Silva snags New England crown

Don’t make Sabrina Silva mad.

That’s exactly what Michaela Smith from Newton North High School did Saturday during the New England Indoor Track & Field Championships shot-put finals at Boston’s Reggie Lewis Center.

Silva, a senior at Mahar Regional School, led entering the finals with a first-round put of shot 40 feet, 5.5 inches. Smith, who was Silva’s primary competition at the All-State meet last weekend, stepped up and unleashed a throw of 41-3.25, which was 3.5 inches further than any Silva throw in competition all season. She said that her demeanor quickly went from calm to angry.

“I was upset that she got further and it kind of fired me up,” Silva said on Sunday. “Going into the finals, I was confident that I would still be first, and when she threw further than 41 feet, I got upset and angry and it focused me.”

Sure enough, that anger fueled Silva and, in her final throw of the day, she annihilated her personal-best mark of 40-11.75 that she achieved last weekend with a distance of 41-8.25, to earn her the title of best high school shot putter in New England.

“Going into the meet, I was kind of doubting myself,” she said of winning the title. “Once I got in there I was still kind of iffy, but I felt a lot better once I began to throw.”

This marked the first time all season that Silva did not enter shot-put competition as the top seed. That honor belonged to Katherine Simon, of Amity High School in Woodbridge, Conn., with a distance of 41-6.25. Silva admitted that being an under seed gave her added determination.

“It helped because knowing that there was someone ahead of me gave me something to shoot for,” she said.

Simon did not have a strong day, finishing tied for third with third-seeded Victoria Ebert from Exeter-West Greenwich Regional High School in West Greenwich, R.I., as the duo finished at 38-7.75. That opened the door for Smith, who entered the meet seeded fourth, following her second-place finish to Silva last weekend. And after her throw of 41-3.25 in her final put of the day, it looked like Smith might score the win, although both Silva and Mahar coach Sarah Woodward said they knew she had a put of 41 feet in her.

“I definitely knew she could do it,” Woodward said. “All season long she was going over 41 in practice, and she was trying to hit 41 in a meet. She saved it for the end.”

Silva will now compete in the outdoor track & field season, where she said she’s shooting for 45 feet.

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