Road to the Nationals: Bobby Colantonio

Leading up to the New Balance Nationals this weekend at the Armory in New York City, MileSplit RI will feature a top R.I. athlete (relay) that will be making the trip to the Big Apple to compete against the nation’s best.

Below is a Q & A with Barrington sophomore Bobby Colantonio, the country;s top tenth-grader in the 26-pound weight. Bobby credits hard work,desire and positive influences from junior teammate Adam Kelly (No. 1 in the nation) and weight coach Bob Gourley as contributors to his success.

Q: How did it feel to finally crack 70 feet at the New England Weight Throw Championships with a 70-2 effort on Feb. 25? 

Bobby: Well, it felt great, it felt awesome. But I know I can throw further. It’s just a matter of a few adjustments and developing a little more consistency. I still have a lot to show. As a matter of fact, I just hit 72-6.25 at the Weightarma this past Saturday.

Q: What made it all happen? 
Bobby: Hard work, pure desire, and pure determination to throw over 70 feet. That day and this past Saturday I knew that I wasn’t going to walk out of those meets with a mark less than 70 feet.

Q: What does that do for your confidence leading into the NBNI meet this weekend? 
Bobby: It has made me even more confident and I look forward to competing there again this year. Like I was saying earlier, I still have a lot to show. I want to make it my peak performance. My desire is to make All-American by throwing my best. That’s all I want right now. I just want to get there, have fun, make my best effort that day, and then let the chips fall where they may.
Q: You’re only a sophomore and you are already ranked among the top weight-throwers in the country. Last year, you set a freshmen national record in the hammer. What do you feel is the reason (s) you have been able to achieve so much success this early in your career? 
Bobby: A lot of people say it’s because I’m gifted, but it’s not that. Anyone can be anything they want to be or do anything they want to do as long as they believe in themselves and are willing to work hard for it. I know myself, some days I go out there and it’s not easy. I may be tired, sore, hurt or frustrated and I don’t want to make that extra effort, or just call it quits that day because things just aren’t going right. But it’s those days where one rises above everyone. I’m sure if you ask anyone, whether it’s Rudy Winkler or Yuri Sedykh, if you want to be great at something you have to give it your all, and be persistent at it. You know last year I didn’t have the amount of confidence that I have this year in indoor, but I have never stopped working at it. I love this sport. It’s become a passion. It must become a burning passion. You must want something so badly that it fuels you to never quit and keep pushing, and with persistence, you will achieve.

Q: Talk about having the top weight-thrower in the country, Adam Kelly, on your team. How has that benefited your progression? 
Bobby: It challenges me and I am very lucky to have someone like him and coach Gourley to work with and learn from, so, I love it. Every day I wake up knowing that I can’t waste a day. Every day that goes by is one that you will never be able to make up again, especially if I’m going to catch up to him and pass him. It’s a daily challenge with him and coach Gourley. They have definitely contributed to whatever success I have achieved so far. Throwing with Adam helps me a lot because we bounce ideas off of each other. But it’s great that he pushes me to get better and I push him to get better because I’m right behind him. Just like him and Charlie Ionata last year. That’s what competition is all about. Adam and I are both on a quest to be the best.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far? 
Bobby: The highlight of my career was actually when I threw 212 (feet) in the hammer and fell inches from the Freshmen Class Record. It was that day that completely changed my life as to how I viewed the sport. I kind of thought I could throw 213-plus, but I didn't 100 percent believe I could. That day was a learning experience. I learned that in a meet or in practice, never take a throw lightly. You never know what throw you are going to fire on all cylinders. And, the biggest thing, is always to believe in yourself.  Never doubt yourself or your capabilities. And, thank you to all the people, and there were many, who told me I wouldn’t hit 200, which fueled me to hit 200. Then when they saw I did that, they said I would never hit 213. Well, I didn’t hit it, but I came within inches of it. And, I did that with a bruised and sore right thigh, which I got the day before, fighting for a starting spot during the first intra-squad scrimmage and day of full contact for varsity football. I did earn starting positions as defensive end and tight end. It was that day I almost did it, despite adversity, I realized I really can do anything as long as I believe in myself, never give up and just use everyone else’s disbelief and saying I can’t, to fuel me to be not only the best I can but better.

Q: What would put a smile on your face this week at the nationals? What is your goal? 
Bobby: No matter what happens I’m gonna walk out with a smile because I’m honored to throw there again, and whatever happens, I still have two more years. But, while I’m there, I know I’m going to do the best that I can and hit my other goals for this indoor season, and that is to break the sophomore national class record at 75 feet and make All-American. But as long as I go there, have fun and throw as far as I can, I am happy.
Now, a few general questions…

Q. Favorite track & field athlete?

Bobby: Connor McCullough

Q: Favorite TV show?

Bobby: Law & Order
Q: Favorite food?
Bobby: Steak
Q: Favorite school subject?
Bobby: Science
Q: Besides track and field, what are your other interests?
Bobby: My other interest are definitely football and Olympic weightlifting.
Q. What is something others may not know about you?
Bobby: I am seriously considering giving up football so I can train and focus completely on throwing the hammer.


Bobby's profile