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Nathan Bultman driven by distance

West Ranch junior thrower has high hopes for himself

Posted: April 5, 2014 10:29 p.m.
Updated: April 5, 2014 10:29 p.m.

West Ranch junior thrower Nathan Bultman owns the school record in shot put with a distance of 61 feet, 6 inches accomplished at the Redondo Union Invite in March.

It’s hard for Nathan Bultman to describe where he gets his inspiration.

There are a lot of reasons why the West Ranch High junior gets out of bed early in the morning and stays out until the late evening working on his craft.

A lot is going through his mind as he meticulously perfects his technique and grinds through one weightlifting session after another.

The shot put and discus thrower is as big and strong as he’s ever been and he’s the Santa Clarita Valley’s best current high school thrower.

But the 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pounder is still far from where he wants to be.

“This year I’m definitely hoping to get to CIF (finals),” says Bultman, who turns 17 years old today. “I’m hoping to actually get top three in CIF this year for shot put.”

Already, Bultman has reached 61 feet, 6 inches in the shot at the Redondo Union Invite in March. That mark broke a school record that was set by his older brother, Nick, in 2012.

Nathan recorded a throw of 160 feet, 7.5 inches in the discus toss on March 27 in a Foothill League meet against Canyon. That number is near a school record, also held by Nick, who is now a thrower at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Is there a pattern emerging here?

“For Nathan it’s been on a more personal level trying to catch up to what his brother ever did,” says David Bultman, the father of the two athletes and the throws coach at West Ranch High.

When Nick was a senior at West Ranch in 2012, he reached the CIF State Track and Field Championships in the shot put and finished eighth.

Nathan wants to finish higher.

When David was in high school, he won a CIF state titles in both the shot and disc while at Royal High School and earned a scholarship to throw at UCLA.

Nathan wants to throw farther.

“I really want to get that full-ride scholarship so my dad won’t have to pay any money for college and I can just show him that I really am that good,” Nathan says.

Says David: “I want him to beat my marks because it helps him for college.”

Nathan understands that his goals aren’t going to be reached overnight.

He started throwing at age 10 for the Santa Clarita Valley Warriors track and field program. He’s been winning competitions in the shot put, disc and hammer throw (not a high school event in California) since then.

As a sophomore last year, Nathan began his varsity throwing career and immediately started putting up impressive numbers, winning the Foothill League title in both shot and disc.

But due to a minor back injury at the time, he didn’t advance beyond the CIF-Southern Section prelims in either event.

Tack that on as another source of motivation.

“A lot of it is really the personality type to be able to stick with it and get good. ... He’s got such a good level of patience and such a long term vision,” David says of his son.

By the end of this season, Nathan’s goal is to reach the high 60s in shot put and he hopes to break the 70-foot barrier by the time he’s finished with high school.

That would best his dad’s state championship mark of 67 back in 1987.

It’s a constant chase for Nathan to try to catch up to his brother or his dad or the guy next to him in the weight room.

“He’s driven,” says West Ranch football head coach Jan Miller, who also coached Nathan. “He’s a focused athlete. He’s driven in school. He’s a very respectable kid. He’s a ‘yes, sir,’ ‘no, sir’ kid.”

Nathan played varsity football this past fall for the first time and brought the same type of work ethic and competitiveness to the field.

For him, it was just another reason to want to get bigger and better.

“People at my school motivate me,” Nathan says. “The big kids on the football team, the big kids and the seniors, they motivated me to be more like them.”

But Nathan doesn’t usually settle for being just as good. He wants to be better.


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