Three Young Flyers Make Their Mark in Kansas

isabella allison junior olympic all-american Jake Blair and Max Columbus at JO Nationals

“Isa” Allison – National Champion in 8U Mini-Javelin

Weather was all-over the map in Lawrence Kansas, the site of the 2018 USATF Junior Olympics National Championship from July 24-30. There was lightning, thunder, flash flooding, wind and sunshine over the four days our three young Phoenix Flyers were competing. Our kids represented both the Flyers and the Arizona USATF Association quite admirably and should be proud of their amazing accomplishments.

8 & Under Division

Max Columbus flew in style to Kansas and made the most of his first trip to the USATF National Championship meet. He took 19th out of 42 athletes and threw a solid 16.35 meters. As stated previously, weather conditions were all over the place that Wednesday afternoon and so PRs were pretty hard to come by. Max seemed to enjoy the moment and being with his fellow teammates for this momentous achievement.  Now that Max has this experience under his belt, we know he will be ready in the years to come for future JO Championship events, which he will be participating in most assuredly.

Isa Allison, the #1 ranked 8U thrower in the U.S. this year, wanted to first make All-American (top-8 athletes) status for the second year in a row (and more importantly get those “cool” All-American caps). Isa came out throwing fire and was leading after the first two rounds. She briefly lost the top spot in the third round when Meredith Banner threw 17.49 meters, but Isa being the competitor she is got up to the runway and immediately answered that assault with a 17.79-meter dart on her third throw, which would end up solidifying her top place for the remainder of the event. Isabella took 6th place in last year’s JO National Meet and this year joins her brother Charlie (National Champion in 11-12 Javelin in 2016) as our Flyers’ second National Champion – congrats Isa!

Isa did show us she was mortal by taking 29th in the long jump on Friday, which she shook off quickly knowing that the following day was an all-day adventure at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun.

11-12 Division

Jake Blair has never missed qualifying for the JO Nationals since joining the Flyers in 2014 – that’s an amazing accomplishment in itself. Last year Jake was a bit disappointed in his 12th place finish and had his eyes at a top-8 (All-American) result in 2017. He was the number 3 ranked thrower at the meet and had been throwing quite well in practice over the past few weeks. Jake’s first throw was an absolute missile, but unlike anytime this year, the javelin drifted to the right and out of the sector making it a non-legal throw. Jake tried to dust off this rogue throw, but the torrential rains would be muddying up his plans and he was unable to crack the top-8 with his next two tosses. Jake ended up taking 12th overall and although he was broken up by this result, we know that next year will be his year and that walk up to the podium will be one that will have been extremely well-earned and oh-so-sweet.

Proud of All Our Flyers

Another year is in the books for the Phoenix Flyers and Coach Todd and I are so very proud of what our kids have been able to accomplish over these past 5 seasons. Every year we get a bit better as a team and we always seem to find new athletes who join us that are not only good competitors, but more importantly, amazing young people. We look forward to the 2018 season (registration is already open!) and wish you all a great fall and winter.