It’s a formula, Nick Margitza said. Hard work produces results. That’s why the throwers on the Bates College men’s track and field team have built a decade of excellence. When Margitza was looking at schools at which he could continue his throwing career, the opportunity to be a teammate with David Pless, a three-time national shot put champion, was a selling point.
Now, with Pless graduated and Margitza taking on a bigger role as a sophomore, the Waterville Senior High School graduate doesn’t feel pressure to continue the Bobcats’ throwing excellence. He’s enthusiastic.
“It’s the most fun thing I’ve been a part of,” Margitza said. “Pressure is the last word that comes to mind.”
Margitza, who has lost 65 pounds from his high school weight and now carries 220 pounds on his 6-foot frame, is having a strong sophomore season.
He placed second in the shot put at the state meet Saturday at Bowdoin College, throwing 47 feet, 9.75 inches. Margitza was third in the weight throw with a toss of 49-1.
Margitza will compete at meets at Boston University and Tufts the next two weeks, before the New England Division III championships on the Feb. 21-22 in Cambridge, Mass.
“Nick’s been a great addition to the team. He’s a dedicated, hard-working kid. I think he’s only at the tip of the iceberg,” Bates track and field coach Al Fereshetian said. “My biggest challenge with him is to get him to stop sometimes. He’ll work himself into the ground.”
Margitza’s challenge is to learn to throw with his new body. Simply getting enough weight and muscle behind the throw won’t cut it. Now, Margitza is learning to be a more technically refined thrower.
“It takes a lot of practice to maintain power,” Margitza said. “My athleticism is up. My range of motion is huge.”
Added Fereshetian: “Nick’s a student of what he’s been doing. He’s a better athlete now at 220 pounds. He’s not going to get by on brute strength. He’ll get it through finesse and technique.”
Margitza’s goal is to get his shot and weight throws over 50 feet by the end of the indoor season.
“Nick’s the type of guy, you don’t have to talk about numbers, because he’s working to be his best,” Fereshetian said. “We’re just letting him develop the technique and channel his effort.”
Down the line, Margitza’s best event may become the hammer throw during the outdoor season, Fereshetian said.
“It’s a speed, technique and quickness event,” Fereshetian said.
Teammates like Pless and Sean Enos, the Bobcats’ current top thrower, wrote the blueprint, Margitza said.
“Having those two guys as teammates, they set great examples for the hard work needed to be a champion,” Margitza said. “Their passion for the sport is contagious.”
“We’ve just had a real series of throwing success in the last 10 years,” Fereshetian said. “One kid sets the tone, and the other kids carry on. That’s what Nick had a chance to experience, and he’ll pass that on.”