Monmouth to Virginia to Chicago to Greece for All-American singer Caleb Toberman

Monmouth, Ill. (03/28/2024) — Caleb Toberman navigated a potential travel snafu to have one of the more memorable spring breaks for a Monmouth College student.

The senior from Clifton, Illinois, earned second team All-American honors in the weight throw at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 8 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, then managed to fly back to Chicago in time to join the Monmouth Chorale as it departed March 9 for an eight-day performance tour of Greece.

"It was definitely hectic," said Toberman, who up until the first weekend in March was also a candidate to qualify for nationals in the shot put. Had he done so, he would've had to catch a different flight to Greece and catch up with the rest of the Monmouth group later.

But as it turned out, he even had a little down time at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on March 9, waiting a few hours for the Monmouth group to arrive after his own flight from Norfolk, Virginia, touched down at 8 a.m.

"It was a little bit of a rough night," said Toberman of his final hours in Virginia. "I only got about four hours of sleep. We had to leave our hotel in Virginia Beach by 4:30 a.m. to catch our 6 a.m. flight."

Fortunately, a groggy Toberman didn't have to keep track of too many travel details.

"I didn't have to worry about the logistics," he said. "Coach (Brian) Woodard and Professor (Tim) Pahel handled all that. It was nice to not have that responsibility on my hands. But if I'd made the shot put final, that would've screwed everything up. Thankfully and unthankfully, I didn't make it."

Toberman fell just a little shy of reaching nationals in the shot put, despite a career-best mark of 51 feet at a last chance qualifier. In the weight throw, his best mark in Virginia was 59 feet, good for 15th place. His teammate, junior Shane Anderson of Lisle, Illinois, finished 19th.

An All-American in Olympia

Toberman has been a successful athlete throughout his high school and college years, and the same can be said for his singing. Freshmen weren't allowed in the auditioned choir at Clifton Central High School - about 10 miles south of Kankakee - but Toberman sang bass baritone for the group his final three years, and this is his fourth year with the Monmouth Chorale.

"It was a lot of fun," said Toberman of the international trip, which Pahel organizes every four years so that all Chorale members get the experience during their Monmouth careers. "I enjoyed getting to know a lot more about the history in Greece, and seeing that all play out."

One of the stops was of particular interest, as the track and field standout set foot at Olympia, home of the first Olympics 2,800 years ago.

"That was an exciting place to go," said Toberman, who took a class on the ancient Greek language his freshman year. "They even had a miniature recreation of the old Olympic stadium. It was a lot of fun to see what it would've been like."

Although the Chorale's three public performances were strong, Toberman also enjoyed being an audience member for a concert presented by students at the Athens Music School.

"It was like high school is for us," he said of the school. "The oldest singers were about 18. It was a different style of music from what I normally hear, but it was so good. That was one of my favorite parts of the trip."

His Monmouth decision

When he was around 18, Toberman had to decide what his next step in education would be.

"When I was visiting all the universities, a lot of it seemed too big, even the Division III schools I visited," he said. "Monmouth was very similar to my high school, and only about double the size. I liked that everybody knew everybody."

Not a factor in his decision, but an interesting side note, is that Toberman's father's cousin is M Club Hall of Athlete Neil Alexander '76, the boys basketball coach and athletic director at Lincoln (Illinois) High School.

Due to losing his freshman year of track and field to COVID-19, Toberman plans to stay on an extra year at Monmouth, graduating in May 2025 with degrees in computer science and data science and a minor in mathematics.

Among the possible career paths he's considering are data analytics, especially as they pertain to sports, as well as being a software engineer or database manager.

Those are Toberman's career goals. He was asked what he'd like to accomplish in track and field before his career as a Fighting Scot is over.

"I just want to throw as far as I can and score as many points for the team at the Midwest Conference meet as possible," he said.

His next chance to do so will be May 10-11, when Illinois College hosts the MWC outdoor meet.

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