Offseason camps help Skyline’s Fortney make improvements
FRONT ROYAL – Tucker Fortney had a pivotal summer last year.
The Skyline track and field senior went to two throwing camps last summer and said he knew right away that they had made him a better thrower.
“I didn’t throw very well at states (last year),” Fortney said. “So that was kind of my motivation for the offseason. And I went to a couple of camps this summer and that really helped. And then I came out (my first meet this season) and that’s when I threw 156 (feet in discus throw) and I knew that it would be a good season this year.”
Fortney said one of the throwing camps he went to was at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The other one was the Ironwood Throws camp in Spokane, Washington.
He said that some of the teachers for the Ironwood Throws camp were former Olympians and that he learned a lot from the camp.
“I had a bunch of coaches that worked with me,” Fortney said. “And that whole week I could tell the improvement I was making just after that whole week. I took what I learned there and used it to get where I am now.”
Fortney said that he dropped a lot of his bad habits in the discus and that’s been one of the keys to his success this season.
“I’m not trying to power it as much,” he said. “I’m trying to flow and be fluid with my throws, more relaxed and it’s definitely helping.”
Skyline coach Steve Burton said that he definitely noticed a difference in Fortney this year.
“The camps gave him confidence like ‘I’m doing the right things,'” Burton said. “And then it paid off. Another thing that Tucker’s doing is we work out every morning before school. We hit the weight room at 6:30 every morning. So about an hour before each day of school, he’s spending extra time in the gym. And then he’s making sure that he’s put a conditioning component in too, making sure that he plays basketball or that he is running.”
Fortney throws in both discus and shot put, but said discus is his strongest and favorite event.
Fortney leads the area in the discus this season with a top throw of 156-11. He also won the Apple Blossom Track and Field Invitational in the discus last weekend.
He said that he started running track as a freshman but only did the running events to try to help him with his speed for football. Then as a sophomore, Burton asked him to give the throws a try and it’s worked out well for him.
“I just ended up loving it, especially discus,” he said. “I just loved the part of how it’s individual and it’s all on you when you’re in the circle. Nobody else can help you. And there’s a lot of fundamental things. A lot of things can go wrong. It just takes one throw to win so I like that aspect of it.”
Fortney said that his sophomore season was a very good learning experience for him.
“It was eye-opening for sure because I went to a lot of big meets where I definitely was not the best,” Fortney said of his sophomore season. “And that kind of motivated me. That kind of made me want to be like that (the top guys) when I was a junior and senior. So it helped me to push harder to work harder in the offseason.”
Fortney advanced to the state meet last year but didn’t make all-state (top 8). He said that has added extra motivation for this season.
“I don’t think I was as prepared for it as I thought I would be,” he said. “It was pretty nerve-wracking – my first time. So I’ll be ready this year.”