Hector Petri - American Samoa's golden arm
Hector Misionare Petri could very well be American Samoa's hope for a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics.
The son of Rick and Leuila Petri started off as a football player, playing for eight years since moving to the United States, his last two years as starting quarterback for the his high school team, Blackstone Valley Technical (BVT), where he was studying mechanical engineering.
Hector was born at the LBJ Medical Center in 1998 and attended Montessori preschool and South Pacific Academy until third grade, when his family relocated to Massachusetts in 2007.
While playing quarterback for BVT, Hector took up javelin this spring.
"We knew that throwing a javelin is in many ways similar to throwing a football, but had no idea of the success Hector would achieve in such a short time," Hector's father Rick told Samoa News yesterday. "We're very proud of what he accomplished and anticipate continued success at UMass when he enters this fall."
According to Petri Sr., Hector was very successful at playing football, leading his team to playoff games both years, in addition to breaking and setting many new school records.
Hector's athletic abilities weren't limited to just football though, as he also played baseball for 12 years, starting at T-ball in American Samoa.
According to Rick, his son primarily pitched and played outfield, reasonably successful with his high school team. It was last winter, that Hector decided he wanted to try something different.
Rick said Hector had discussions with the track coach who encouraged him to come out and try a throwing event and maybe some relay running events.
Hector primarily focused on the javelin but was also part of the 4x100 relay team.
But throwing a javelin proved to be Hector's hidden talent. The school record for javelin was 140 feet and Hector broke that in one of their first meets. "He steadily improved, winning every regular meet during the
regular season," Rick told Samoa News.
Hector went on to take first place in the Central Mass Vocational Schools tournament and the following week, he placed first in the All Massachusetts Vocational Schools tournament.
If that wasn't enough, Hector took second place in the All Divisions West/Central Mass event, with an all-time best throw of 171 feet 4 inches.
"This qualified him for the Massachusetts State High School event, with the Top 6 going to the New England Championships with competitors from all six states," Rick said.
Hector took the sixth slot and represented Massachusetts at the 72nd Annual New England Championships this past Saturday in Norwell against five boys from Massachusetts and 30 from the other five New England states.
His preliminary round throw was good enough to get him into the finals with seven others, and his throw from the first round held and netted him sixth place, and a medal in the finals.
"And this is against kids who had been throwing javelin for three or more years, to his ten weeks!" Rick exclaimed.
Hector is heading to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, later this year in September where he will major in Mechanical Engineering, "and having already met the track coach, hopefully will continue his success at the collegiate level."
Malo lava Hector! Good luck.