2019-20 NSAF Project Javelin Gold features 2 newcomers, 6 returnees

by Steve Underwood

The NSAF’s Project Javelin Gold has launched its eighth season with a returning roster of six very accomplished throwers plus two outstanding newcomers. If past seasons are any indication, especially the last few, then 2019-20 should be another fantastic year for the Project.

With two graduates having moved on to the collegiate level, the NSAF has welcomed Collin Burkhart and Taylor Ciccolini to its group of program athletes – which launched the new campaign with our recent August clinic held in Sioux Falls with the Sanford Sports Science Institute.

Athlete Profiles  |  Project Javelin Home Page  |  Registration for November clinic

Burkhart, now a Nazareth Area HS (PA) junior, was the nation’s #2 sophomore for spring/summer 2019 with a 203-8 PR. That was also good for #3 overall in Pennsylvania and #13 nationally. Ciccolini, also a junior (Mifflin County HS, PA), was the #5 soph in the U.S. and has now joined the nation’s top three 11th-grade girls in the already with the Project.

Meanwhile, the Project’s 2019-20 returnees include three senior boys who were among the top four throwers in the country for ’19: Joe Nizich (Central Catholic HS, OR), who starts his 4th year with the Project; Zech Blake (IMG Academy, FL), who joined in Jan. ’17; and national list leader Sam Hankins (Manhattan HS, KS), who is starting his 3rd year here. Hankins and Nizich were 2nd and 4th at this past New Balance Nationals Outdoor, respectively, while Blake was runner-up in ’18.

The three aforementioned junior girls, all of whom were selected to join the Project to start the 2018-19 campaign just over a year ago, include Katelyn Fairchild (Andale HS, KS), Sydney Juszczyk (Trinity Catholic HS, MO) and Alianna Eucker (Bergen Tech, NJ). Fairchild was 2nd and Eucker 5th at NBNO, while Juszczyk placed 3rd at the USATF Under-20 champs.

Finally, Project Javelin Gold bid farewell (and good luck!) to departing seniors Skylar Ciccolini (Mifflin County HS, PA – now at U. of Missouri) and Ty Hampton (North Bend HS, OR – now at U. of Oregon). Both captured New Balance Nationals Outdoor titles this past spring while concluding their fantastic prep careers. You can read more about their accomplishments below and they will always be welcome to train with the Project.

The next 2019-20 Project Javelin Clinic is scheduled for Nov. 14-17 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Athlete Profiles  |  Project Javelin Home Page  |  Registration for November clinic

Project Newcomers: Meet Collin Burkhart and Taylor Ciccolini

Collin Burkhart – 203-8 PR

Nazareth Area HS, PA – Class of 2021
Burkhart had five meets at 185 feet or better as a soph in ’19, topped by a 203-8 to win his District XI AAA title – making him the nation’s #2 10th-grader … he threw nearly as far at state, hitting 199-6 for 2nd … ranked as the #3 thrower overall in PA and #13 nationally … has trained throughout prep career with Coach Barry Krammes’ Javelin Factory … was a solid 5th at Javfest with 191-9 … also has throws PRs of 176-1 hammer, 159-11 discus and 56-10 weight.

Taylor Ciccolini – 146-1 PR

Mifflin Co. HS, PA – Class of 2021
Taylor had a 7-foot breakthrough as a soph at her ’19 District 6-AAA meet with 146-1 for 2nd behind now-graduated sister Skylar (see below) … followed with very solid bronze medal performance at AAA state (139-8) … continued to confirm talent at Iron Wood with 145-9 and JavFest (after NBNO hiccup) with 142-2 to earn program invite … all-around athleticism evidenced with 11-0 pole vault PR (won Tim Cook Invite).

2019-20 Returnees

Sam Hankins – 224-6 PR

Manhattan HS, KS – Class of 2020
  Hankins’ 224-6 winner at Iron Wood held up for the US#1 mark for ’19 … his runner-up finish at NBNO was up from 5th in ’18 and his only loss of the year … his major meet resume included victories at Great Southwest, Texas Relays, Kansas Relays and Dakota Relays, earning him a Track & Field News #1 … won his 3rd straight Kansas 6A state title, giving him a chance for a rare career sweep in 2020 … he scored international victories in ’18 for Team NSAF at JenJavelin Festival in Germany and Frederick Bastian Classic in the Bahamas.

Joe Nizich – 213-6 PR

Central Catholic HS, OR– Class of 2020
Nizich went unbeaten in Oregon during an outstanding spring, winning his first 6A state title with a 209-3 … he had several PRs along the way, including a 213-6 at his conference meet that stood as US#4 for the season … had a strong post-season with a 4th at Iron Wood and an All-American 4th at NBNO (206-11)_, overcoming nagging injury issues … also won Centennial Invite, Nike Jesuit Twilight Relays and his USATF Region meet, throwing over 200 in seven meets … ranked #3 for the year by T&F News.

Zechariah Blake – 214-4 PR

IMG Academy, FL– Class of 2020
Blake’s PR of 214-4 came during a mighty runner-up performance as a soph at 2018 NBNO … injury issues made improvement tough during transitional year to IMG from John Curtis HS in LA … his ’19 best came at Iron Wood Throws, where he was 3rd with 204-2 … the triple threat thrower also hit 58-3.75 shot put and 174-2 discus PRs at Iron Wood … repped Team NSAF at the Barrientos Memorial in Cuba, where he won the jav (192-1) and was 4th in the discus … won four state throws titles in Louisiana before his transfer.

Katelyn Fairchild – 156-11 PR

Andale HS, KS – Class of 2021
  Fairchild capped off a stellar soph year with a runner-up finish at NBNO – her 5th meet over 150 feet for the year in her first national championship … coming into ’19 with a 149-foot PR, she went over 150 for the first time (150-3) in winning the Kansas Relays title … PR’d twice more in going unbeaten in Kansas and capturing the 4A crown with a career-best 156-11 (US#8, #1 soph) … a great all-around thrower, she was also 3rd in the shot and 4th in the discus in leading Andale to another team championship.

Sydney Juszczyk – 161-8 PR

Trinity Catholic HS, MO– Class of 2021
Juszczyk didn’t quite beat her ’18 PR of 161-8, but was consistent in the 150s as a soph, topping out at 158-5 for 2nd at Iron Wood … she claimed the bronze medal spot at USATF U-20 champs with 154-5, after taking 8th in ’18 … had a half-dozen meets beyond 150 feet, including a state Class 3 title defense with 152-1 … repped Team NSAF at the Barrientos Memorial, taking 8th against older throwers … a superb all-around athlete, she also nabbed 3rd-place finishes in the 100 hurdles and triple jump at state to lead Trinity to the crown.

Alianna Eucker – 150-5 PR

Bergen Tech HS, NJ – Class of 2021
  Eucker rebounded very well from off-season injury issues this past spring, eventually breaking the 150-foot barrier for the first time (150-5) to defend her state Group IV title … the next week she moved up a spot in the NJ Meet of Champions from 3rd in ’18 to 2nd with a near-PR 149-1 … she then earned All-American honors with a 5th at NBNO … she was unbeaten during the NJ regular season and also took 5th in the Penn Relays, jump-starting her comeback … scored numerous points in other throws for Bergen Tech during the year.

2019 Project Graduates

Skylar Ciccolini – 184-2 PR

HS: Mifflin Co. HS, PA – Class of 2019
NCAA: U. of Missouri – Class of 2023
Ciccolini was the nation’s dominant girl in ’19, winning NBNO, going unbeaten vs. U.S. preps, ranking #1 by T&F News and throwing a US#1 184-2 -- #2 all-time … she achieved her PR in defending her Penn Relays title in April … also was Pan American U-20 silver medalist after finishing runner-up at USA U-20s … won her 2nd straight Pennsylvania (PIAA) AA title back in May … also repped Team USA at Youth Olympics last fall and won international titles for Team NSAF in The Bahamas and Germany as a junior.

Ty Hampton – 222-11 PR

HS: North Bend HS, OR – Class of 2019
NCAA: U. of Oregon – Class of 2023
Hampton’s 2019 was one of the best comeback stories in the sport as he rebounded from an injury that shut down his junior year to become NBNO champion as a senior … was unbeaten in Oregon, winning the 5A state title with 213-11 (also won in ’17) … his only defeat was to Project teammate Hankins at Iron Wood, but he turned the tables in Greensboro where he set his 222-11 PR … he had five meets at 213 feet or better, including 221-4 in his district meet, and was ranked #2 by T&F News.

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