BY CARA MCNEIL
SC Contributing Writer
On competition day, Matt Tholis wrestles out of bed, fixes himself eggs, toast, and coffee, and packs himself a protein bar and fruit drink.
This may not exactly seem like the breakfast of champions, but for this charismatic, talented athlete, it is the ultimate bowl of Wheaties.
“Commitment” was the word that immediately fell from Tholis’s mouth when asked what made his 2013-year on the East Stroudsburg University’s Track and Field team so successful.
And commitment was exactly what it took for him to be named the Atlantic Region’s Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association.
From the hometown of Montgomery, New Jersey, Tholis first attended Rowan University right out of high school and later transferred to a community college for a semester.
It was not until after that endeavor that he finally found his home here at ESU. His spunk and bold personality have flooded the campus ever since.
“He’s very detail oriented and determined in every aspect of his life,” said Josh Przywara, a member of the football team and former roommate of Tholis.
The East Stroudsburg University graduate swept every major conference and regional field athletic award for the 2013 season, including the PSAC Men’s Field Athlete of the Year, PSAC Championship Men’s Field Athlete of the Meet, and the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Men’s Field Athlete of the Year.
“I was motivated by the fact that I got second in the Conference in 2012. I knew I could throw further, and I wanted to prove it,” said Tholis.
His competitive edge drove him to victory in 2013 when he placed first in the PSAC Conference Championships throwing a 223-11.
But his competitive edge did not stop at the javelin throw. Tholis graduated with a 3.91 GPA in 2013 earning him academic honors such as, PSAC Pete Nevins Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Academic All-American 1st Team, Academic All-District 1st Team, PSAC Spring Top 10, and USTFCCCA All-Academic.
“Junior year was the hardest. I was taking twenty credits in the fall and twenty-two in the spring. It really forces you to stay on top of your game,” said Tholis.
He is an exercise science major and is currently attending graduate school at East Stroudsburg University while also volunteering as a track coach.
Unfortunately, Tholis’s talent was not enough to pull him through his career unscarred. While throwing in a conference meet at Rowan University, he tensed up on his last throw.
“I felt two big pops in my elbow. Since everyone was throwing real far I decided to take my last throw too, even though I just tore my elbow. I threw again and heard another big pop. That hurt,” said Tholis.
On August 29th, 2013 Tholis had ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction, better known as “Tommy John Surgery”.
He hopes to have a significant range of motion within the next two weeks and is currently on the road to a full and healthy recovery.
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