Senior Andrew Bloom has been selected as the Whitworthian’s male athlete of the year. From placing second in the 2016 Northwest Conference Championship to holding the best Division III mark in the nation (220‘2‘‘), it would seem as if Bloom was born with a javelin in his hand.
Bloom grew up on Camano Island, Washington, where he played a variety of sports, including basketball, football and golf. He attended Stanwood High School where he played baseball as his main sport for the Spartans.
As a freshman at Whitworth, Bloom intended to play four years of baseball for the Pirates, but injuries and other obstacles led Bloom to stop after his first year.
“I went from [playing sports] all the time to not playing anything,” Bloom said. “I decided I wanted to compete again in something.”
In a strange turn of events, during his sophomore year, Bloom was challenged by a friend to see who could throw a javelin the farthest. “I was absolutely awful,” Bloom said. “[Chase Wright] who had just won second in the nation [in javelin] was watching and said ‘Hey, you have a good arm but just need to learn the techniques. You should try out next year for the track team.'”
After practicing and learning how to properly throw with friends, Bloom talked to Whitworth’s track and field head coach, Toby Schwarz, and developed into a javelin thrower his junior year.
“[Bloom] is a work horse,” junior Dane Larson said. “He hasn’t been [throwing the javelin] long but he genuinely loves the sport and he’s always willing to help out his teammates.”
Bloom proved after only a couple meets that he was a force to be reckoned with in the javelin community.
“He has always had a great throwing arm, but in terms of how fast he has progressed in an event that is technically very difficult, it is extraordinary,” assistant coach Eloise Cappellano said. “He made it to nationals his first year; that doesn’t happen all the time and so that in itself is quite an achievement.”
With one season under his belt, Bloom became more comfortable with the mechanics of the javelin and over the span of a couple of weeks improved his personal record by 20 feet.
“I started making a lot of minor adjustments and bringing in more speed from last season that really has taken me over the top,” Bloom said. “My marks would increase every week. I went from 194 to 199 to a 10-foot [personal record] of 209 then to 213 and 219.”
One of Bloom’s biggest feats this season was breaking the Whitworth men’s javelin record with a mark of 220‘2‘‘ at the World War 9 meet, a record that was set back in 2011.
“He is way advanced and off of the charts right now. He has great speed, is a very smart guy and has figured out what needs to happen technically in order to throw [the javelin] very far,” Cappellano said. “[Bloom] is a joy to coach and honestly very easy to coach because he picks up things easily and quickly.”
Bloom has already qualified and will compete in the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships in Waverly, Iowa at the end of May.
“He is a very level=headed and intelligent young man. I think he will handle the pressure of nationals well,” Cappellano said.
Even though he is graduating this year, Bloom has saved one course to be able to return and compete again for the Pirates next season.
“I am thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had,” Bloom said, “but I don’t want to take personal credit for it because it’s been God, my coaches, my teammates and my trainers that have done so much.”