2013-08-09 / Neighbors

Given a shot, youngster knows what to do

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer


Max Bogdanovich, left, finished second in the shot put for 11- and 12-year-olds at the National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, N.C. on the awards podium with Bogdanovich are Dylan Carter (first place) of Maryville, Tenn. and Justin Paboojian (third) of Kingsburg, Calif. (Courtesy photo) Max Bogdanovich, left, finished second in the shot put for 11- and 12-year-olds at the National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, N.C. on the awards podium with Bogdanovich are Dylan Carter (first place) of Maryville, Tenn. and Justin Paboojian (third) of Kingsburg, Calif. (Courtesy photo) Growing up in the Bogdanovich family, it could safely assume Max Bogdanovich, 12, would at one point excel in the shot put.

His father, Paul Bogdanovich, threw shot put in the late 1970s at Brown University and still has throws that rank in the top 10 in school history in both indoor and outdoor track.

His uncle, Ed, holds the Southern Maine Activities Association indoor track record of just over 62 feet, a mark he achieved in 1977, his senior year at Portland High School.

His grandfather, who threw shot put in the 1950s at the University of Maine, was inducted in the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

When he began throwing shot put with the Scarborough Track Club three years ago, Max didn’t know of his family history. It didn’t take long for Max to take his place in family lore.

“I think it was a year or so before he knew we had thrown the shot put,” Paul Bogdanovich said.

Ron Kelly, a track coach at Scarborough High School who runs a youth league in the summer, introduced Max to the discipline three years ago.

“Ron Kelly runs the youth track program in Scarborough and does a really nice job. He lets the kids do all the events when they are younger,” Paul Bogdanovich said.

“He wants everyone to go out and get a taste of what they may want to do and encourages the kids to do all of the events,” he went on to say.

It turns out, Max had a natural talent for the shot put, and this summer represented Scarborough and Maine in the National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships July 28 in Greensboro, N.C.

Max was ranked third in his age bracket — 11 and 12 year olds — in the country, but placed second in his age bracket at the meet.

His throw of 47 feet, 9 inches trailed only the winning throw of Dylan Carter, an 11- year-old from Tennessee.

It was an eye-opening experience for Max, who also plays baseball, football and hockey.

“It was different. A lot different. Kids were actually throwing near me, instead of me beating them by 10 inches. It was a lot more competitive,” he said.

His competition in the shot put was not over with the national championship meet. On Thursday, Aug. 1, Max competed in and won the shot put event at the Maine regional meet with a throw just over 42 feet. His younger brother, Caleb, 11, finished third in the event with a throw of 28 feet, 10 inches.

Max also competed in the discus event for the first time in the regional meet and ended up with the longest throw (81 feet). Because he finished in the top four, Max will be competing in both events at the state championship in Augusta on Saturday.

While he is hoping to place first in the shot put again, the state record for his age group is also within reach.

“In Maine, you can only break the state record at the state meet,” Paul Bogdanovich said.

The record of 42 feet was set in 1988 by Jamie Cook, a resident of Kennebunk who now coaches track at the University of Oregon, one of the top running schools in the country.

“It is fun in a lot of ways,” Max said of track. “It is fun to go to the meets and see all my friends.”

His success with the shot put, and now discus, notwithstanding, Max said his favorite sport is hockey. This past winter Max played on the festival team, an allstar team made up of the top players in the Maine Amateur Hockey Association.

Max was lured into hockey at a young age. In the mid-2000s, the Bogdanovich family hosted several Portland Pirates players, including Pierre-Alexandr Parenteau, who plays left wing for the Colorado Avalanche and Zenon Konopka, a center with the Minnesota Wild.

Paul Bogdanovich said soon his son will have to make a decision which sport to focus on because as it stands now, the sports seasons overlap, something that is going to get compounded as he gets older.

“I want him to do what makes him happy. If that is shot put or playing hockey, it doesn’t matter. I never played hockey, so it is enjoyable to sit up in the stands and watch,” Paul Bogdanovich said.

After the state championship meet this weekend, Max will have to immediately change his focus to football. His season with the Scarborough Youth Football league begins Monday, Aug. 5.

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