Ayer Shirley’s Bourassa an All-American
It seems like whenever the cards are stacked against him, Liam Bourassa pulls out an ace.
Last Wednesday night, he pulled out two aces, as he is now an All-American.
Just a few weeks after graduating from Ayer Shirley High School, he went on to finish second at the Division 2 Central Mass. Track and Field Championship meet in the javelin. He then overcame that disappointing finish by winning the All-State competition with a throw of 187-05.
Just a few days later, he boarded a plane and headed to Hayward Field — the same place the Olympic Trials are being held — in Eugene, Oregon to compete in the high school national meet.
After feeling incredibly nervous before and during warm-ups, all of that went away after his first throw of 194-7, which was his personal best and broke his own school record. From there, he had to wait almost two hours for the rest of the field to finish before realizing that he was the sixth-best thrower in the entire country, and an All-American.
“It’s crazy. It didn’t hit me at first. I just had to say it out loud (to believe it),” said Bourassa, who will compete next year at Division 1 University of Maine. “I was talking to the kid (Jackson Rines) who took fifth and we just said ‘we’re All-Americans.’ Just talking about it made it seem like it wasn’t real. Just looking at the stadium, it just seemed like everything was coming together for me.”
Reaching All-American status certainly didn’t come easy.
Halfway through his freshman year, he picked up the javelin for the first time, after starting out with the other throwing events. During his sophomore year, he placed fifth at the sectional meet, throwing 149-03, which wasn’t good enough for the All-State meet.
“When you miss your goals like that, some people give up and obviously others put that extra work and extra time in to get better, and Liam is one of those types of people,” said assistant/throwing coach Mike Seguin. “He really dedicated himself to the gym, he really dedicated himself to learning the sport and the event more, researching it and working on it. He went a whole year where he missed competing because of COVID-19, where he took that time to continue working. He took a javelin home, worked with it and then he put so much time into the gym and he’s just so much stronger. He just dedicated himself and his body to the sport. His goal was the school record and from there it just kept growing, growing and growing. This is just such an incredible way to end his high school career.”
Bourassa went from weighing 140 pounds as a freshman to now at 200 pounds. He added muscle to his body and also eats healthy and studies his craft.
While he did that, he stumbled a bit with the psychological aspect, which he said was the reason why he finished second at the sectionals.
“That divisional meet was interesting. I went into it as the No. 1 seed and that just got into my head,” said Bourassa. “I just kept stressing about being the No. 1 seed and I just forgot how to throw the javelin. It was all just in my head and I just didn’t throw well.”
From that day until the All-State meet, he worked on his approach, his crossover steps and overall technique, but also his mental approach.
“I just mentally prepared for that one. I knew once I had lost that I was going to have to do a lot more at the All-State meet. That entire week before I just did preparation, working on my run-ups and just trying to keep calm. I was going in as the No. 2 seed, so I had no stress at all,” he said.
That seemed to really benefit him at the national meet, when he unleashed his best throw on his first attempt.
“I had no clue (it would be my best throw of the day). It seemed like an average throw and it just kept flying. It surprised me, so when they said how far I threw, I was like ‘wait, what?’ That’s almost 60 meters. Then they said 194-7 on the screen and I just looked up to my coaches and pointed into the air with my finger up as No. 1,” he said.
It’s believed that Bourassa is now the Ayer Shirley’s third All-American, following Mike Morris (55-yard dash) and Neal Connor (triple jump), who both did it back in 1981.