The Whitworthian Male Athlete of the Year: Carter Comito

by Miranda Cloyd

As a thrower whose career had only just began his senior year at Mead High School, Carter Comito rapidly earned his way to record-breaking successes. Comito has been selected by The Whitworthian sports staff as The Whitworthian Male Athlete of the Year.

Comito, a senior, throws shot put and discus and has dominated the field in both events. He chose Whitworth because of an academic scholarship. He had not originally intended to participate in track and field, Comito said.

“The coaches told me that I had a lot of potential, but my technique was really bad when I first started,” Comito said. “There was a lot of room for improvement.”

Comito has taken the initiative to improve in giant strides, head coach Toby Schwarz said.

“You don’t get as big as he is, as strong as he is, as good as he is just by natural ability,” Schwarz said. “He’s put in a lot of time and effort in the weight room and that speaks to his work ethic.”

The improvement Comito has accomplished shows in his time at Whitworth. Comito has set new records in both discus and shot put and broken his own records as well.

“His only competition is himself, honestly,” Schwarz said. “When you become really good, what do you do now? That’s a good challenge; those are challenges you want to have as a coach.”

Comito holds the No. 1 spot in the Northwest Conference for shot put, with a throwing distance of 58-9 1/4, just over eight feet further than the second place competitor. His first place ranking in discus was secured as well when he won  with a distance of 203-5. The nearest competitor trailed Comito by nearly 50 feet.

“He’s one of the best in the world,” Schwarz said. “Past athletes have done great things to pave the way for Carter and he’s paving the way for future athletes. Carter keeps raising the bar and setting a new challenge.”

In national NCAA Division III rankings, Comito holds second place in shot put, with the No. 1 distance edging Comito by less than a foot. Comito ranks first in discus with a lead of nearly 20 feet.

Comito is hoping to take his third consecutive national championship title in the discus competition later this month, he said. In addition to his national rankings, Comito stands at 24th in the world for collegiate discus throwers, Schwarz said.

Comito’s personal accomplishments and his response to them have affected many people, Schwarz said. Teammates have been impressed by Comito’s ability to maintain humility and approachability through his incredible success, junior thrower Keegan Shea said.

“It puts a human side to those elite athletes,” Shea said. “We tend to idolize these people and put them on a pedestal. He is that elite athlete, but he’s Carter; that’s all we know him as.”

Comito’s personality within competition and outside of it makes him a leader worth following, sophomore runner Brianne Wright said.

“Obviously everyone is going to look up to him because he’s really talented,” Wright said. “That’s natural. But he also works really hard, he’s a nice guy, he’s really humble; that makes people look up to him even more.”

Aside from being well-known for his success, Comito is known by teammates of all events simply because he is friendly and down-to-earth, Wright said.

“Everyone does group off [with athletes of their own events], but Carter actively seeks hanging out with other team members,” Wright said. “He’s unique in the sense that he seems to branch out the most.”

As a team captain, Comito has been a leader among throwers and set an example for team bonding across the span of various event groups, Shea said.

“From the get-go, [Comito] was a leader within the throwing unit, but as we’ve gone along he’s really connected well with kids in other event groups,” Shea said. “He’s just a really personable guy and downright friendly. He’s made himself available to everyone on the team.”

Although Comito’s time at Whitworth is coming to a close, his name will be one which is recognized for decades to come, Shea said. Comito said he plans to continue throwing beyond college in order to make it to the Olympics.

“Ideally, I’d like to be at Rio De Janeiro in 2016,” Comito said. “I have three years and I definitely need to improve, so hopefully I can do that.”

His journey through the Whitworth athletic program has helped him to grow in many ways beyond those of physical accomplishment, Comito said.

“I’ve become a better thrower, but I’ve also definitely grown up a little bit,” Comito said. “The coaches have taught me about life, not just about sports. It’s definitely been a great experience, definitely four of the best years of my life. I’d like to say thank you to the team and the coaches; I couldn’t have done any of it without them.”

Comito’s legacy will stretch far beyond his short time at Whitworth, Schwarz said.

“I wish I could have him for ten more years,” Schwarz said. “We’re blessed to have Carter and Carter is blessed to have a university that supports him.”

Comito competed this past weekend at the Vandal Jamboree in Moscow, ID, contending with 56-4.75 and 192-07, respectively. Comito will throw at the NCAA Division III Championships on May 23-25 in Lacrosse, Wis.  The Pirate men are hoping to overcome the odds and win the national championship as a team.

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