Submitted by Kultan Keihas Project Javelin
Six of the top prep javelin throwers in the country, including the nation’s top three returning girls, will be in Chapel Hill this weekend for the first of the Kultan Keihas Project Javelin fall clinics. The clinic, running Thursday, October 17 to Sunday, October 20 – is the first of two held here (the other is planned for December 27-30) with sessions at the University of North Carolina track and field faculties and the “Field of Dreams” javelin facility operated by Klub Keihas Coach Jeff Gorski in Chapel Hill.
(Kultan Keihas means “Javelin Gold” in Finnish)
This is the beginning of the third year of the project, originated and produced by the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF). These clinics are open to all interested throwers and coaches, but for the six elite athletes, they’re part of a 9-month program that will culminate in a trip to the national training center in Finland next summer – a country which treats the event like a national pastime.
The Foundation, based in Chapel Hill, launched the project in the fall of 2011 after founder and Executive Director Jim Spier and COO Joy Kamani had observed that the javelin was one event where the U.S. was falling short in the Olympics and other international competitions, and aspired to start a program that would address the challenge.
The clinic coaching staff includes Gorski, a former USATF Javelin High Performance Chair and coach of many elite throwers and U.S. record holders; Bill Schmidt, the 1972 Olympic javelin bronze medalist who has worked with scores of national and international-level throwers; and Kari Ihalainen, who has served 15 years as the National Javelin Coach for Finland. Barry Krammes, an active two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, will also be on hand, training and advising athletes.
The elite athletes involved in the program include:
* Karen Bulger, Northwest Christian (Lacey, Wash.) senior – The unbeaten state Class 2B champ in Washington threw 161-5 as a junior, #4 in the country and best among non-seniors. In the summer, she was 2nd in World Youth Trials and won the USATF Youth title (17-18 women) with 148-6.
* Katelyn Gochenour, Marian (Omaha, Neb.) sophomore – The javelin is not a high school event in Nebraska, but in USATF competition, Gochenour threw 156-8 — #7 in the country, 2nd-best among non-seniors and #1 for all 9th-graders. She won two different divisions at the Pihtipudas Javelin Carnival in Finland last summer to earn MVP honors, but was 3rd in a showdown with Montgomery and Fitzgerald at the USATF Junior Olympics in Greensboro.
* Tairyn Montgomery, Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.) sophomore – Montgomery’s best of 155-9 won the USATF Junior Olympics over Fitzgerald and Gochenour, and ranked her as #8 in the U.S., #3 among non-seniors, and #2 among freshmen.
* Emma Fitzgerald, Thayer Academy (Braintree, Mass.) sophomore – Fitzgerald’s best of 149-5 was second to Montgomery at the USATF Junior Olympics and ranked her #16 in the country, #6 among non-seniors, and #3 among freshmen. But she also won the World Youth Trials, throwing 167-10 with a lighter youth javelin and beating Bulger. A great all-around athlete, she won the USATF Junior Olympic heptathlon with 4,698 points,
* Trevor Danielson, Newberg (Ore.) senior – Danielson threw a PR 206-0 while winning the Jesuit Twilight Relays in May as a junior, making him #8 for 2013 nationally and the #5 returnee. He was 4th in a very tough 6A state meet at 199-10 and won several other meets with consistency at mid-180s or better.
* Kristen Clark, Ruston (La.) senior – Clark threw her best of 139-5 in taking 5th in the New Balance Nationals Outdoor (also a NSAF event). She was 2nd in Louisiana’s 5A state meet after winning the 4A state meet as a freshman in 2011.
Also participating in the domestic clinics will be Lawrence Free State (Lawrence, Kans.) senior Alexa Harmon-Thomas, a World Youth Finalist in the heptathlon and among the top jumpers and hurdlers in the country. The javelin is one of her events in the heptathlon and, given that she’s seeking particular improvement in that discipline, she was invited to the domestic clinics (although she’s not part of the elite program).
Another athlete, Glacier (Kalispell, Mont.) senior Todd Ogden, is also part of the elite program but unable to attend this weekend’s clinic due to a football commitment. Ogden was the #4 javelinist as a junior last spring, hitting a best of 211-11 at the Pihtipudas Javelin Carnival in July. He was the Montana 2A state champ and is the #3 returnee as a senior this year.
Gochenour, Danielson, Clark and Ogden are all returning athletes in the Kultan Keihas Project Javelin, while Bulger, Montgomery, Fitzgerald (and Harmon-Thomas) are newcomers. Among the departed seniors in the program during 2012-13 was Megan Glasmann of Park City, Utah. Now at Stanford, Glasmann as a senior moved through the program and by the end of the summer had become the second furthest javelin thrower in U.S. prep history with a 176-11 that won the Pan American Junior Championships for Team USA in Medellin, Columbia, South America.
For more information on the Kultan Keihas Project Javelin, go to http://www.nationalscholastic.org/javclinic.