Transition to college doesn't throw former Peoria star athlete
Bryce Vollrath has wasted no time in going from an outstanding high school athlete to an outstanding college athlete.
A true-freshman thrower for the Olivet Nazarene University men's track and field team, Vollrath recently earned Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Field Athlete of the Week after his April 7 shot-put performance at the Marian University Knight Open in Indianapolis.
With his throw of 16.28 meters (53 feet, 5 inches), Vollrath passed the 15.85 meter mark he needed to automatically qualify for the NAIA Outdoor National Championships. That means Vollrath will have qualified for the indoor and outdoor national meets in his first college season.
He was 12th in the shot put in the Indoor National Championships in Johnson City, Tennessee, in March.
“To win the award was exciting," Vollrath told the Kankakee Times in an email. "To come into the league and to be recognized on this scale is amazing.”
Vollrath finished in the top 10 in two other events at the Knight Open: fourth in the discus at 46.31 meters (151 feet, 11 inches) and 10th in the hammer throw at 44.79 meters ( 146 feet, 11 inches).
It's obviously been a good year for a competitor who less than a year ago was throwing for Richwoods High School in Peoria.
“The transition has been very smooth,” Vollrath said. “The goals that me and coach (ONU assistant coach Tanner Hurt) set for the beginning of the year in transition from the lighter shot put and discus of high school to the heavier ones in college have been surpassed for the most part.”
Vollrath said he first competed in a track meet in middle school when a coach got him to give it a shot. As with his time at ONU, success came quickly.
“I had one practice, and he entered me in the competition,” Vollrath said. “It was just giving it a try, and I enjoyed it and stuck with it.”
That led to a strong high school career during which he competed in three-straight Class 2A state outdoor meets, finishing runner-up twice and eighth once in the shot put and in the top 12 in discus all three years.
“The thing about track I like most is the competition,” he said. “While competing you can build off the energy of the other competitors. Track meets where there are many great competitors are the greatest meets 'cause it pushes you harder and harder to limits you didn't know you had. This is different from any other sport that I have ever competed in.”
The NAIA Outdoor National Championships are set for May 25-27 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
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