Indoor track and field thrower Bryce Buffaloe isn’t surprised by the way his season is going. Very little seems to surprise the freshman at all.
Tipping the scales at 245 pounds, the 6-foot-2 Buffaloe is already one of the biggest members on the track and field team. At his size, Buffaloe said he expected to help the team in a major way during his first season. He couldn’t have predicted how much he would be able to contribute, though.
Nobody on the team could have.
Buffaloe surprised coaches and teammates when he set a school record in the weight throw last month at the NYC Gotham Cup in New York City with a distance of 52 feet. Even Buffaloe was excited with the throw.
“I never even participated in the weight throw until I came to Temple,” Buffaloe said. “So it surprised me a little bit, too.”
Graduate assistant coach Brian Hartley, who specializes in throwing, was impressed by the freshman’s record throw.
“[Breaking] the school record, I wasn’t expecting that to happen so soon [in his career],” Hartley said.
Hartley said Buffaloe has “progressed very nicely” this season and he expects him to keep getting better.
“He works really hard every day in practice and it’s starting to pay off,” Hartley said.
Buffaloe, who also participates in the shot put, placed in the top 10 in his events six times during four meets in January.
Three weeks ago, at the Bison Open in Lewisburg, Pa., Buffaloe beat his own school record in the weight throw with a 52-foot-two-inch heave. He set a personal record in the shot put with a season-best distance of 46 feet, 5.5 inches.
One of the keys to Buffaloe’s success was his ability to avoid freshman jitters at the start of the season.
“There was no fear. I wasn’t really nervous at all,” he said. “I just wanted to get out there, throw as hard as I could and contribute something to the team.”
Buffaloe said his coaches deserve a majority of the credit for his accomplishments this season. He added that Hartley is responsible for his progression in both the weight throw and the shot put.
“He taught me several techniques to increase the distance on my throws,” Buffaloe said. “It’s nice to have a young coach like him because he can relate to us better and he can actually show us exactly how he wants things to be done.”
Buffaloe’s results have qualified him for the weight throw at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championship in March. He said one of his career goals is to qualify for the NCAA Championship in both of his events.
Another one of Buffaloe’s goals has nothing to do with throwing.
Buffaloe wants to play football at Temple next season. He earned three varsity letters playing fullback and offensive tackle at Berlin High in New Haven, Conn.
“It was a real change not playing football this year,” Buffaloe said, adding that football is his favorite sport. “I want to play for Temple and help [the team] get to a bowl game.”
Buffaloe said he has been in contact with the football team’s coaches and will attempt to join the team next season.
In the meantime, Buffaloe said he is looking forward to the outdoor track season and, most importantly, competing in the Atlantic Ten Championship this Saturday.
Hartley said he is looking forward to seeing how Buffaloe performs at the A-10 Championship.
“Hopefully he can set some more personal bests at the A-10s also,” Hartley said. “That would cap his season off well.”
With a two-week break between their last meet and Saturday’s A-10 Championship at Kingston, R.I., the indoor track and field team’s coaches are using practice time to challenge their runners.
“You’re looking at athletes who are starting to get really hungry,” assistant coach Angelo Booker said. “It’s championship time and everybody is working and performing at a higher level.
“I’ve been raising the bar at practice all season long and each time I raise it, they manage to reach it.”
Booker added that one of the ways he has made practice more intense is through having the women race more often against the men.
“I’ll give [the women] a two- or three-second head start and I tell them ‘Don’t let these guys catch you’ and the guys have had a hard time fighting them off,” Booker said.
Sophomore long sprinter Shanice DePass said she has noticed a change in the focus of practice in the past couple of weeks.
“Our strength right now is speed and quickness, so there has been more emphasis on that in practice,” she said.
Booker said he is excited about the prospects of the A-10 Championship.
“We’re looking to put Temple on the map,” Booker said. “We want this program to receive national recognition.”
Tyson McCloud can be reached at email@example.com.