By Robert Dickey
Five Springfield College winter athletes clinched berths to their respective national tournaments. Ian Tolotti of the wrestling team traveled to Roanoke, VA to compete in the the NCAA Division-III national wrestling tournament. Josh Silvester, Jack Pinho, Tyler Hansen and Chloe Dewhurst each competed in the NCAA Division-III Indoor track and field championships. The Student talked to each national qualifier after their performances this past weekend.
Friday, March 8 was a big day for Springfield College wrestling and their star wrestler Ian Tolotti. The junior made his first ever appearance at the national wrestling tournament.
The sports biology major may have been a rookie on the national stage but he is a veteran preparing for matches. Despite the high stakes, Tolotti went into it the same as any other match. “Pretty much every match is just go out there and have fun”, said Tolotti. “Your training all year is whats led up to this point and it’s just being confident and at the end of the day it’s all about having fun.”
Tolotti placed third at regionals, qualifying him for the national tournament, and had high expectations going into the tournament. The pride of Springfield wrestling started the national tournament with a loss via 2-0 decision in his first match of the day. Despite the disappointing start, Tolotti caught a break in what was supposed to be his next match as he was the beneficiary of a medical forfeit, which sent him to the next round.
Next up was Tyler ‘Ki Dial from Merchant Marine. The winner of the match would advance to the second day of competition. However,this is where Tolotti’s run ended, losing by a 2-1 decision.
Despite not making it to the second day of competition, Tolotti reflected on how grateful he is for the experience to be on the national stage.
“Being out there is such a blessing,” he said. “Being around there with that caliber of wrestling was incredible.”
Josh Silvester has been a strong performer for Springfield track and field all year and that continued in Boston, MA on the national stage on Saturday, March 9. Silvester appeared for the first time nationally, coming in as the No. 11 seed in the men’s triple jump event.
The Manchester, CT native knew there would be challenges heading into the biggest meet of the season. Relying on ability is never the issue, as it’s the mental aspect of the sport that is most challenging.
“The mental game is the hardest aspect of the sport because it makes or breaks the athlete,” claimed Silvester. “I was just trying to focus on what I can control and not about all the things that I cannot. I truly believe that it helps a lot with my meet mentality.”
While competing in Boston, Silvester impressed everyone. The sports biology major only delivered a mark of 14.43 meters (47 feet 4.25 inches) to come in 13th overall in competition. The mark was Silvester’s third best jump of his career and earned him second team All-American honors.
“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to compete on the national stage”, reflected Silvester. It was unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my athletic career”.
Jack Pinho – track and field
Another year, another appearance in the national tournament for Jack Pinho.
Despite it being his second time in the tournament Pinho knows that it’s still a privilege to compete at the national level for Springfield College. Explaining how he felt, Pinho stated, “It’s always an honor putting on the jersey for Springfield. I was always someone who ran for the name on the front not the name on the back.”
Coming into the final meet, the Prospect, CT native was ranked No. 8 in the one mile race. Pinho started quickly as usual as he earned the fastest lap time across both heats with a time of 31.178. When the meet concluded, Springfield’s finest distance runner placed 13th overall with a time of 4:14.60.
As he crossed the finish line, a wave of emotion overtook the grad student as he realized this would be the last time he wore the Springfield College jersey.
“I knew this was the last time I would be competing because I don’t have outdoor eligibility,” explained Pinho. “Just knowing that was my last race I had a tough time taking the jersey off after the race. I kinda stood there for a moment and looked at the track then my jersey and I had a little moment to myself.”
Pinho finishes with five school records and is a two time All-American distance runner and is someone who coaches and teammates will surely never forget.
Springfield track was widely represented this year at the national championships. Tyler Hansen represented the Pride as a sprinter for the first time.
The junior entered the race ranked No. 19 in the 200 meter dash, something that is not very easily achievable. Hansen spoke to the mindset that goes into becoming a solid competitor.
“It’s just kinda you have to go out there and compete the best that you can,” he said.. “You have to leave it all out on the track.”
Hansen’s time of 22.25 was just short of his best time of the year, and earned him 17th place. The junior has high hopes of not only improving on that time, but making it back to nationals next year.
As he prepares for next year, Hansen will never forget the intensity of the meet and how different it was from a normal track meet.
“It was very intense. I’ve never seen that many people at a track meet,” claimed Hansen. “Very loud, lots of energy and it was a great experience.”
Chloe Dewhurst – track and field
There was one woman competitor representing Springfield College on the national stage.
Chloe Dewhurst, who has impressed for the Pride all season, end up in Nationals for the first time as a freshman in what is shaping up to be a promising career.
Dewhurst’s season has already included incredible accomplishments. The freshman broke the Springfield College indoor women’s track and field program record with her jump of 1.72 meters.
With this being her first trip to Nationals, Dewhurst wasn’t sure what the stage would be like going in but quickly figured that out last Saturday.
“My original plan going into Nationals was to approach it like I would any other meet. Once I got to Boston, it was clear that this wasn’t just a normal meet,” said the Lancaster, Massachusetts native. “There was so much going on and so may amazing athletes in one place. My main focus became staying calm and keeping my focus on myself and not the competitors around me.”
Dewhurst impressed as expected, placing 17th overall with a jump of 5.25 meters. This will potentially be her first of multiple Nationals trips for Springfield College, and she feels that this experience is a special one.
“Representing Springfield at Nationals was a really cool opportunity,” she said. “I owe the success I experienced this season to my coaches and the Springfield track and field program. For me, being able to wear the jersey at such a high level was a way to give back to those who have given me so much.”
Photo courtesy Springfield College Athletics