SRU student breaks personal and school record

Published by adviser, Date: February 18, 2018
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Slippery Rock has always had a strong tradition of throwers on the track and field teams. The men have seen three Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) champions and two national champions since 2000. Recently, a new throwing star has emerged in graduate student, Anderson Novalin.

In the past month, Novalin has broken the SRU and Haitian national record in the indoor shot put in back-to-back weeks. Novalin has dual citizenship in the US and in Haiti and is at Slippery Rock to pursue his master’s in business administration (MBA). Novalin first broke the shot put record at Youngstown State throwing 17.15 meters, which also made him the first Rock thrower to get over the 17-meter mark. Then, the next week at Grand Valley State in Michigan, he broke his own records again improving them to 17.26 meters.

In high school, Anderson competed in track and field as well as football. Novalin never thought his track and field career would turn out this successfully.

“I did plan to work hard as much as possible, to do as good as possible,” Novalin said. He then took his talents to California University (Pa.) where he competed for the track team. He also played football for a few years as well, before having to stop for medical reasons.

While at California, Novalin broke the indoor and outdoor shot put records, but was injured in his senior year, which left him with one last season of indoor and outdoor eligibility. Being at California, Novalin said that he always had a close connection with the throwers at Slippery Rock because of how often they competed.

“Every time I competed against them they were friendly,” Novalin said. His connection to the Rock throwers and his knowledge of the high-level throwing program SRU had to offer is what Novalin said drew him to Slippery Rock when looking at schools for pursuing his MBA.

Now that he’s at The Rock and competing with the Rock throwers he had befriended while at California, Novalin says that his teammates are the source of his biggest motivation. Especially senior JJ Ollio, Novalin said.

“He’s the guy that pushes me, he’s like competition,” Novalin said. “He’s actually one of the people that caused me to come here.” Ollio and Novalin have both hit NCAA provisional standards this season, with Ollio close behind Novalin at 16.95 meters.

Novalin currently sits in the number one spot in the PSAC and 17th in the nation so far. He has his eyes set on the PSAC championship in two weeks held at Edinboro University. The title eluded him while he was at California and now he’s determined to claim it in his final run.

“My goal is to break at least 62 or 63 feet in the shot put by outdoor,” Novalin said. A throw of 62-feet would be well over the NCAA automatic standard for outdoor season, putting Novalin in good shape to qualify for the championships.

Since Novalin has dual citizenship between Haiti and the United States, he could potentially compete for Haiti in the indoor or outdoor World Track and Field Championships, or even the Olympics sometime in the future. But Novalin says that’s not his goal right now.

“I do have a goal, if I can reach my goal in the next year or year and a half I will try to go for it,” Novalin said. “It’s all depending on how successful I become.”

For now, his focus is on finishing his collegiate career strong and completing his MBA.

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