Ollio continues to shine at The Rock

Published by Aaron Marrie, Author: Aaron Marrie - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 14, 2019
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It all started his freshman year of high school for now Rock Senior JJ Ollio. He was cut from his high school baseball team, down on his luck, when a friend of his mentioned shot put. Now after three years at Slippery Rock University, Ollio is as close as he’s ever been to making it to nationals.

“Right away I fell in love with the event of shot put. During high school I started to get a little bit good at it and thought, ‘Okay, this might be something I can do at the next level,’” Ollio said.

Ollio spent his first year of college at Duquesne University, however, things didn’t work out for him and he decided to transfer Slippery Rock. Ollio wasn’t entirely set on joining the team when he transferred to SRU, but he thought he’d give it a try.

“It was going to be a new school, a new opportunity,” Ollio said.

Now, Ollio is coming off a sixth-place finish in the shot put and an eleventh-place finish in the weight throw in this past Friday’s Grand Valley University Big Meet. He threw for an NCAA mark as his toss shot put toss was 16.49 meters. His weight throw also recorded him a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) mark with a throw of 16.28 meters.

The Grand Valley meet was just the continuation of his excellence this season. Ollio came close to his indoor record (16.99 meters) as he recorded a 16.96 meter toss at Youngstown State’s Icebreaker earlier this season. That mark (16.96 meters) currently sits at the 26 best out of all the D2 athletes that have currently hit the NCAA provisional mark this season.

Right now, even though Ollio has hit the NCAA provisional marks four times this season he has not yet secured a spot for the National Championships in March. His hope to get the chance to go and compete against more of the top collegiate athletes and possible win a team or individual title.

Rock assistant coach and Ollio’s throw coach Meagan Shadeck highlighted JJ’s worth ethic and how he works to make himself the best athlete he can be.

“JJ’s attitude and commitment are top notch,” Shadeck said. “He legitimately will analyze and scrutinize technique, and will debate the pros and cons of doing different types of trainings and things like that.”

However, Shadeck added that Ollio’s goal is different.

“Ultimately, he just wants to have fun,” Shadeck said. “That attitude brings everybody else up around you. It’s not just about the drills, it’s not just about the reps and stuff, it’s about building a community of teammates and an attitude towards success and winning.”

Ollio has not only grown as an athlete and thrower, Shadeck said. She said that she has seen him grow as a leader too.

“We have some new athletes this year that he’s worked with, and they’ve come up and told me right away that they have connected with him; they were willing to work with him and they were happy to come to practice, because they knew he was going to be there,” Shadeck said.

Moving forward with the rest of indoor track, the PSAC Championships take place Feb. 23 and 24 at Edinboro University. Ollio will again get the chance to perform against some of the best PSAC athletes.

“I’m looking for him to put on a great show,” Shadeck started. “When the spotlight is on JJ and he can get the crowd clapping and cheering, it brings everybody else up. I expect him to bring his best and I expect him to be at the top of the PSAC. If it works out and he can squeeze into the national championships, I expect him to just enjoy the experience.”

Ollio and the rest of the men’s and women’s indoor track team returns to action on Feb. 15 for the Edinboro “Last Chance” meet, the final match for athletes who have yet to qualify for the PSAC championships.

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Aaron Marrie is a senior converged journalism major and has a minor in film and media studies. Aaron is entering his second year on staff as the multimedia editor. Since attending Slippery Rock University, Aaron also got involved with the campus TV station, WSRU-TV. Aaron will be taking the role of president within WSRU-TV starting this fall. Aaron is also a member of the CORE Street Team on campus and is a member of the National Broadcast Society and the College Media Association through WSRU-TV and The Rocket.

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