Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gutierrez Always Eyeing Big Results

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gutierrez Always Eyeing Big Results

Article excerpt

Big. Bigger. Best.

Saddle Brook High School senior thrower Gio Gutierrez can clearly be described by the first two simple words. We will find out if he's the best Saturday.

The fun-loving -- and did we say big? -- 18-year-old tossed the shot put 60 feet 3 inches on Wednesday in a meet in Garfield, resetting his own school record. Saturday, he'll compete in the Boys State Meet of Champions in Toms River, looking to become just the second Falcon to win a gold medal.

"I just feel amazing right now," said Gutierrez. "To be honest, I was keeping track and I have yet to lose a meet, which has just given me a lot of confidence. I'm just feeling on top of the world."

"I know this is a cliche, but the sky is truly the limit for him," said Saddle Brook track coach Ed Ciccone. "Gio doesn't fold under pressure, and he responds well to constructive criticism. As long as he stays focused and stays within himself, I feel he'll be in the mix."

Standing 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, Gutierrez has always been big. His Colombian-born parents say he is the biggest branch the family tree has ever seen.

"They were saying that when I was a sophomore I was already taller than my great uncle who was like, 6-foot-2," said Gutierrez.

But he's not in bad shape. He's an XXL or XXXL shirt, depending on the brand. He's a 42/44-inch waist.

And he's a soccer player.

That's right, before he was one of North Jersey's top throwers, he was a soccer nut, playing the sport throughout elementary school. He is probably the biggest center back Saddle Brook has ever seen. And no, he didn't sit the bench. He played for 80 minutes.

"I would body strikers off the ball, win corners and win headers, so my size helped a lot," said Gutierrez. "For 80 minutes I wouldn't stop running, and I wouldn't be so tired. I wasn't that bad at running. I was in very good condition."

"I've been coaching for over 11 years, and a soccer/shot and discus athlete is a first [for me]," saidCiccone. "I think staying active is what's best for Gio."

Sure, Gutierrez did play football for a while at Saddle Brook, but eventually went back to soccer. He was turned off by the possibility of getting hurt playing football. …

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