WESTVILLE — Dalton Rolinitis welcomes the downtime. It’s why the Westville senior’s first year of post-high school learning — for starters — at nearby Danville Area Community College will not see him involved in any athletics.
“It’s going to be a lot of change, but I feel like I almost need this break,” Rolinitis said, “because of how much stress I’ve put my body through the last four years.”
Being a four-sport competitor — in football, basketball, baseball and pole vault — will rack up some aches and pains.
But Rolinitis was willing to grin and bear it through his last prep baseball and pole vault campaigns. Just to have one last ride in Tigers gear.
“It kind of isn’t fair,” Rolinitis said of IHSA spring sports state series being canceled last month amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “All the seniors, we’ve been working for this ... and we can’t play anymore.”
It’s not a position Rolinitis is accustomed to being in.
Knowing that his dad, mom and uncle were heavily involved in athletics when they were younger while also watching his two sisters stay busy in the same way, Rolinitis was destined to have his name called in a variety of venues during Westville competitions.
“They just taught me how to use my athletic ability,” Rolinitis said. “My dad’s coached me through everything. He taught me how to use my strengths and weaknesses to better myself.”
Tigers baseball coach Joe Brazas knows all about the Rolinitis family’s athletic genes. Brazas played high school football with Rolinitis’ uncle, Steve.
And Brazas has witnessed Rolinitis’ abilities firsthand.
As Westville’s interim boys’ basketball coach during the 2019-青鹏棋牌 season, Brazas inserted Rolinitis at point guard simply because Brazas needed him there. Even though Rolinitis, according to Brazas, was probably a better fit for shooting guard.
“I can’t say enough about him as far as he was going to be beaten up sometimes against defenses,” Brazas said, “and I never heard a (negative) thing from him.”
In baseball, Rolinitis’ speed sends him to the leadoff spot of the batting order and plants him in center field. But Brazas also can use Rolinitis as a pitcher, catcher or infielder.
“They always say if you’re going to recruit somebody, it’s up the middle,” Brazas said, “just because you can make those players into whatever you need.”
Rolinitis has played baseball since he was 4 or 5 years old, and he was excited about how the Tigers looked on the diamond for 青鹏棋牌.
“We knew we were going to be a lot better than last year,” Rolinitis said. “We got a few more athletes that came out.”
What’s unique about Rolinitis’ baseball season is he’s always split it with pole vault workouts. He got his start in that sport during sixth grade, when dad D.L. Rolinitis and his son decided to build a vaulting pit in the family 青鹏棋牌’s back yard.
D.L. reached out to local schools for old mats and poles, with Westville not owning such materials. When Dalton was a sophomore, that brought the duo to the Champaign-based Pole Vault Junkies Club.
They arrived simply looking for cheaper poles. Instead, the younger Rolinitis wound up training there under his father.
“After (baseball) games and practices, I have to travel over there and do a double workout,” Dalton said. “After that, I’d get 青鹏棋牌 around 11 and spend the next few hours doing 青鹏棋牌work until I passed out on the couch.”
Asked why he continued this process despite the stress, Rolinitis replies that he enjoys both sports too much.
On the vaulting side, Rolinitis qualified for the Class 1A state meet as a sophomore, clearing 12 feet but not making the finals. A shattered kneecap during his junior football season — which Rolinitis ultimately vaulted and played baseball through — kept him from reaching the state meet in 2019.
“I feel like this is the best, physically, I’ve felt in my life,” said Rolinitis, now fully recovered. “I’ve been improving constantly throughout practices and felt very confident (I could return to state).”
With that off the table, now is the time for Rolinitis’ break. But he won’t forget his time with the Tigers.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “Everyone knows me here, and I’m just proud to wear Westville on my name.”