Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Proffitt chooses Penn State
nThe Manheim Central javelin standout, ranked third in the country, will join the Nittany Lions' track and field team. BY DUSTIN LEED, Sports Writer
For Cole Proffitt, Penn State University has "it."
And ultimately, "it" has led the Manheim Central track and field athlete to accept an athletic scholarship to throw javelin at State College.
"I wanted nothing to do with Penn State at the beginning," Proffitt said. "But it ended up being the right place for me. It's the school that has the 'it' factor."
Proffitt, who is currently ranked No. 3 in the United States and No. 2 in Pennsylvania in the javelin with a toss of 200-9, chose Penn State on Sunday afternoon over the University of Virginia. He plans to major in kinesiology.
"(Penn State) has the No. 1 kinesiology program (scientific study of body and its movement) in the country, their track team is awesome and all the other sports are great," Proffitt said. "It's been known to be a top academic school, it's a fun campus and all together it's a great school.
"Academics along with the track and field (camaraderie) and everything overall the school has to offer as a university were my three specific things I looked for in a school," he added.
Proffitt also counted on helpful conversations from current NCAA Division I student-athletes for advice.
"All of them told me I should look at the school that I like the most without track and that's where I should go," Proffitt said.
And Penn State was the best fit.
Proffitt's decision came down to Virginia and Penn State, but the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Association Male Track Athlete of the Year also was recruited by Oregon, Kentucky, North Carolina, Rutgers and Pittsburgh.
The 2012 L-L League champion in the javelin (200-7) and USATF National Junior Olympic runner-up made three official visits -- to Virginia, Penn State and Oregon -- and had his share of ups and downs throughout the recruiting process.
"It's been an absolute roller-coaster of emotions," Proffitt said. "I was angry about certain things in the recruiting process, happy one moment, and the next moment down again.
"You have yourself convinced that one school is right for you, then you go to another school and then that one's right for you.
"You have pre-ideas of where you're going to go then get your offers and it completely resets everything again because of the financial situation," he continued. "But honestly, even though I was mad and down at one point, I'm blessed to have this 'problem.' It's an awesome 'problem.'"
The javelin isn't the only event that Proffitt specializes in at Manheim Central. And that allows Proffitt the choice to take up the decathlon in college. The multi-event senior has high-jumped 6-0, long-jumped 20-8, pole-vaulted 11-0 and ran the 100-meter dash in 11.2 seconds. His long jump of 20-8¼ earned him a third-place finish in the L-L League Championships in May.
"They're giving me the choice of if I want to (compete in the decathlon) or not so I might experiment with it," Proffitt said. "But as of right now, I'm a javelin thrower only.
"I like to think I put some effort in and work hard in practice. It takes a lot of hard work, but I couldn't do it without my coaches."
That hard work has resulted in serious distance gains for Proffitt over his last three years throwing the javelin. As a freshman, Proffitt's season best was 147-2 and he improved by 30 feet each season after that.
And for his upcoming final season?
"I've been doing a lot of core power training," Proffitt said. "I'll be working form.
"I need to fix my plant (leg) and then runway work. That will come more once we can get outside to practice," he said. "I'm hoping to throw 220-230 this year. That's my goal."