Chett Brunner can most likely be found eating a bag of beef jerky and watching videos of professional throwers before he competes.
The Century High School senior said it’s how he gets himself into the zone.
Brunner threw 53 feet, 9.75 inches to capture the county shot put title this winter, which broke Westminster graduate Brendan Morales’ record of 53-8.5 from 2008. It is also the third best throw in Maryland, according to athletic.net.
He also helped the Knights capture their 10th straight indoor county championship.
Brunner threw 50-3.75 to win the Class 2A West Region meet title a week later and followed that up with a 2A state title en route to being named Times Boys Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
“I’ve come a long way and I’ve worked hard,” Brunner said. “My goal was to be a state champion. That’s what I wanted all along, and it happened.”
He threw over 50 feet for the first time in his career Dec. 21 at the Howard County Winter Festival and didn’t throw under that distance for the remainder of the season. He won gold medals at six of Century’s eight meets this winter.
“That’s where everything just started skyrocketing,” Brunner said.
Nick Agoris, a 1980 South Carroll grad and two-time shot put state champion, coaches athletes across the county. Brunner has been working with Agoris since May 2019 and said they train once a week for 45 minutes.
Agoris trains athletes in shot put, discus, and hammer throw and said session times depend on the athlete. He said Brunner started out as a standard glider, a technique most high school throwers use, but Agoris suggested a rotational technique that could potentially help Brunner improve his throws.
The technique isn’t very different, Agoris said, and Brunner put a lot of time and effort into perfecting the form.
“Strength definitely plays a role, you need to be strong,” Brunner said. “Technique is always more dominant over strength and you have to be an overall athlete to do well. It takes a lot of hours of practice with a lot of drills. [The] rotational technique is a complicated technique and it’s what the professionals use.
"I felt it was the best technique for me so I’ve been rotating now for over a year. It’s a lot of work, a lot of drills, all that stuff.”
Brunner started his high school track career as a high jumper before switching to shot put full time. High jump frustrated him, he said, and he quickly fell in love with throwing shortly after he got involved.
He threw 30 feet at his first meet during his sophomore outdoor season in 2018 and threw 34-3.75 to finish second behind teammate Miles Wolf by half an inch at the Carroll County Open Championships that May.
His best throw as a junior in indoor last winter was 44-5.5 and he threw a personal record 45-9.75 in outdoor prior to entering his senior indoor season.
“You could tell he was good, he just exploded, "Agoris said. "What he has done is rare and it’s only happened once or twice. He’s improved over nine feet in 9-10 months and that’s really good to great in a short period of time.”
Brunner, who is committed to McDaniel College, has big goals for his final outdoor season at Century. He said he wants to throw 60 feet — a distance no Carroll athlete has ever reached.
“He’s confident while not being cocky and you can’t coach that,” Agoris said. “That’s what creates a champion, to have that ability. Before he ever came to the [state] meet, he knew deep down that he was good. If you look at his series that day, [he had] six throws in a row and every one was better. That’s really darn impressive and certainly not the norm. When he was done, he was very, very happy and it’s well-deserved.
“As well as he’s doing now and how unusual it is to have his rate of progression, I think he’s going to throw a lot farther, I really believe that.”