I'm very happy. Very honored."

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Making matters more remarkable for the future Olympic hopeful was the condition in which he competed. During a post-meet interview with Silary, the 270-pound prep behemoth mentioned that the Penn Relays marked his return from a scary injury in which one of his ribs, "popped out of place." After having the rib slipped back into place by a chiropractor, the budding star returned to training and competition by the following weekend.

Given the honor he was pushing for, that effort to return so quickly was understandable.

While Vena almost certainly has a bright future in front of him, his scholastic career has left him with a number of lasting memories.

The senior -- who will attend and compete for the University of Virginia -- has set a number of meet and state records, been featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" section and pictured as a body built character called Mr. Atlas by ESPN Rise.

Now he can add an indelible moment as the greatest scholastic shot put thrower in the greatest amateur track meet in the country to that legacy.

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