Meet UP thrower Triton Pitassi
Student athlete culture on this campus is particularly interesting: the perceptions surrounding them, how they fall into cliques and only hang out with each other, how all they wear is their Nike swag, how they aren’t smart and aren’t kind.
On some level, we can all attest to the fact that this isn’t true. They often hang out with each other because they already spend so much time together, they wear their Nike swag because it’s darn comfortable, and the rumors of them being less intelligent, less kind, less human almost, are all fallible.
Many who know Triton Pitassi would never guess he falls under the student athlete category. Pitassi throws for the UP’s track team. I sat down with him to get a better look at the student athlete world from his perspective, and how he seems to not fall victim to the athlete stereotypes.
How do you like being a part of the track team?
“Being part of the track team is really cool. I get the opportunity to continue competing in college and I get a lot of help with my lifting and my workouts. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other throwers, or even a throwing coach, so I take lessons at Concordia. Meets are often the most fun because I get to see my teammates more than I do at practice or lifting.”
How is it different being a thrower as opposed to a runner or any of the other events?
“I think that a big difference comes in the amount and the type of weight lifting that throwers need. Often, distance runners don’t want to lift too much in order to stay lean. Same with other events; while they need to lift more than distance, body weight is an important factor. In the case of throwing, we don’t build up speed through running. In some cases, it can be better to be heavy than light.”
What is the most rewarding part of being on the track team?
“The most rewarding part for me is getting to see all of my hard work come together into a big throw during a meet. As athletes, we work hard to better ourselves for our sport, so it’s very rewarding to see that it isn’t all for nothing, and that our hard work is paying off.”
How come you don’t spend as much time with other athletes as many seem to do?
“I don’t see my teammates that much because I have class during the time that they lift and my practice is separate from theirs. I really only see them at meets where we get to connect but I haven’t had the same team bonding experience that others in different events have had. So I don’t really have a group of athlete friends that I hang out with. I’ve made more friends through the other activities I’m involved in.”
What else are you involved in on campus?
“I’m involved in Mock Trial, Financial Management Board and Tau Beta Pi. I push myself hard to be involved in things outside of track. I have to be very particular about my time, not just to get work done, but to make sure that I’m taking enough breaks so that I don’t go crazy. I like to keep myself busy and these activities allow me to do that!”
How do you feel about common perceptions about student athletes on this campus?
“I think people often think that athletes are not quite as smart as the other students. And often I think that’s because they ask for help more often and make use of planning and tutors. But it’s because we don’t have as much time as other people do. We have to go to practice and we have to lift and go to different athletic events, so we have to maximize the efficiency of the time that we have to do work.
I think there are a lot of student athletes that have friends outside of their sport but they spend so much time with each other, in how much they practice, that it is almost easier to keep to that friend group. Not only that, but some don’t have the time to be a part of other activities, so it can be hard to make friends outside of their team. ”