HHS javelin athletes compete with a piece of history

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HHS javelin athletes compete with a piece of history
Photo/submitted
Eighth grade HHS javelin athlete Jake Prendergast holds the historic javelin his cousin, Dana Sousa, used to set a school record which still stands today.

By Kevin Stone, Contributing Writer

HUDSON – It’s not often that a high school team in 2021 gets to have a piece of history with them at all times.

The Hudson boys track team has had that opportunity, though, with a special golden javelin. 

Eighth-grader Jake Prendergast is a member of the Hawks’ team and throws the javelin. His grandmother heard this and was discussing it with her sister, Beverly Sousa, when Beverly mentioned that her son, Dana Sousa, also threw the javelin and actually broke the record at Hudson High School back in the 1980s. That record 194-foot throw still stands today. 

When Dana set his record, his coach at that time awarded him with the javelin he used. Dana unfortunately passed away in 2015 when he was involved in a fishing accident and tragically drowned in the Assabet River. Still, the javelin has been in his parent’s possession. Recently, when Dana’s parents heard about Prendergast competing in the javelin event, they wanted to pass on his cousin’s javelin to him to use in Hudson High meets. 

This special piece of Hudson’s history has turned into a source of pride amongst the team, as the entire squad now shares Dana’s golden javelin. Dana’s parents are proud to see the program using their son’s record-breaking javelin, especially as cousin Jake keeps it in the family.

“I was honored to use the javelin,” Prendergast wrote in an email to the Community Advocate. “It was really neat knowing Dana used it to break the record at Hudson High.”

The ability to bring a piece of their program’s history to a meet or a practice serves as a great motivator for Pendergast and his teammates. The group has taken to the artifact, which, despite its age, seemingly hasn’t hindered their performances.

“They thought it was cool too,” said Prendergast of those teammates. “They would throw it at practice and really liked it. It’s rated to arc at 150 meters, so I need some practice throwing it, but we still liked using it.”

Whether or not the javelin has brought the team any good luck is up for debate. However, it has helped Prendergast mark new milestones.

”I don’t know about that!” Prendergast joked when asked about the luck aspect. “But, I threw my personal best of 87 feet using it.”

Luckily for Prendergast and his teammates, being in eighth grade means the golden javelin has plenty of life left in it over the next few years and possibly beyond. 

“I still have four more years to use it and get better at throwing it,” Prendergast said.  “I don’t know if I’d ever break Dana’s record, but who knows? The record was set in the 80s. That’s a long time. But I’ll try.”