Preps, Pros/Elite set to compete side-by-side at Chicagoland Throws

by Steve Underwood

Photos of (from top) Haley Showalter, Michael Biddle, Kiana Phelps, Gia Lewis-Smallwood and Sean Furey from Vic Sailer,  Tom Pukstys photo by Steve Underwood.

Official Meet Entries | Detailed Prep Entries 
Last Year's Results | Site Home Page

Some will come to this weekend’s Chicagoland Throws as newly-crowned national champions, others as defending champs here from last year’s meet, and still others arrive as national list leaders with their respective implements.  But the two dozen prep throws standouts have these things in common:

  • Most were among the victors and other top finishers at last month’s New Balance Nationals Outdoor in either the boys’ or girls’ shot put, discus, hammer or javelin;
  • Many will be competing for the last time this season, at least with prep implements (except those going to JOs), and are eager for that final opportunity for a big mark or a big victory;
  • All will get a rare chance to enjoy the unique competitive structure of the Chicagoland Throws: Competing side-by-side with many of the best post-collegiate, professional and Olympic-level throwers in the country.

Considering the first point, the girls’ entries include NBNO hammer winner and US#1 Haley Showalter, also the defending prep champ here, and discus champ Kaylee Antill – who had that dramatic PR 169-3 on her last throw to prevail in Greensboro.  Sophia Rivera, the shot/javelin double winner from NBNO is missing only because she’s on the World Youth team bound for Colombia. 

The boys’ entries feature NBNO champs Adam Kelly (hammer), Michael Biddle (javelin) and Lucas Ribeiro (discus).  Kelly triumphed in Greensboro with a lifetime best and then-US#2 241-7 (he then hit 241-11 last weekend) and was also the runner-up here last year.  Biddle dominated the NBNO jav with the 4 longest throws of the competition, with his winning 212-2 just off his US#2 213-10, and Ribeiro was one of the meet’s biggest upset winner – getting a 14-foot PR out of the 1st of 3 flights on a day when

Other notable prep entries include:

  • Kiana Phelps, the NBNO discus runner-up who triumphed here at Chicagoland last year after getting 3rd in Greensboro.  She’s US#2 at 172-9 (after a 179-7 national leader in ’14) and won our CSI/Cuba meet last month as well.
  • Gabrielle Kearney, who was 3rd in the NBNO javelin, but who then delivered an extremely impressive US#5 162-8 to beat a great field at USATF Juniors.  She was 2nd here last year.
  • NSAF Project Javelin throwers Emma Fitzgerald, Grayson Hill and Morgan Bower; Fitzgerald was 5th at NBNO, but then like Kearney, threw significantly better at Juniors with a 157-0 topping a great series for 3rd place (just 3” away from 2nd); Hill had an early-season PR of 200-3 and a strong showing at NBNO with 193-6 in 4th; Bower is a brand-new member of the program with great potential, who will get a chance to show what she’s learned at the recent NSAF Chula Vista training camp.
  • Eric Favors, who hit a PR and US#5 66-7 shot put for 3rd at NBNO after taking 2nd at NBNI (64-3).  He was 3rd here last year.
  • Jordan Geist, the super soph who won the Penn Relays shot at 67-1.25 and then hit a US#3 69-1 in May.  He was 4th at both NBNI and NBNO.
  • And then there’s Elena Buckner and twins Carlos and Khalil Davis – three of the nation’s best discus throwers and/or shot putters who did not compete at NBNO but were invited here.  Carlos Davis is defending prep discus champ here and has been US#1 the past two seasons, with a 214-5 best and Great Southwest Classic title in 2015.  Khalil stands at US#2 205-8 and is the best putter of the twins at 63-2.5.  Both are Nebraska football signees and this is their only post-season meet besides GSW.  Bruckner was unbeaten in the shot in California at US#2 53-5.5 and while not as consistent in the discus had a nation-leading breakout throw in May of 182-8 – and this is her ONLY post-season meet.

Regarding the final point, consider some of the elites that meet founder Tom Pukstys and the USATF have brought in for the meet:

  • USATF women’s discus champ and national record-holder (226-11) Gia Lewis-Smallwood, who three-peated in Eugene two weeks ago, is a 2012 Olympian, and was 5th at the 2013 World Champs.
  • USATF men’s Javelin champ Sean Furey, a 2012 Olympian with a US#2 272-7 PR this year and who is defending champ here.  In fact, the 1-2-4 finishers from USAs – Furey, Riley Dolezal (266-10 PR) and Tim Glover (US-leading 275-10) – are all here.
  • USATF men’s discus #2-3 finishers Russ Winger (211-1) and Andrew Evans (208-10).  Winger, who threw here last year, has a 216-8 PR (2011) and Evans’ best is 217-9 (’14).
  • Shot putter Brittany Smith, who was just 5th at USATF but whose 62-4.5 indoor mark is #2 overall in the U.S. on the combined in/out list for the year.
  • Javelin thrower Ariana Ince, US#3 this year at 196-10 – good for #7 all-time U.S. – and was 5th at USATFs.
  • Former NSAF national meet shot put champs Tori Bliss (2010 & 2011 NBNO) and Becky O’Brien (2008 outdoor, plus 2 runner-up finishes and 4th in 2007 World Youths).
  • NCAA shot put runner-up Darrell Hill, who was also 6th at USATFs, and Stephen Saenz – who was our national indoor champ and outdoor runner-up in the shot as a prep in 2009.
  • And the amazing Stephanie Brown Trafton, the 2008 Olympic champ and Jesse Owens Award winner, and 3-time Olympian, who previously held the American record at 222-3 and was 5th at USATFs last month at age 35.

Coach Tom Pukstys, a 2-time Olympian, elite coach and USATF Development Committee chair, started the Chicagoland Throwers Series in 2011, then a partnership was created with the NSAF in 2013 to allow preps to compete alongside the elites.  Among many who praised the unique format was Aretha Thurmond, the 4-time Olympian in the discus who has served as Associate Director of International Teams for USATF.  “I love the concept and the idea of having throws-only competitions,” she said last year.  “Adding in the high school athletes was genius!  All of us throwing together and having some real time mentoring is great.  The messages I got from the athletes post-event about how I inspired them, really inspired me … I really want to see this event grow and thank USATF, Tom and NSAF for all their hard work.”




Chicagoland Throws prep entries (listed by outdoor season’s best)

Name, School (hometown), Class, rank (if top 10)/top mark, NBNO finish

  • Elena Bruckner, Valley Christian HS (San Jose, CA), Jr, US#2 53-5.5, no NBNO
  • Kathleen Young, Warrensburg-Latham HS (Decatur, IL), So, US#4 50-10, 6th NBNO
  • Alyssa Wilson, Donovan Catholic HS (Jackson, NJ), So, US#5 49-7.75, 3rd NBNO
  • Khayla Dawson, Olympic HS (Charlotte, NC), 48-1, Jr, 4th NBNO

Name, School (hometown), Class, rank (if top 10)/top mark, NBNO finish

  • Elena Bruckner, Valley Christian HS (San Jose, CA), Jr, US#1 182-8, no NBNO
  • Kiana Phelps, Kingsley-Pierson HS (Kingsley, IA), Jr, US#2 172-9, 2nd NBNO
  • Kaylee Antill, Tri-Valley HS (Zanesville, OH), Sr, US#4 169-3, 1st NBNO

Name, School (hometown), Class, rank (if top 10)/top mark, NBNO finish

  • Gabrielle Kearney, Roseburg HS (Roseburg, OR), Sr, US#5 162-8, 3rd NBNO
  • Emma Fitzgerald, Thayer Acad. (Braintree, MA), Jr, US#8 159-5, 5th NBNO
  • Morgan Bower, Milleville HS (Millville, PA), So, 130-0, no NBNO

Name, School (hometown), Class, rank (if top 10)/top mark, NBNO finish

  • Haley Showalter, Valor Christian HS (Lakewood, CO), Sr, US#1 191-0, 1st NBNO
  • Courtney Jacobsen, Toll Gate HS (East Greenwich, RI), Jr, US#4 178-6, 4th NBNO
  • Kaylee Antill, Tri-Valley HS (Zanesville, OH), Sr, US#6 172-0, 7th NBNO

Name, School (hometown), Class, rank (if top 10)/top mark, NBNO finish
Jordan Geist, Khoch HS (Cabot, PA), So, US#3 69-1, 4th NBNO

  • Eric Favors, North Rockland HS, Sr, US#5 66-7, 3rd NBNO
  • Khalil Davis, Blue Springs HS (Blue Springs, MO), Sr, 63-2.5, no NBNO
  • Carlos Davis, Blue Springs HS (Blue Springs, MO), Sr, 60-5.25, no NBNO

Name, School (hometown), Class, rank (if top 10)/top mark, NBNO finish

  • Carlos Davis, Blue Springs HS (Blue Springs, MO), Sr, US#1 214-4, no NBNO
  • Khalil Davis, Blue Springs HS (Blue Springs, MO), Sr, US#2 205-8, no NBNO
  • Lucas Ribeiro, Belmont Hill HS (Belmont, MA), Sr, 187-7, 1st NBNO

Name, School (hometown), Class, rank (if top 10)/top mark, NBNO finish

  • Michael Biddle, Williamsburg HS (W’burg, PA), Sr, US#2 213-10, 1st NBNO
  • Michael Marsack, Stroudsburg HS (Stroudsburg, PA), Jr, 201-11, 2nd NBNO
  • Grayson Hill, Cathedral Prep (North East, PA), Jr, 200-3, 4th NBNO
  • Grant Jones, LaSalle (Conshohocken, PA), Sr, 199-11, 3rd NBNO

Name, School (hometown), Class, rank (if top 10)/top mark, NBNO finish

  • Adam Kelly, Barrington HS (Barrington, RI), Sr, US#2 241-11, 1st NBNO
  • Seth Whitener, North Paulding HS (Dallas, GA), Sr, US#5 218-8, 4th NBNO
  • Michael Alvernaz, Barrington HS (Barrington, RI), Sr, 198-3, 5th NBNO

Our Partners