Bensalem’s Eric Masington goes into the record books

Eric Masington won the individual PIAA State Class AAA discus title as a senior at Bensalem. He is a junior at the University of Connecticut.

By Mike Gibson

For the Wire

The way track and field records go, the one Bensalem’s Eric Masington posted at the University of Connecticut recently could last 30 years or 30 days.

He’s enjoying it while he can, though.

Masington set the school record in the discus throw earlier this year with a toss of 185 feet, 3 inches. The previous mark was 182 feet, 11 inches, set in 2000 by Ray Wilks.

There are some records on the UConn track books that go back 30 years, like the high jump mark by James Hopson (1983).

Masington, a junior, hopes his isn’t one of them because he’ll be around chucking the discus (along with the shot put) for the rest of this spring for the Big East powerhouse school in Storrs, Conn. He hopes he will be the one to break his own record.

“It really is a big deal and it’s something to be proud of, to have the record but I want to keep improving every day and I hope to add onto it,” Masington said.

Why not?

The 2013 season is turning out to be a breakout one for Masington.

In the Annual Dog Fight meet on April 6, Masington won both the discus and shot put events as the Huskies’ took first place. He was the only double-event winner for UConn that day.

Championships are nothing new to Masington, who won the individual PIAA State Class AAA discus title as a senior at Bensalem. He also finished fifth in the shot put that year.

This year, at the University of Central Florida Invitational, he took second place in both events.

Compare that to some of his better results from the 2012 season and Masington is well on his way to stardom.

Last year, at the Big East Championships, Masington finished 13th in both the shot and the discus.

The rise up the leaderboard has been no accident, Masington says.

“It definitely has been the result of hard work,” he said. “When I finished last season, I just went right back to work.

“I’m not the type of person who takes too much time off. I went back home and got right to lifting. There’s also a mental aspect to it. There is a lot of watching film, going over technique and studying the sport in addition to staying strong physically.”

Meanwhile, Masington is staying strong mentally by taking courses toward his major in sociology.

“It’s interesting, but I’m not that passionate about it,” he said. “As far as my future, I’d rather be doing something not as much to make money but something that I’m passionate about. Right now, I’m passionate about throwing and particularly the discus.”

To Masington, there is “something elegant” about throwing the discus. “There’s a lot of finesse, not just brute strength, to it that I like,” he said. “In order to do well it in, you have to master the steps and the form and the release and it’s not an event that’s won solely on strength so there’s just as much a mental aspect to it as a physical one.”

When the news reached UConn that Bensalem had won the indoor state track and field title in February, Masington was happy for his former school.

“I was real excited about that,” he said. “You know, something like that was unthinkable when I was there. We didn’t really think about winning the state [team] championship. That kind of thing never entered our minds. I mean, we didn’t even win the Suburban Ones.

“To see them going from winning the Suburban One [National] to the state championships is really great.”

When he can, Masington soaks up the social life on campus. The women’s basketball team is a perennial powerhouse and Masington, a former football player at Bensalem [linebacker, tackle, kicker and punter], gets to football games when his track and field schedule allows. Because of the limited open space at the Storrs’ campus, the Huskies built a 40,000-seat football stadium 30 miles away in East Hartford.

“It’s kind of weird that the football stadium is 45 minutes away from campus, but they have buses that take you there,” he said. “It’s not that bad. You still get to experience the Saturday scene.

“As an athlete, I always dreamed of competing in Division I and fate pointed me in the direction of UConn.”

Fate has it that he has become the best discus thrower in the school’s long history, a feat that he hopes is not fleeting.