By Maria Cipriano
On Feb. 21, Cameron Croce, a sophomore at Sacred Heart University (SHU), finished first place in the men’s weight throw competition. This was a two-day competition that was held at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, N.Y.
The weight throw competition is an indoor track and field event. The men’s ball weighs 35 lbs. and is gripped with a triangular handle.
“The weight throw is the indoor version of the hammer throw, which is an outdoor event,” said head coach Christian Morrison. “The ball for the hammer throw weighs at 16 lbs. with a long wire and a triangular handle attached to it.”
Track wasn’t the first sport Croce played. Rather, he used track as a way to train.
“Freshman year of high school I was a baseball player. I would play football in the fall, and baseball in the spring. In the winter, I didn’t really have anything to do. It was either do nothing and train for baseball or do track,” said Croce. “My dad worked down the road and was able to pick me up after practice. I ended up throwing because I wasn’t built to be a runner. I ended up being pretty good at throwing.”
Croce was eventually cut from his baseball team, allowing him to dedicate more of his time towards throwing. He has now been throwing for around six years.
According to SHU Athletics, Croce threw 18.46m, finishing first in the Feb. 21 finals, which was just under the record that was set back in 2015.
“It is always gratifying to have an athlete excel and win their event in the conference,” said Morrison.
Morrison believes that with consistent improvement, the Northeast Conference (NEC) won’t be the only thing Croce will compete at.
“He has good competition in the NEC conference, but he’s also someone who might over the course of time, be able to improve enough to make it to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Championship. He has already made it to the NCAA regionals, which was last year for the hammer throw as a freshman,” said Morrison.
Croce was a runner-up in last year’s competition. He said it meant a lot to be able to compete as a freshman. However, this year’s conference title trumps that on his favorite track memories.
According to SHU Athletics, after the second day of the competition, Croce was named the NEC’s Most Outstanding Field Performer in throws.
“Going from high school to college, it’s really hard to transition because the weights actually go up. Instead of 35 lbs., in high school it was 25 lbs.,” said Croce.
Croce was one of the 23 other throwers that competed at the NEC Championships, with one of his fellow teammates finishing in 14th place. Croce credits his success this year to taking what he learned last year and improving upon it.
“Last year was a big adjustment period. I had to get bigger and stronger. This year is has been about putting what I did last year into play,” said Croce.
Morrison thinks that this success for Croce is simply just the beginning.
“He’s super enthusiastic and passionate about throwing. In order to excel in anything in life, it really helps to be enthusiastic and passionate — he has that going for him. If he can maintain that, the sky’s the limit for him,” said Morrison.