We are all aware of the clichés or sayings in life, which tend to boost up our own ego like: ‘When one door closes, another one opens’ or ‘Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise’.
Marc Troiani began his journey to record breaking performances at Sacred Heart University during his days at Valhalla High School in New York, when an off-performance during JV baseball tryouts put him in poor spirits.
But it wasn’t for long, as the next day, the school’s track coach approached him in an attempt to convince Marc to join the team.
“I had planned on joining the team anyway, to help me get ready for football, but little did I know what would come from it,” said Troiani. “I wasn’t anything special at first but I enjoyed it, so I kept working at it and got better each season.”
From that point through the end of his college career, Marc was thankful for the outstanding influence that had from not only his coaches but a former Olympian as well.
During his junior year of high school, Marc made it to the Westchester County (NY) Championships. In the middle of the event, he noticed a well-built middle age man watching the discus throw, and worked up the courage to say hello.
“He told me his name was Augie Wolf, a former USA Olympic shot putter in the 1984 Los Angeles games,” recalled Troiani.
Soon after, Marc began training with Augie and two other coaches from the area, Olympic discus thrower Knut Hjeltnes of Norway and Dejan Maksimovic from Club Partizan in Serbia.
The results paid immediate dividends, as he reached his high school discus record of 160 feet-2 inches. This gave Marc an enormous amount of confidence when applying to Division 1 colleges, to extend his career in throwing.
After his acceptance to Sacred Heart University, Marc enjoyed a breakout freshman season.
When his throwing coach left for another coaching opportunity at Columbia, Sacred Heart hired Steven Santoli, who helped Marc’s progress grow tremendously over the next three years, especially during his performance during the 2014 NEC Indoor Championships.
Throughout his track and field days at Sacred Heart, Marc became a pedestal of excellence in the throwing pit.
He broke the school’s 35-pound weight record with a throw of 17.95 meters (58-feet, 10 inches) at the indoor conference championships his senior year, taking first place.
“No idea where the throw came from but it happened,” Troiani said.
He came close to breaking the outdoor shot put record, but lost his balance and committed a foul.
However, the rest of his numbers took home the cake.
“My personal best in discus was 50.93m (167ft 1in) junior year taking second at the outdoor conference,” said Troiani. “In shot my best throw was 16.89m (55ft 4in) and in the hammer throw my best was 49.98m (163ft 11in) both during senior year.”
Those were his numbers in the throwing pit or circle, but the relationship he had with his teammates, coaches and even his post-event meal tells an even greater side of the once Pioneer.
“The memories I have of being on the Sacred Heart track and field team are beyond counting,” recalled Troiani. “We had so many good times together, that even the bus rides at 5 a.m. were a blast. The greatest part was knowing that I found my place on that team and it was where fate lead me.”
Highly respected by his teammates and coaches, Marc became a leader at a successful Division 1 program.
“When I transferred to SHU my freshman year I felt so out of place that I almost left,” recalled Troiani on an early decision. “But instead I came back, and that was the right decision.”
Marc was the one keeping the team loose, whether it is practical jokes or picking someone up when they were down. That’s the record his teammates who are still his friends today, see in him daily.
Meanwhile on the bus ride home from track meets, he had a unique craving for a certain type of food he had to have.
“For some reason after every meet I had a taste for Chinese food,” said Troiani. “Being that we would usually stop at malls and things like that for dinner, it was usually where you would get the most food for the least amount of money. Other than that, myself and the other throwers would eat just about anything.”
One of the lessons he carries with him to this day is being patient and waiting for the opportunity to come.
“As a student athlete, I learned that even when times are hard, you have to suck it up and keep going,” said Troiani. “There were several times when I had a personal issue, schoolwork, or something else bothering me, but I had to block it out and focus on what I needed to do in the circle.”
After graduating in 2013, Marc currently works as a member of the events team at 107.1 The Peak radio in White Plains, New York, and on occasion, he still competes.
This story is about never giving up, being patient, and finding who you are and where you’re meant to be.
Marc became successful on the field because of his focus when the job needed to be done, and became a good teammate because of his outstanding character all the time.