ShareThis Page

Dombrowski ready to make track transition at Duquesne

| Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

In early December, Matt Dombrowski was getting ready for finals at the end of his first semester at Robert Morris University.

The 2013 Plum graduate also was preparing for his first indoor track and field season with the Colonials men's squad and also had his sights set to spring and his initial outdoor campaign.

But things quickly took a turn when the RMU athletic department announced the elimination of seven varsity sports in efforts to streamline the department through financial efficiency.

Dombrowski was left with decisions to make about his athletic and academic future.

Fast forward six months, and Dombrowski is set to begin a new journey, as he decided transfer and will now continue his academic and athletic pursuits at Duquesne University.

“I am going into a very good situation at Duquesne,” Dombrowski said.

“I will have a chance to do well early and have a chance to earn scholarship money after my first year. I looked at academics first, and Duquesne is one of the best schools in the area. I didn't want an academic drop off.”

Dombrowski decided to take a redshirt for the recent indoor and outdoor seasons, and he still will have four years of collegiate eligibility. He will be a sophomore academically.

He said it's a bittersweet feeling leaving Robert Morris, as he will miss the friendships and overall comfort developed during his one year at the Moon Township school.

But, he said, the opportunity at Duquesne is took good to pass up.

Of the more than a dozen men's track and field team members with college eligibility left, half, Dombrowski said, will remain at Robert Morris while the rest will transfer.

“I wanted to still compete, and I had to do what's best for me,” Dombrowski said. “Duquesne is a solid Atlantic 10 program.”

While he wasn't able to compete, he got acclimated to the heavier collegiate shot put and discus. He also got up to speed on an event unfamiliar to him — the hammer throw contested in outdoor meets and the weight throw used in indoor meets.

The hammer consists of a ball attached to the end of a chain, and the athlete grips a handle on the opposite end. Body rotations in a circular motion build up velocity in a throwing circle until the implement is set to be released.

The weight throw is similar to the hammer but doesn't travel as far and is used for safety in indoor meets.

“It's a different animal than anything I've done before,” Dombrowski said.

“It was a little intimidating at first.”

The collegiate shot put is 16 pounds compared to 12 for high school, and Dombrowski went from a high school-best throw of 51 feet, 3.5 inches at last year's WPIAL championships to the low 30s with the heavier weight.

He now is averaging 37 to 38 feet in the shot with a goal of the low 40s by the end of the summer.

Dombrowski capped his high school career with a fourth-place finish in the shot at WPIALs and a trip to states.

Although he didn't compete this season, he did follow and support those he got to know well, including redshirt senior Steve Mitchell, a Pittsburgh Central Catholic graduate who earned Northeast Conference academic and athletic honors this season.

Mitchell finished second in the shot (53-11) and third in the hammer (166-2) at the NEC Outdoor Championships.

“Steve is a great guy and an amazing thrower,” Dombrowski said. “He had a big impact on me. He helped me change my high school mentality in terms of my approach to throwing into more of a collegiate mentality.”

Dombrowski hopes to make an impact with Duquesne. Only one other member of the Duquesne men's track and field team — Hempfield graduate Lucas Sphon — does the same throwing events.

“Hopefully, I will have success early,” Dombrowski said. “It's a new start for me. It's exciting.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.