While there might not be much
track going on in New York State, there is plenty of history to pore
through. In our time off, we are looking to revisit all of the State
Records for the Outdoor Season. Who these athletes were, where their
marks came from, and where are they now. Twice a week, we'll be
releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it
takes, to be put your mark on history. Tune in!
We look here at the one of the oldest records still on the books for the boys. Enjoy!
- - -
Andy Bloom has just winged the discus way out there at the 1991 Section 2 State Qualifiers in Johnstown. Just how far the Niskayuna senior has thrown it is anyone's guess, because none of the officials has a tape measure that is long enough to measure it. They know it's more than 200 feet, since that is the maximum length that their tape runs out there. And they know it will be a state record. But any measurement needs to be done with one tape from the front edge of the throwing circle to the spot of impact.
A call has been made to bring in a tape from outside, but in the meantime there are other events like the shot put to be run. After a conference between the officials, they stick a pencil in the spot where Bloom's discus landed, and they all go off to the shot put area. Bloom will also win that event with a strong 62-0 throw.
At the end of the meet, a 250-foot tape arrives to settle the matter of how far Bloom's discus went. Once reeled out to the pencil, the distance is read out at 202-9, a state record by more than 7 feet. No NY discus thrower had gone past 200 before, and none has reached that mark in the 29 years since. As Bloom noted last year as he was inducted into the Capital Area Sports Hall of Fame, "That's pretty cool."
Andy Bloom is a bit of an enigma among the NY state outdoor record holders. Despite the big mark he laid down at the Section 2 State Qualifier and the many huge throws he would make in later years as a collegian and pro athlete, he never won a state championship in the event, even in 1991 when he made the 202-9 throw in qualifiers. He also never won an outdoor state championship in his other big event, the shot put. He was not shut out though at States, because he did rack up the indoor shot titles in 1990 and 1991.
A star on Niskayuna's football team, in his senior season he had a unique dual role of nose tackle on defense and tailback on offense. At 6'1" and about 260 lbs., Bloom was well built to be a high school thrower and he was in countless weight event competitions in Section 2 during the late 1980s and early 1990s. His big breakthrough came at the 1990 indoor States at Cornell when he threw the shot 61-6.5 to win the indoor State championship. As a senior in 1991, he repeated the indoor win with almost the same distance at 61-5.
Though he would win more titles in the shot put than the discus during his career from high school, discus was his big love. But for all field events he could say,``It's an individual sport so there's no doubt about who's
the best. The tape measure doesn't lie, and I like that." No illegal motion calls, no off-sides penalties. Just throw the weight in bounds and measure it.
Like most weight guys, Bloom combined the shot and discus events during the spring time action. Though he was clearly among the top shot putters in the state, no one expected anything like a 200 foot throw from him at the SQ on May 31, 1991. But as always in the weight events, a big throw is no guarantee that you will be able to match it in the next meet, or even come close. At outdoor States in in Kingston in 1991, Bloom was the favorite in both the discus and the shot put, holding the state record in the first event and a 64-2.5 NY best from a throw in April in the shot. Though he had some great throws at 1991 States, he wound up 2nd in the discus by 4 inches at 176-1 and placed 3rd in the shot put at 59-10.25.
Bloom went on to have a massive college career at Wake Forest, where he set school records in the shot put and discus. Indoors he was the ACC conference champion in 1993, 1994, and 1996 in the shot put and 1996 in the weight throw. Outdoors he picked up ACC titles in both the shot put and discus in 1995 and 1996. His final season with the Demon Deacons was especially huge as he won NCAA championships in both the discus and shot put even though in January of 1996 he had broken his throwing hand. His top throw in college in the discus was 212-9.
After college he entered the pro circuit while pursuing a degree in education. After picking up a number of medals in competitions such as the 1997 World University Games and at the 1998 Goodwill Games, he won the shot put in the US Indoor championships in 1999 and 2000. He qualified for the Sydney Olympics in 2000 with a 3rd place in the US trials at 70-10.75. In Sydney he finished inches shy of a medal with a throw of 68-5.75, and for the year he was ranked 2nd in the world with a season's best of 71-7.25 at the Grand Prix Final, two weeks after the Olympics.
Bloom worked in the education field and was the assistant throwing coach and strength and conditioning coordinator for UC Davis for many years. He has also assisted with the track program at nearby Dixon HS.
Before Bloom set his the discus record for NY, it was held by Sean Farrell of Westhampton Beach who had a throw of 195-5 in in 1979 done at a dual meet, a year after he won the State championship with a throw of 180-3. Farrell went on to have an NFL career as a lineman mainly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots.