Bryan Kolacz, national champ and top May athlete
Visit the Web site for Keene State College athletics. The first thing you'll see is a congratulatory page for Bryan Kolacz.
"It's been (online) for about 2 1/2 weeks," said KSC sports information director Stuart Kaufman, whose assistant, Adam Skibek, created the page. "We've been doing those (Web) pages for special occasions."
The 6-foot, 225-pound men's track and field star won the 2009 Division III national championship in the hammer throw. The KSC sophomore and Brentwood resident, as a result, also scored New Hampshire Union Leader May Athlete of the Month honors.
"There was pressure. But I thought about having success, and what I needed to do (from a technical standpoint)," said Kolacz, 19, who noted throwing coach Darcy Wilson was key to his win. "I was focused. I didn't feel the stress."
Kolacz totaled 30 points. He's the first athlete this year to earn a nod from every voter on the nine-member board of judges.
Trinity of Manchester baseball player Dylan Clark (27 points) placed second. Londonderry girls' lacrosse star Kayla Green (20 points) finished third.
At the Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Kolacz recorded a Division III-season best throw of 201 feet, 8 inches. (COURTESY)
Competing in Marietta, Ohio, at the Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 21, Kolacz recorded a Division III-season best throw of 201 feet, 8 inches. The toss -- his final heave -- made Kolacz the first KSC men's athlete to win a national title in a field event since 1979. He also became KSC's 10th national champion.
"He went in as the top seed, but it was his third trip to nationals," KSC head coach Peter Thomas said. "And the first two (trips) hadn't worked out as well as we would've liked."
Fouling on his first throw, Kolacz qualified for the finals with his second toss.
His third throw clinched the crown -- and set a Don Drumm Stadium record.
"The third one was a game-changer," Kolacz said. "I knew I was pretty much untouchable at that point."
Trinity's Clark, a senior, posted a 5-0 pitching record. He surrendered just two earned runs in 32 1/3 innings, while striking out 63 and walking four. He allowed only 20 hits.
Londonderry's Green, a senior attacker, scored 73 points (50 goals, 23 assists). She scored between six and eight points 10 times. The Lancers were 11-0 overall and 10-0 in Division I.
Seven other athletes scored points on the May ballot.
The group included Cara Chooljian (Pinkerton of Derry softball); Dominic Filiano (Lebanon boys' track and field); Zach Ibanez (Trinity boys' track and field); Chelsea Larivee (Souhegan of Amherst girls' lacrosse); Carolyn Maynard (Hopkinton girls' track and field); Derrick Sylvester (Franklin baseball); and Margaret Teague (Manchester Central girls' tennis).
New Hampshire Union Leader Athletes of the Month (2009)
January (tie): Tiffany Ruffin (Winnacunnet of Hampton girls' basketball) and Brian Nicoll (Timberlane of Plaistow wrestling); February: Amanda Coviello (Special Olympics downhill skiing); March: Jocelyn Briggs (Winnacunnet girls' indoor track); April: Tom Cote (Franklin Pierce University baseball).
Nominations for New Hampshire Union Leader Athlete of the Month may be e-mailed to email@example.com.
By MARC THALER
New Hampshire Union Leader