Men’s Track and Field: Raimondi hammers out stellar career
Raimondi was named Carthage’s co-winner of the Simmons Award, given to the best four-year athlete from every sport. He was a two-time Academic All-American and graduated summa cum laude. | Photo courtesy of Carthage College
Updated: July 22, 2012 6:08AM
A photo of Greg Raimondi standing on the podium after the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships will always serve as a reminder of the obstacles he overcame to be among the best hammer throwers in the country.
In an event where larger athletes usually dominate, the 5-foot-8, 190-pound Raimondi placed third with a heave of 199 feet, 4 inches May 24-26 in Claremont, Calif.
“The guys that finished fifth and seventh were on lower steps on the podium, but were the same size as me,” Raimondi said. “Most of the guys are at least 6 feet and 215 pounds. It’s cool to see that technique can make a big difference and it’s not always the biggest guys doing well.”
The recent Carthage College graduate earned All-American status with his third-place performance and also set a school record with his throw.
Raimondi was seeded fifth entering the meet, but proceeded to earn the program’s best-ever finish in the event.
“After all four years and the time and effort I put in I was really happy,” said Raimondi, a 2008 Ridgewood High School graduate. “I had a couple teammates that went a couple years before me and took fifth and sixth. I was able to show them that I was able to step up to their game and do a little better, despite my size and height. It was very meaningful to me.”
Raimondi, who also shares the school record in the indoor 35-pound weight throw, placed 23rd at the national meet in the shot put.
Raimondi was a football and track standout at Ridgewood.
He earned All-Metro Suburban Conference honors in track and qualified for State in the discus his senior season, despite competing with a biceps tear. He was a two-time all-conference football player.
“I went to college to compete in shot put and discus and football,” Raimondi said. “The hammer is one of the events you just start training in. It was a new event to me because you can’t throw it in high school in the Midwest. I was pretty bad at it at first and was still a bigger fan of the discus, which was my best event my first two years. I just gradually progressed in the hammer and now it’s my favorite event.”
Raimondi considers his effort at the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Meet this season among the highlights of his athletic career.
He was named the meet’s Most Valuable Field Athlete for the second year in a row after winning the hammer, discus and shot put; believed to be the first time the feat was ever accomplished.
Raimondi was named Carthage’s co-winner of the Simmons Award, given to the best four-year athlete from every sport. He was a two-time Academic All-American and graduated summa cum laude.
Raimondi’s achievements didn’t come easy as his career was one of perseverance.
Raimondi was a defensive back on Carthage’s football team for two seasons, but decided to quit in order to focus on track. Sticking to a more rigid workout plan also played a role in his improvement.
“It just took patience,” said Raimondi, who had to endure three coaching changes in four years. “I had to wait for things to develop in all the throwing events. I gradually improved and had to let everything play out. Every year was about being patient. It was pretty difficult. It was really hard to be in the back of the pack my first two years and even into the beginning of my third year. I finally got to see some improvements being made and everything started playing out like I wanted it to.”
Raimondi plans on getting his master’s degree in education/exercise-sports science and hopes to coach at the collegiate level, but right now, is still coming to grips with his athletic career being over.
“It’s kind of upsetting,” Raimondi said. “I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m still going to student teach, but it’s different not going to the weight room, practicing or hanging out with my teammates. It’s a whole different experience. I’m trying to stay motivated to be active.”