Baldwin Wallace University Freshman Jim Roy Looks for the Perfect Throw
and an NCAA Division III National Title in the Javelin
Roy’s hard work has paid off with a spot in the 2005 Division III National Meet
By Matt Florjancic ‘07, Student Assistant
BEREA, OHIO --- Baldwin Wallace University has been blessed with some of the finest student-athletes in Division III. This spring, one freshman track star has set himself apart from the competition in the rugged Ohio Athletic Conference. That freshman is javelin thrower and Simsbury, Connecticut native Jim Roy.
During his first collegiate meet, on BW’s spring break trip to Orlando, Florida and at the 2005 Disney RelayMeet, Roy stepped up in a big way. He provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championship Meet with a throw of 188 feet-seven inches.
But that was just the beginning of Roy’s climb prior to throwing the javelin tomorrow (Saturday, May 28) at the NCAA Division III National Championship Meet at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
Along the way, Roy, who also briefly played basketball, has increased his best throw and has won individual titles at the 2005 All-Ohio Division III Championship Meet and at the 2005 OAC Championships Meet. At the OAC Meet, Roy won the event with a throw of 200 feet-five inches, had his top qualifying throw and beat the second place competitor by nearly 12 feet.
"Jim has established himself as one of the top javelin throwers in Division III for the next three years," said Yellow Jacket veteran Head Coach Bill Taraschke. "He worked very hard this year to get to where he is at, and now he has a chance to compete for a national title. It is great for Jim and for our track program, and it happened because he has great work ethic."
Roy is happy to have earned a spot in the National Meet.
"As a freshman, it is very exciting to me," said Roy via cell phone from Waverly on Thursday (May 26). "I have the opportunity to throw out here at the National Meet. Not many freshmen get this opportunity and I hope to make the most out of the opportunity."
The success Roy is having is nothing new for this former high school superstar.
Roy’s track career began during his freshman year at Simsbury High School of the CCC West League.
"I began in track during my freshman year [of high school] because I knew the track coach from high school football," Roy said. "My friends played football and said he was a good guy. I also felt that I had good shoulder strength from years of throwing a soccer ball over my head."
While at Simsbury, Roy was a two-sport student-athlete. He was a member of the track team, and in the winter he was a member of the Trojan basketball team.
On the hardwood, Roy was a two-year starter. During his junior year, he averaged six points and six rebounds per game. As a senior, he increased his productivity level on the court by scoring 12 ppg. and grabbing 9.0 rpg. For his play on the hardwood, Roy earned the Doc Hurly Tournament Most Valuable Player Award.
It was on the basketball floor that Roy had one of his favorite sports memories.
"My favorite memory was definitely one of my high school basketball games," Roy said. "I scored 26 points in the game and my friend tipped in the shot that won the game at the buzzer. It was both exciting to score 26 points and even better to have a friend win the game for our team. It was the best of both worlds."
In the spring season, Roy was just as effective. He was a member of the track team all four years of high school and earned four varsity letters for his efforts.
While on the track, Roy earned All-Conference honors three times and All-Connecticut accolades twice. It was during his senior year that Roy was named a high school All-American, which is one of the highest honors a high school athlete can attain.
Roy was happy to receive such a prestigious award.
"It meant a lot to be a high school All-American," said Roy. "I was not supposed to win that award. It is one of those things that I will remember forever."
When it came time to look for a college, Roy had several options. He looked at the University of Connecticut as well as the University of New Hampshire and the University of South Carolina. Roy also looked at two of BW’s biggest OAC rivals, Capital University and Mount Union College.
After weighing his options, Roy decided that BW was the best fit for him.
"BW let me play both basketball and compete on the track team," said Roy. "The College also has a good sport management program with a track record of success for its graduates. That was very important to me. It has been a good decision for me."
Roy currently majors in business administration and sport management and would like to work for a professional sports organization after he graduates from college.
"My goal is work for a professional sports franchise," said Roy. "Being at BW and in close proximity to Cleveland gives me a number of excellent opportunites for field experiences and internships."
When Roy got to the Berea campus, he noticed a big difference between high school and college.
"Not having my parents around was different," said Roy of the distance from Simsbury to Berea. "Being away from my friends was interesting because they pretty much stayed and went to college close to home. It was both a growth and learning experience that has become beneficial in many ways. Also, not having either my parents or my friends around forced me to concentrate more on what I was doing at BW. In effect what began as a partial negative has turned into a positive."
Roy’s first season of track at BW has not been injury free. He has experienced soreness in his elbow, but he says it is nothing that would keep him out of action.
"Having a sore elbow is just a part of throwing the javelin," said Roy. "I am sure that most every javelin thrower has experienced it at one time or another. You learn to compete with the discomfort. It eventually gets better."
Roy’s success has captured the attention of his coaches.
"He is a big, strong young man with a tremendous arm," said Taraschke, the reigning OAC Indoor and Outdoor Women’s Track Coach of the Year. "He is very fast and that is important for a thrower.
"The honors that Jim has received so far are well deserved," Taraschke added. "He is one of the Top 10 throwers in the country for Division III. And, to do it as a freshman is outstanding. We certainly feel that he has a great future ahead of him too."
Roy gives much of the credit for his success to his individual coach back home in Simsbury.
"The biggest influence on my career would be my private coach, Chris Sagnella," Roy said. "Every time I workout with him, he makes me believe in myself.
"He makes me believe I can throw farther," Roy added. "He is a Division II champion and a compliment from him means a lot."
Sagnella was a 1992 NCAA Division III champion in the javelin while at Southern Connecticut State University.
Roy believes his family plays a role in his love for competing.
"I love to compete and be successful," said Roy. "My family pushes me to succeed and their support keeps me going."
Before he competes, Roy has a routine that he follows to prepare for his events.
"Before I compete, I try to relax," said Roy. "I try to make sure I get loose and ready to throw. The more loose and relaxed, the better I throw. I know at the Division III National Championship Meet that I will have to be both loose and relaxed and not worried about the pressure."
Despite having success early in his college career, Roy continues to set high standards for the future.
"I want to hold the school-record in the javelin," said Roy, who is chasing Tim McCaig’s Yellow Jacket school-record of 221-feet . "I also want to be an NCAA Division III Champion."
With his skill, desire and more practice, the goal of an individual National Championship is well within Roy’s reach. In fact, with the right throw, it might just happen tomorrow!