Dalton Bolger: Throwing for the Stars

One of the top throwers for Pomona-Pitzer men’s track
and field, Dalton Bolger PO ’14 had a great start to his season, leading
the team in both javelin and discus in the two meets so far. The senior thrower
sat down with TSL to talk about throwing, what it’s like to be a two-sport athlete,
and his love for cinnamon rolls. Bolger and the rest of the Sagehens will take
on the University of Redlands, Whittier College, Chapman University, and the California Institute of Technology at Pomona College’s Strehle Track this Saturday, March 8, for the SCIAC multi-dual meet, the first SCIAC meet of the season.

TSL: What events do you do? Do you have a favorite?

Dalton Bolger: Yeah, regularly I do the javelin and the
discus, and on occasion I’ll throw shot put and hammer as well. My favorite is
discus; I have just done it the longest.

TSL: How and when did you start throwing?

DB: I started in sixth grade. One of my friends told me about
the Rocky Mountain National Games and I could throw discus in it, so I went out
and got a first place in, like, the fifth- and sixth-grade division, and so I kind
of stuck with it since then. It was something I enjoyed, and I just kind picked
up the other throws since then.

TSL: What has been your most memorable meet or performance?

DB: I got to throw against the high school national record-holder once; he destroyed me. He threw like 240 [feet] that meet, but I also PRed that
meet … It was fun to just be on that level of
someone who is a record-holder and to be on the same venue and the same flight,
which is a pretty neat thing.

TSL: You also play on the football team. What has it been
like being a two-sport athlete here?

DB: It’s fun. It keeps me doing something all the time. I
enjoy it. I have a competitive nature so I think it keeps me busy.

TSL: Did you ever think about choosing only one sport and
focusing on that?

DB: Definitely have, several times, but for me track and
football have different aspects. Football is all about camaraderie and your
team and how much you love them, and track is kind of more an individual,
competitive nature thing and hanging out with people, but then it really is
really about you when it comes down to your throw. So they kind of bring
different things into my life that I didn’t see the need to disperse from one.

TSL: How would you compare the football and track teams?

DB: The teams themselves, football is obviously highly
integrated because you spend day in and day out with these guys between
practice, at dinner, film all the time. You are spending every hour with these
guys, so they are kind of your family, whereas the track team at times can be a
little separate because I’m not doing the 10-mile runs with the long-distance
people or pole vaulting, so we are a little separate. But at the end of the day, everybody comes together for some of the events and watches each other. They
are each unique in their own way.

TSL: Are you involved with any other groups or activities on

DB: Yeah, well I did intramural football for the first time,
so that was an experience. Mainly it is just school and sports. In the off-time, I’m doing homework or trying to relax. Some intramural dodgeball, which was great. I like some downtime as
well; I try not to go too crazy.

TSL: What is your pre-game or pre-meet routine?

DB: Football has a lot more, but for track we usually get
there about an hour before you have to throw to start warming up and we have
our warmup routine. I really have to kind of zone into the throws. A lot of
the guys will be talking and hanging out, and I really have to separate myself
and picture the throws before I do it. I don’t like to take a lot of warmups
too—a lot of kids will go in there and throw about eight or 10 warmup throws, and
I usually throw about two because I feel like I’m going to throw my good ones
during practice and I never want that to happen.

TSL: You suffered some serious knee injuries playing
football. Do you think those injuries had any impact on your throwing career?

DB: It definitely did. I have had two; my first one
definitely impacted it because I missed my whole freshman season. I came out
for a little bit a couple days and I just realized I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t
ready. The second time around, it only really affected me in the javelin because I couldn’t plant fully on my left leg. After that, it was kind of something where I had to focus on my
legs and build up, and really 90 percent of it was trusting my legs again, knowing that
the doctors did the right thing and it wasn’t going to tear again. I have
done well the past couple of meets, so it can’t be too bad.

TSL: What are your goals for the season, both for the team
and for yourself?

DB: For the team, I really want to get some dual wins. I
think we have a really good group of kids: We have some jumpers that we haven’t
had before, and our throwers team is really strong, and we have some sprinters
and long-distance guys who can do some stuff. So I would really like to get top
three in conference wins if we can. I think we can definitely do it if everyone
works hard. For myself, I would like to get All-Conference in javelin and
discus, which would be ideal. I think I have a little ways to go but if I work
my butt off I can do it.

TSL: What meet are you most excited for this season?

DB: I love the P-P [Invitational]. I like the SCIAC
meets because that’s what really matters, but the P-P invite is cool because you
are getting international people, you are getting people from DI [Division I] schools and
everything. Even though you might not be as good as them or as fast, you get to
compete against yourselves. It kind of reminds me of that meet a while ago, where
I am throwing against someone who throws 200 feet. It is so cool to
watch, and I can aspire to something and drive myself to be better.

TSL: Do you like throwing other objects in your free time?
Do you have a favorite object to throw around?

DB: I do. I love throwing the football around. I had my
quarterback years; I played quarterback for like 10 years. I enjoy that, but also—it’s not really throwing—but I like to have a puck around with the
hurling sticks from Ireland. That’s always fun when I get the time.

TSL: What is your spirit vegetable?

DB: I am a carrot man.

TSL: What about a spirit animal?

DB: Oh man, that’s tough. I want to say I’m like a
silverback gorilla, but I just know that’s not true. I’m more like a penguin
probably. Polar opposite, pun intended.

TSL: Have you ever seen anyone get hit by a javelin or
discus, or seen any close calls?

DB: Javelin, I almost speared a judge twice in the same event.
He wasn’t paying attention and I, like, yelled his name at the last second. Thank God that didn’t happen. I have hit a kid with a discus in the calf. He wasn’t
very happy about that; it was in middle school. Other than that, no, luckily. It
is something we try to avoid.

TSL: Do you have a favorite breakfast food?

DB: If I had to have anything, I love cinnamon rolls. A good
cinnamon roll for breakfast is epic.

TSL: Matt O’Connor PO ’15 or Nick Sbardelatti PO ’14? What
about in a dance-off?

DB: This is going to get me in trouble either way. I have to
go with my boy Nick, because he would kill me if I don’t. In a dance-off,
easily Matt O’Connor, without a doubt. 

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