Athlete of the Week: Jon Pinto


Ashley Hawkins

Junior Jon Pinto is enjoying his first year of sports at La Salle, participating in football, javelin, and discus.

Seychelle Marks-Bienen, Staff Reporter

Junior Jon Pinto is a fairly new member of the sports community at La Salle, choosing to participate in both football and track for the first time this year. 

In the beginning, Pinto was hesitant — in fact, it wasn’t even his idea to start playing sports. 

“I kind of got roped into playing football from many of the people on the team,” he said. “And then [Coach] Rathmann really wanted me to do track, specifically, so then I started doing track.”

But despite being convinced to join both sports as a junior — a difficult task to jump into — it’s safe to say that he has found his place on each team, and has grown to appreciate different things about the sports he participates in. 

For Pinto, playing football was all about the team mentality, and the fall season provided him with an opportunity to develop new friendships and learn to work with others. “A lot of the people I’d never met before until playing the sport,” he said. “Having that sort of brotherhood, that friendship, through playing football was probably one of my favorite memories.” 

But now that it’s spring and track season has officially begun, Pinto is immersed in a completely different environment. 

Compared to football, Pinto describes track as more laid back, with more opportunities for downtime and socializing.  “We’re still there to play and participate, but we’re still having lots of fun,” he said. “It’s kind of different compared to football where you’re focusing directly on what you’re doing at that moment.”

Aside from socializing, Pinto is honing the skills of javelin and discus, neither of which are easy to learn as a first-timer. Javelin involves throwing a large metal pole — usually about two pounds — as far as possible, and discus involves throwing a metal disk of similar weight. The key difference between the two is that a discus is thrown standstill from a ring, and javelin requires a running start. 

At first, both javelin and discus were difficult to learn, but over time Pinto was able to get the hang of it. “Once you put in the work and once you actually learn how to do it and practice it enough, it comes pretty naturally,” he said.

Contrary to what people might believe, strength isn’t the key to success according to Pinto. “It’s really dependent on how your technique is … it’s all about your footwork and how your arms and your whole body are moving at once so that you’re explosive but also aren’t hurting yourself.” 

Javelin and discus aren’t the only new skills Pinto has picked up. Regardless of the rigor of the sport, the transition to becoming a student-athlete is quite an adjustment. Between schoolwork and a lack of free time in general, Pinto has had to adopt new habits in the fall and spring seasons, especially regarding time management. 

In the fall, football practice would run from 3-7 p.m. on school days, and track practices run from 3:30-5:30 p.m. “You have to learn to balance your school life,” Pinto said. 

Aside from time management, playing sports has allowed Pinto to strengthen the values of perseverance and hard work.

He plans on continuing both sports next year and has set high goals for himself, hoping to continue to set personal records in track and develop his strengths in football.

Pinto’s advice for future Falcon athletes is to put in maximum effort into everything they do. “Try as hard as you can and do your best to at least improve,” he said. “You might not be good at a sport, but we can at least respect you for trying.”