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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Vance Bonior reaches new heights in his dual dominance of high jump, shot put

Vance+Bonior+sails+over+the+high+jump+bar+at+the+MPSSAA+4A+West+Region+Championships.+Bonior+finished+2nd+in+the+high+jump%2C+jumping+five+feet+and+10+inches.+Although+I+had+a+bit+of+a+disappointing+high+jump%2C+I+was+fortunate+enough+to+qualify+for+states%2C+Bonior+said.+%28Courtesy+Vance+Bonior%29
Vance Bonior sails over the high jump bar at the MPSSAA 4A West Region Championships. Bonior finished 2nd in the high jump, jumping five feet and 10 inches. “Although I had a bit of a disappointing high jump, I was fortunate enough to qualify for states,” Bonior said. (Courtesy Vance Bonior)

From swinging a bat to gliding over a metal bar, hitting a home run and performing the high jump are nearly polar opposites on the spectrum of athletic endeavors.

Taking on a new sport in your senior year is a challenging task, and something most won’t bother trying, especially if you are already committed to playing Division I baseball. But for Vance Bonior, a University of Massachusetts baseball commit, track and field has provided him an opportunity to compete in a new environment while garnering athletic ability that will serve him well on the baseball diamond.

“I decided to join track very last minute with the idea of the training being able to help develop some speed and explosiveness,” Bonior said.

Bonior specializes in the field department of track & field, with his main events being the high jump and shot put, both very technically sound events. With a steep learning curve involved in both events, Bonior has benefited from his teammates and coaches in expediting his development process, both of whom have taken note of Bonior’s dedication to the sport, despite it being brand new to him.

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“Even though it was his first season with the track & field team, Vance showed up every day and worked hard at practice, and it showed in the results,” sophomore Alessandro Marenco said.

The hours of practice have paid off, as Bonior placed first in shot put at the MPSSAA 4A West Region Championships, throwing 47 feet and one inch. He also finished second in the high jump, jumping five feet and ten inches. Bonior qualified for both the high jump and shot put at the MPSSAA 4A Indoor State Championships.

“Regions were frustrating for me with high jump, as I was not able to keep proper focus and technique and maximize my potential. I took some of that frustration into shot put, and was able to get a two-foot PR (personal record) which helped me feel more satisfied with my performance overall,” Bonior said.

High jump and shot put are two very different events, which usually entail two very different body types. The high jump involves running at full speed into a penultimate step and a jump over a metal bar. It involves the contortion of the body and an arch in the back, usually an event that is known to be fit for a long and lean body type.

On the other hand, the shot put event usually fields heavier athletes who carry more mass, which gives them the power to throw the iron shot far distances. Rarely do you find athletes who participate in both events, let alone consistently earn high marks in both events. However, Bonior strikes the perfect balance between strength and agility, gliding over the bar in the high jump and heaving the shot over 47 feet.

“Baseball and [other athletic] backgrounds have definitely helped with my success in high jump and shot put, but aside from that I don’t really know how I am able to compete in both events especially with them being very different. It is definitely attributed to coaching as well, as they have routinely allowed me to improve throughout the season. Doing such different events certainly makes me feel like the odd man out no matter where I’m competing, but it’s definitely fun to get many looks of confusion when people find out I partake in both,” Bonior said.

Before transitioning back to the diamond, Bonior competed at states, in which he placed fourth in the shot put, throwing 45 feet and 6.5 inches. He also placed fifth in the high jump, clearing six feet, ending his season of many accolades on a high note.

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Ben Kim, Senior Opinion Editor
Senior Ben Kim is excited to participate in his first year with the Pitch as the Senior Opinion Editor. In addition to writing for the Pitch, Ben also plays for the WJ basketball team and runs for the track & field team.
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