When Michael Browning was in seventh grade, he decided to give the track and field team a try.
Since he was one of the biggest seventh graders at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, coaches figured the shot put would be a good event for him.
“It was great,” Browning said. “In seventh and eight grade I was dominating and didn’t lose to anyone.”
Then he entered his freshman year at RHAM, competed in the shot put for the high school team and at first things weren’t so great.
“In my freshman year, I wasn’t great any more,” Browning said. “In high school there were a lot of guys as big or bigger than me and stronger when I was a freshman. I was determined to get better, so the summer before my sophomore year I started working with a private coach, Damien Larkins. He’s the track coach at Bloomfield and gives private lessons.
“I found out with Damien that the thing with the shot put is it’s more about technique than anything else. After working with him, I started beating guys again including guys that were bigger and stronger than me.”
Browning’s development improved and as a junior in last season’s indoor track and field season he won the shot put at the CIAC Class M meet (56 feet, 7.75 inches) and State Open meet (53-3.25). Earlier this indoor season he was ranked in the top five in the nation in the shot put. On Saturday (Jan. 26), he kicked off the 2019 postseason by winning the shot put (58-0.25) at the CCCmeet at Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. He also holds the school record for the shot put (59-6.5) set in the 2018 indoor season.
He is the top seed in Friday’s Class L meet.
“I have not been surprised with Michael’s success this year,” RHAM coach Mike Fogarasi said. “He has a very good work ethic and is training hard all the time. I do believe that he has the potential to be an All-American this year. He works very hard at our practices and I am sure he does the same at coach Larkins’ workouts.”
While working out with Larkins has paid big dividends for Browning, hard work has been another big reason for his success.
“I do an obscene amount of hard work every day, I’m lifting weights 4-6 hours a day,” Browning said. “It is really necessary in order to progress, develop and maintain my success. I practice at school, with my private coach when I’m with him on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and when I’m home.
“For the first time in my life, I started bench pressing last year and at first I could only bench press 195 pounds, which is pathetic for me. But now I bench press over 300 pounds and it really helps me.”
Browning’s goal is to be an All-American in the shot put and weight throw this indoor season and an All-American in the shot put, discuss and hammer throw in the outdoor season.
He plans to throw the shot put in college and had a visit last week at Kentucky. Another consideration is Iowa State.
“I’m sure Michael will do well at the next level,” Fogarasi said.