Two-time Olympian Tom Pukstys coaching, hosting
elite javelin throwers for clinic at Hoover HS
HOOVER, Ala. – Two-time Olympian Tom Pukstys – the former U.S.-record holder who is one of America’s greatest-ever javelin throwers – has worked a lot of clinics around the country and the world as a coach. But this one, in his new Alabama home, will be a little different and perhaps a little more special.
Since starting to coach with the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation’s Project Javelin Gold six years ago, Pukstys has mentored the Project’s athletes at clinics from Pennsylvania to Phoenix and in Germany and Finland. But since he and his family moved in 2018 to Hoover, outside Birmingham, he hadn’t yet had a chance to do so almost literally in his own backyard. Now, thanks to availability of the Hoover High School facilities, the opportunity arrives this coming weekend, November 14-17.
The clinic – which begins Thursday evening of that weekend and concludes Sunday morning – is open to any interested athletes and coaches. It will involve training sessions and classroom instruction. The registration link is HERE (https:/www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/meet/385686/register) and information link HERE (https:/www.nationalscholastic.org/clinics/javclinic).
The Project Javelin Gold debut in Alabama is exciting for several reasons. This is one of about 20 states in the U.S. for which the javelin is a state-association, state meet event – creating an opportunity for many elite prep throwers to attend an NSAF clinic close to home for the first time. Leading the clinic with Coach Pukstys will be NSAF staff coaches Barry Krammes and Kim Hamilton – both past Olympic Trials finalists – and elite coach Rob Woosley.
Photo at right: Coach Pukstys (4th from left) with NSAF Project Javelin throwers during their first training trip to Germany in summer of 2018.
Eight elite prep javelin from around the country are selected to train with the Project each year, with the 2019-20 group including six New Balance All-Americans from 2018 and/or 2019. Sam Hankins (Manhattan, KS sr) and Kaitlyn Fairchild (Andale, KS jr) were both NBNO runner-ups last June and Hankins had the longest throw by a prep for the season.
Also, Pukstys has been establishing an elite training group there for post-collegians and pros – all aspiring to make the Olympic team and achieve other high-level goals. Post-collegians Maggie Malone, Sam Hardin, Avione Allgood, Ethan Shalaway and Rebekah Wales are now part of this USA Javelin Project group, staying and training here, and 2016 Olympic Trials runner-up Curtis Thompson and Katie Reichart are coming in from out of state.
Finally, having Hoover High School and its facilities on which to train is another great benefit. Hoover, under the long-time leadership of Devon Hind, is one of the nation’s elite track and field programs and Hind was the NSAF’s Mike Byrnes Coach of the Year back in 2013.
Pukstys, originally from Illinois, was 10th in the 1992 Olympic javelin final and 8th in 1996. He was a 6-time national champ and represented Team USA in six IAAF World Championships, including placing 9th in 1993. In 1997, he set the American record with 285-10 – which still ranks #3 all-time among U.S. throwers. Pukstys also won the silver medal in the 1998 Goodwill Games. Now he has been the USATF National Javelin Coordinator since 2005 in addition to working with the NSAF.
About the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation
The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) was founded in 1990. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 c (3) organization with the mission of opening doors to the world for our youth, through athletics, and providing them opportunities to succeed. That includes supporting high school and junior-aged track and field athletes in the US through national high school competitions, including the New Balance Indoor and Outdoor Nationals; clinics and event-specific special projects; vigorous grant programs, which enable high school athletes to compete around the country, at USATF Junior Nationals, and internationally; and with program development grants, which are awarded in the winter and fall each year. The NSAF provides approximately $250,000 in grants annually. For information about how to get involved with NSAF, please visit nationalscholastic.org.
About Project Javelin Gold
Project Javelin Gold was launched in the Fall of 2011 with the ongoing goal of identifying emerging elite youth and junior javelin talent and providing them with the best technical and training methods available. As a “podium project,” the ultimate goal is to maximize athletes’ development to become international level jumpers in order represent the United States in Olympic/World Championship events. For more information, please visit https://www.nationalscholastic.org/clinics/javclinic