by TAYLOR BRETHAUER & STEPHEN ZUBRYCKY, Editor in Chief & Managing Editor
A senior kinesiology major from Slovenia, Irenej “Ire” Bozovicar has a lot on his plate. From being a model student-athlete on the track and field team to balancing the job of resident assistant, he is a recognizable force to be reckoned with both on the field and off. Bozovicar was recently named MAAC Field Performer of the Week at the beginning of April after recently hitting a personal best in shot put with a distance of 54.18 meters. Bozovicar sat down with The Quadrangle and talked about what he expects out of his last few weeks as a Jasper.
The Quadrangle: How did you get into track and field?
Irenej Bozovicar: I was actually playing volleyball for the majority of my life, or, I think, maybe eight years before. Then I kind of quit volleyball and discovered there’s an option to get a scholarship in America, so one of my friends did it and he went to Virginia Tech, and I was like, ‘Oh damn, that’s a really good thing, so I guess I can try to be good in track and field as well and eventually get a scholarship.’ I started throwing discus, maybe I did for like two and a half years, or maybe one and a half years, and then I came here.
TQ: What made you decide to come to MC?
IB: Definitely New York City. Also, Coach [Dan] Mecca. He had really good athletes in the past, so, it was kind of a given, and I […] really wanted to go to America and it was the first offer that I got, like, one of the first offers, so I just jumped on it straight away. Didn’t even think.
TQ: How has your education the past four years helped your athletic career?
IB: Well, since I’m exercise science, that really helped me, especially injury prevention, and stuff like that. What kind of exercises to do, […] my freshman year, we didn’t have a strength coach, so the gym was actually in this little area of Draddy, and sometimes I have to figure out what I’m going to do by myself. A majority of the times, also with coach’s help and that really helped me in that regard.
TQ: How have you balanced being an RA with being a successful student-athlete?
IB: Sometimes it’s really hard because, you know, RA schedules. Sometimes you can be on duty like four times a week, five times a week, especially if there is weekend duty and you have an incident. You didn’t get enough sleep, just like I did yesterday. But, sometimes it’s relaxing. But it’s honestly not as bad as I thought it would be. It’s definitely doable.
TQ: You’ve been having a great season so far. Describe that feeling of hitting your personal best.
IB: So, I hit my personal best in South Carolina, and that throw was kind of really aggressive, and after that throw, I was previously up for regionals. The regionals is like the Top 48 go to another meet after. So I was happy with that, but after that meet […] I looked at the video… I felt good.
TQ: What is your mentality when going in an event? How do you prepare?
IB: I used to have this whole ritual… cold shower, whatever music, going from really aggressive music to more, like, smooth music, like when the actual competition starts. That’s just because for discus especially, you don’t want to be tight. Like, for shotput, you kind of want to be more aggressive. But, as it comes to discus you want to be loose. Lately, honestly, I feel like, I don’t know why, I feel like I don’t need that. So I didn’t do it, and it kind of worked, so I guess I stopped doing that. But yeah, the day before, I always eat a lot of food.
TQ: How does it impact your teammates when you perform this well in the season? Does it inspire them?
IB: Yeah, definitely, word goes around. I like that about Go Jaspers and Manhattan College, that it’s not a huge achievement if you look at international levels, but it’s still not that bad and you get recognition for everything like that, so it motivates me a lot and I think it also motivates them in the same way.
TQ: And vice versa, how do you feel your team has impacted you as an athlete and a student?
IB: Yeah, definitely had some teammates that I’ve been living with since my freshman year. And just, mostly throwers that I live with. And, it’s just the lifestyle we all live. Also [going] to practice together. And we live together. […] We still discuss lifting. We follow a bunch of throwing Instagram accounts where we compare videos of throwing. […] It helped me a lot, especially [the] social kind of perspective. I made a lot of friends that way.
TQ: What else are you hoping to accomplish as the season ends and MAACs begin?
IB: Well, now that I qualify for regionals, the only next level is nationals, so to do that I would have to throw like 56 [meters] at regionals to make top 12 in the region [and] then top 24 in the whole nation go to nationals. So, it’s two meter increments still, which is not that bad. People [beat personal records] by like six meters in some meets, so I feel like if I just do what I do and let the time, or, the clock tick, or whatever, I’m going to hit a big one. I feel like this is nowhere near where I can be.
TQ: After four years at MC, what does it mean to you to be a Jasper?
[I] didn’t really know from the beginning what that means. But it’s just that loyalty to your teammates. Just going to practice, every practice, go full hard, do everything you can do. Bleed green.