Roehler, Hecht lead “best javelin clinic ever” with NSAF
There’s nothing like having Olympic gold medalists and world-record setters leading your javelin and triple jump clinics – and that’s the bounty the NSAF and several dozen student-athletes had this past weekend in Phoenix.
Project Javelin Gold’s special guest coaches – 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Thomas Röhler and 3-time Olympian Raymond Hecht – came all the way from Germany and generated such dynamic energy during the 4-day event that Project head coach Tom Pukstys called it the “greatest javelin clinic ever,” and who could argue? Given the quality of the Project over the past 7 years, the bar is high for “best-ever” – but with more than 50 participants from across the USA (and Canada!) returning the energy of the coaches with their receptiveness, effort and performance, it was no wonder that Röhler and Hecht proclaimed their desire to return to the USA for future Project clinics.
Meanwhile, Project Triple Jump athletes have trained with and learned from coaches Willie Banks and Kenny Harrison before. But never before have the 1985 World-Record setter and 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist (and record-holder) been available TOGETHER for an entire weekend clinic for the Project. Yes, there was the memorable afternoon in Chula Vista last January with the duo (and long-jump record-holder Michael Powell), but this was four days with these two legends for an intimate group of Project athletes and some dedicated newcomers. This very young group – no seniors! – soaked in the packed weekend of classroom and track sessions as they prepare for an indoor season that, for many, is close at hand.
All of those attending the “Joint Clinic” were recipients of the hospitality of shot put legend John Godina, who founded the coaching/training company ALTIS – an NSAF partner. For throwing and jumping workouts, the layout at Paradise Valley Community College proved an outstanding venue, while the ALTIS partnership with EXOS afforded access to a state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor training facility. On top of all that, the November desert weather was perfect, with clear, blue days in the upper 70s and cool nights in the 50s.
The Project Javelin clinic featured throwing sessions each day with the German Olympians – as well as the deep, 4-strong NSAF staff (Pukstys, Duncan Atwood, Barry Krammes and Kim Hamilton) – providing valuable feedback. There were also two epic circuit-training sessions at EXOS – one super intense and the other more fun and relaxed – a classroom session led by Röhler, a film session and an ask-me-anything-type Q&A for the clinicians with Hecht and Röhler. That Saturday night session also featured a raffle of elite-level javelins by Nordic Sport, which was represented by vice-president Dennis Österberg – who traveled to Phoenix from Sweden.
Adding to the super-elite vibe around the clinic was the presence of top collegiate coaches, some collegiate and post-collegiate throwers and even unexpected drop-ins by the likes of decathlon legend Dan O’Brien!
The Project Triple Jump side of the clinic included jump and other runway sessions at the track, plus a variety of drill sessions both there and at EXOS. There was a little more emphasis on classroom sessions, with NSAF Head Coach Peter Pratt and Project Coordinator Macka Jones teaching along with Coaches Harrison and Banks. Another highlight was a joint clinic session with NSAF Sports Psychologist Dr. Margaret Ottley, designed for all attendees of both Projects.
The triple jumpers, however, also met two additional times on a deeper, more individual level with Dr. Ottley, and the smaller size of the TJ clinic also afforded individual sessions for the athletes with the coaches to study film, set goals and provide additional feedback.
Stay tuned to nationalscholastic.org and our social media for updates on the third and final Project clinics of the 2018-19 season, as well as additional events!
GAXC Festival and HBCU Challenge: Wet… but fast
More than 3,000 athletes who contested the 2018 Great American XC Festival and Cedric Walker HBCU Challenge last month were greeted on race day by light-to-moderate rain that lasted on and off all day long. But that turned out to be a good thing, when it came to providing faster racing conditions.
The scorching heat from the previous day was gone and, with the rain accompanied by little or no wind, some of the fastest times in meet history were posted at WakeMed Soccer Park. Sixty-eight boys ran 16:00 or faster during the day’s races, while 49 girls broke 19:00.
- Boys Nike Race of Champions: US#1 Loudoun Valley HS (VA) defended its title, despite missing potential top runner Sam Affolder due to injury. The Vikings scored 64 points, ahead of The Bolles School (FL) at 108 and Bishop Hendricken (RI) at 123. Carter Cheeseman (Fort Worth Christian, TX) outkicked Camren Fischer (Fayetteville, AR) for the individual title, 14:50.7 to 14:50.9.
- Girls Nike Race of Champions: Lawton Chiles HS (FL) broke the 3-year reign of Blacksburg (VA) to capture the team title with 127 points, followed by Saratoga Springs (NY) with 154 and Marietta (GA) with 189. Individually, Saratoga senior Kelsey Chmiel defended her 2017 title with a 16:43.8, the #2 time in meet history and 45 seconds ahead of Carmen Alder (Pinecrest, FL).
- HBCU Men: Morehouse College senior Trey Simons won his 3rd straight individual title with a 24:57.4, leading his team to its first team crown in the event. The Maroon Tigers scored 45 points, just ahead of 4-time defending champion North Carolina A&T State (50).
- HBCU Women: With 4-time team champ Hampton U. not returning in ’18, North Carolina A&T State rolled to its 1st title with 26 points, 57 ahead of Fayetteville State. The Aggies were led by individual champ G’Jasmyne Butler, who ran 18:52.2.
- Open Collegiate Men and Women: The Open Collegiate division was revived this year and run co-currently with the HBCU Challenge. Duke (16 points) and the Blue Devils’ Dalton Randall (25:09.7) were victorious for the men, while Florida Atlantic swept the team (17 points) and individual (Mikaela Jonsson, 18:48.3) crowns, as well.
Nor did the rain dampen the festivities that make GAXC a “Festival!” There were fun activities to keep teams and their families entertained all day long at WakeMed. In addition, Nike provided an awesome apparel tent that sold out of almost everything, as well as a special booth where athletes and fans could meet and get autographs from Nike superstar distance runner Shelby Houlihan.
The NSAF thanks its Title Sponsor – Nike – as well as its Official Sports Fuel Provider, Gatorade, for all of their support. We were also glad to have our partner ElliptiGO on hand for GAXC for the first time, along with our new partners from Camp Gladiator! We’re very thankful for all of the other generous supporters for whom our races have been named: The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, the Town of Cary, Primo Water, Roll Recovery and the Bone and Joint Surgery Clinic.
Registration is now open for 2019 NBNI!
The indoor track and field season is almost at hand and registration has opened for the 2019 New Balance Nationals Indoor. It will be the 21st indoor nationals since the NSAF started its own meet in 1999 and the 9th with our partners from New Balance.
We typically host more than 3,500 of the country's best track and field student-athletes from 40+ states and Canadian provinces, all of them looking to run, hurdle, jump, throw and walk their way to titles and All-American honors in 48 boys' and girls' Championship events -- plus 40 more Emerging Elite and Freshman events. We added the Mixed 4x400m Relay last year and are excited to do so again in 2019.
At last year’s NBNI, four National Records, 16 Meet Records, 11 National Class Records and seven Armory Records were established in the Championship, Emerging Elite, Freshman, Junior High and Mixed categories!
Get ready for the National HS T&F Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Who will be inducted with the Class of 2019 for The National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame? That question will be answered in January and those inductees, along with all fans of the sport, can look forward to the Hall of Fame’s 2nd induction ceremony in New York on Thursday, March 7, 2019 – again, on the eve of the New Balance Nationals Indoor.
The inaugural 2018 Hall of Fame class included current and recent superstars Allyson Felix and Alan Webb, baby-boomer era barrier breakers Jim Ryun, Michael Carter, Mary Decker, Renaldo Nehemiah, Kim Gallagher, Steve Prefontaine and Gerry Lindgren, and legends of the past Jesse Owens, Betty Robinson and Bob Mathias. You can see profiles on all 30 inductees at nationalhighschooltrackandfieldhof.org.
2018-19 National Signing Period begins
The signing period for high school track and field athletes to sign their national letters of intent began yesterday, Tuesday, November 14, and will continue through next July. Many top athletes with NSAF affiliations – Team NSAF from our Caribbean and Iron Wood meets, Project Javelin and Triple Jump, and NBN Indoor and Outdoor champions and All Americans – have made their choices and are signing this week. Others will be doing so in the weeks and months ahead.