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Latrobe grad Krivoniak excelling for Robert Morris volleyball, track teams, in classroom

| Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 10:09 p.m.

Robert Morris freshman April Krivoniak has a lot on her mind with track practice, volleyball workouts and maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average as a biomedical engineering major.

One thing that's not a concern?

“I definitely never have to worry about being bored,” said Krivoniak, a Latrobe graduate. “I wouldn't have it any other way. This is what I've been doing my whole life.”

It's not unheard of for athletes to compete in two Division I sports, but what makes the 5-foot-10 Krivoniak unique is that her track event is the shot put.

“She doesn't look like a shot putter,” Robert Morris volleyball coach Dale Starr said of Krivoniak, who started 27 matches in the fall and was second on the team with 229 kills. “She can jump touch almost 10 feet.

“She's such a great athlete and so physically strong that she's able to translate that over to her success in both sports.”

Krivoniak is on a volleyball scholarship, so her track commitments come second. She didn't start working out with the indoor track team until mid-November, but she quickly has regained the form that helped her win the WPIAL shot put title last spring.

In her second collegiate meet, Krivoniak recorded the third-best mark in indoor program history with a throw of 44 feet, 6 34 inches in the Penn State Relays on Jan. 11. The throw also qualified her for the ECAC championships.

“I definitely surprised myself,” Krivoniak said. “My form felt perfect on the last (throw), and my release felt perfect. I knew it was going to a good one.”

It might not seem volleyball and shot put have much in common, but coaches from both sports see similarities.

“Hitting a volleyball is a similar biomechanical movement as delivering a throw,” said Colonials track and field assistant Nash Oven, who oversees the throwers. “You've got to rotate those hips and shoulders.”

Said Starr: “Volleyball and throwing a shot put involve explosive movements. They involve a lot of the same muscle groups. You're utilizing your lower body and your core. It's really about leverage and torque.”

Krivoniak's success in both sports also requires coordination between the coaches. Oven said he plans Krivoniak's workouts around the volleyball team's offseason program.

“We have to be part scientists to make sure we're not overdoing it, that we're giving her enough rest between sports,” said Oven, who gives Krivoniak extra time off since she competes in only one event.

Starr said he figures Krivoniak will improve significantly in both sports as she gets specific training and takes advantage of Robert Morris' weightlifting facilities.

So far, so good.

“The fact that she's able to be as successful as she is in two sports and carry a 4.0 average is utterly amazing,” Starr said.

“She may go down as one of the best athletes to ever come through Robert Morris. She very well could be a two-sport all-conference kid.”

Jeff Vella is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jvella@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JeffVella_Trib.

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