NCAA Predictions Part 3: The Discus


Looking for a sure thing in this uncertain world of ours? Here you go.



Texas A&M’s Shelbi Vaughan won the title last year. She then spent the fall and winter training rather than playing volleyball. This year, she threw 64.52m at the SEC Championships, which has her ranked among the top ten female discus throwers in the world.

Can Michigan State Freshman Katelyn Daniels (59.06m at the Big 10 meet)…






…or Wisconsin Senior Kelsey Card (59.91m at the West Regional)…



…pull off the upset?


Here are Vaughan’s throws at various meets this season:

Regional (May 28) 60.93m

SEC (May 14) 64.52m

TCU Invite (May 2) 58.69m

Sun Angel (April 9) 58.70m

Stanford Invite (April 3) 59.19m

Texas Relays (March 25) 61.48m

Baldy Castillo (not sure who that is)  (March 20) 59.49m

Any of those throws would be far enough to win in Eugene.

Wild Card: None. Should be a great battle for second between Katelyn and Kelsey–two outstanding Big 10 throwers.



This is a whole ‘nother story.

LSU’s Rodney Brown hit 65.04m in April at Penn…



…and with 6 meets over 63 meters this season has been Mr. Consistency.

Virginia has two dynamic sophomores…Filip Mihaljevic (63.11m PB):



…and Jordan Young (62.27m at the East Regional):



Sam Mattis of Penn threw his PB of 62.13m last year…



…but has been over 61 meters on three different occasions this season.

And what about Alabama soph Hayden Reed, the defending NCAA and USATF champion?



He has struggled a bit this year, hitting a season’s best 60.70m on April 17, and finishing 10th at the East Regional with a toss of 57.45m.

But can you count a guy out a year after he won the USATF meet as a college freshman?


And this year’s champion will be…

When we talked about Mattis, Trof got a gut feeling–and I don’t think it was from the cucumber dip. Trof thinks Mattis is a great athlete who is ready to break loose.

Reed caught lightening in a bottle last year, but I can’t see that happening again.

I’d say Brown would be considered a lock but for the memory of last year’s meet, when he threw 63.34m at the regional but finished 10th in Eugene with a disappointing 58.47m.

As a coach, you always hope your athletes learn from experience, and I think Brown will ultimately benefit from last year’s flameout.

He’s our man.

Wild Card: Mihaljevic. He’s a huge guy (6’7″) who talks like the Terminator. What’s not to like?

NCAA Predictions Part 2: The Hammer




Men’s Hammer

What a long, strange trip it has been for Connor McCullough.



Will this be the year when he finally brings home an NCAA title? Or will Michael Lihrman of Wisconsin (PB 75.29m)…

2014 Arkansas Outdoor Track & Field


…or Chukwuebuka Enekwechi of Purdue ( PB 72.77m)…


…crush his dreams in Eugene?


And how about the defending NCAA champion, Kent State’s Matthias Tayala…


…who went 71.20m at the Mid-American Championships on May 14?

And the champion will be…

Trof is all for McCullough, and if you think a website named “Mcthrows” is going against an Irish guy…you have another think coming.

Wild Card: Tayala. I know, I know. Lihrman is a giant who threw the weight 800 feet indoors this year, and Chuck could easily beat up several motorcycle gangs, but…Tayala won it on his final throw last year and that…matters.


Women’s Hammer

Here is your defending champion, Julia Ratcliffe of Princeton by way of New Zealand.



Her best is 68.53m this year.


This year’s collegiate best belongs to Brooke Pleger of Bowling Green…



…who  hit 69.72m at the Mid-American Championships on May 14.


Southern Illinois senior Deanna Price nailed a 67.72m on May 2.




And the champion will be…

Ratcliffe has two advantages: she is from New Zealand and was smart enough to get into Princeton. That’s enough for Trof, who picked her to repeat. I, however, am not one to go against the John Smith factor. He has been coaching since the 1870’s and if there is any trick in the book…well…he wrote the book. So, we are going with Price.

Wild Card: Kearsten Peoples of Missouri. According to Trof, she has won about 8 million medals at NCAA meets in the past 4 years, so she is not likely to be intimidated.

NCAA Throws Predictions: The Javelin


Time for some serious chucking in Eugene!

Time also for myself and fellow throws obsessive Pat Trofimuk to make some predictions.


Men’s Jav Contenders: 

John Ampomah of Middle Tennessee State threw an NCAA best 81.55m at the Penn Relays on April 23.




Defending NCAA champ Sam  Crouser of Oregon threw a season best 78.94m on March 20.




Ioannis Kyriazis of Texas A&M has a season best of 78.41m and won the West Regional with a toss of 77.87m.




Last year’s NCAA runner-up Raymond Dykstra of Kentucky has thrown 77.63m this year.


And the champion will be…

If there is any event in track and field that falls under the “who in the hell knows?” category, it is the javelin. Trof favors Crouser because of the experience factor. Ioannis has the Greek thing going for him. They did, after all, invent the sport. Since it is my blog, and I have an MA in History,  we are going for Ioannis.

Wild Card: Dykstra. Anyone with the confidence to rock those shades in competition has got to be considered a serious threat.


Women’s Jav Contenders:

Irena Sediva of Texas A&M hit 58.66m at the ACC Championships on May 14.



Elizabeth Herrs of Oklahoma threw 57.77m on April 17.




Texas Tech’s Hannah Carson…

2010 Youth Olympic Games



…Nebraska’s Sarah Firestone…



…and defending NCAA champion Fawn Miller of Florida…




…have all gone 56.00m or better this year.

And the champion will be…

Trof campaigned hard for Sediva, probably because she is Czech and good-looking (he is the shallow type). I’m all in for Miller. She has struggled with back problems this year, likely a lingering result of the horrendous motorcycle accident she overcame to pull off the win in 2014. Would you bet against someone who was told they would be lucky to walk again and less than two years later won the NCAA title? I wouldn’t.

Wild Card: I’m going for Firestone because I’m a fan of her coach, Scott Cappos (I’m shallow that way).



Peaking for the Big Meets Part 2: The University of Nebraska







University of Nebraska throws coach Scott Cappos is more than just a pretty face.

I’ve known him since his days coaching the throws at the University of Iowa where he combined passion and intelligence to produce a fine string of throwers. At the University of Nebraska, Scott has developed more outstanding  throwers, including 2015 NCAA qualifiers…

Nick Percy




Will Lohman




and Sarah Firestone.

firestone 2



I asked Scott about his approach to peaking for the big meets, and he graciously shared the following information.

First, some general guidelines…


Glide Shot Put and Discus Throw

Peak Training

Design the peak phase based on what works best for each athlete. Observe how each athlete reacts to different training methods during the season and use the style that works best for each individual during the peak phase. Look for patterns during various training sessions and competitions to see what works for each athlete.

Basic Recommendation For Peaking

Keep the training design consistent during the season

Reduce the training volume by 30-50%

Keep the intensity of training high for all the lifts except the squat

Throw lighter implements for speed during the peak phase

(30% of the total throws)

Limit heavy implements during the peak phase

(10% of the total throws)

Follow the same format for the competition during practice. If an athlete has the shot put on day one, then the discus on day two, set up the practices the same way during the peak phase.

Do not take off days, use low intensity medicine ball throws, easy throwing drills and dynamic warm up exercises focusing on range of motion to keep the athlete loose and active.

Individualize each athletes peak program based on previous success and failures during the year.

…then a sample peak week for a glide shot putter…


Glide Shot Put Sample Peak Sessions 

Sample #1 (early in the week)

Stand Throw Series

            Heavy shot put

  • Stand throw with no reverse x3
  • Stand throw with reverse x3 

Glide with Reverse

            Mix weights 1-1 (standard-light alternate each throw)

  • Glide throws x12


Sample #2 (last session before competition)

Stand Throw Series

Standard shot put

  • Stand throw with no reverse x3
  • Stand throw with reverse x3


Glide with Reverse

  • Straight leg glides x3
  • Glide throws with standard shot x10
  • Glide throws with light shot x4


…followed by a multi-week peaking plan…


Day 1   Day 2   Day 4 (Day 1 NCAA Finals)  
Hang Clean 3-3-2-2-2 Squat 6-5-(4×3) Hang Snatch 3-2-2-2
week 1 (off or home meet) 60-70-75-80-85 week 1 (off or home meet) 60-70-75-80-85 week 1 (off or home meet) 60-70-75-80
week 2 (Big Ten) 65-70-75-80-x week 2 (Big Ten) 65-70-75-80-x week 2 (Big Ten) 65-75-80-85
week 3 (off) 60-70-75-80-85 week 3 (off) 60-70-75-80-90 week 3 (off) 65-75-80-90
week 4 (NCAA Prelim) 60-70-75-75-75 week 4 (NCAA Prelim) 60-70-75-80-x week 4 (NCAA Prelim) 65-75-80-85
week 5 (off) 65-75-80-85-90 week 5 (off) 65-75-80-85-x week 5 (off) 65-70-75-80
        week 6 (NCAA Finals) 65-70-70-x
Snatch Pulls 4×2 Bench  6-5-(4×2) F Sqt (1-3-5) Speed Sqt (2-4-6) 6-5-(3×3)
week 1 (off or home meet) 85 week 1 (off or home meet) 60-70-75-75-75-75 week 1 (off or home meet) 60-65-70-70-70
week 2 (Big Ten) x week 2 (Big Ten) 65-75-80-80-80-x week 2 (Big Ten) 50
week 3 (off) 100 week 3 (off) 60-70-75-80-85-90 week 3 (off) 60-70-75-75-75
week 4 (NCAA Prelim) x week 4 (NCAA Prelim) 65-75-80-85-85-85 week 4 (NCAA Prelim) 50
week 5 (off) 100 week 5 (off) 65-75-80-85-90-x week 5 (off) 60-70-75-80-80
   x     week 6 (NCAA Finals) 50
DB Push Press 4×3 (light) Step Ups 4x3e Incline (1-3-5) Speed B (2-4-6) 6-4-3-3
        week 1 (off or home meet) 60-70-75-80
        week 2 (Big Ten) 60
Circuit x3   Circuit x2   week 3 (off) 60-70-75-80
Box jumps or hurdle hops x10 MB hammer tosses x10e week 4 (NCAA Prelim) 50
Shot put sit ups x10e MB v-ups x20 week 5 (off) 65-75-85-85
Walking winds with plate x10e MB trunk twist x10e week 6 (NCAA Finals) 40
    MB shot put throws x5e    


…and a specific plan for Will Lohman beginning the Monday after the regional meet…
6 stand (heavy) 6 half turns (heavy) 12 full (4 heavy, 8 standard)

Dry turns 4×4 turns
16 4 turn throws

Thursday and Saturday
4 stand 4 half turns 10 full (8 standard, 2 light)

Dry turns 4×4 turns
12 4 turn throws (8 standard, 4 light)

 2 stand 2 half turns 8 full

Dry turns 2 x4 turns
6 4 turn throws

NCAA Finals (hammer and shot)


Thanks much, Scott, for sharing this valuable info!

Peaking for the Big Meets Part 1: The University of Virginia


Not a bad year for the University of Virginia throwing squad!

Christine Bohan…



…qualified for Nationals and broke the school record in the shot put with a toss of 16.73m (54’10.75″).

Jordan Young…

jordan young


…qualified for Nationals in the shot, disc, and hammer and in one season broke the school record in the hammer (70.73m, 232’1″) and moved into second place on the UVA all-time list in the shot (19.80m, 64’11.5″) and the disc (62.27m, 204’3″).

Filip Mihaljevic…


…qualified for Nationals in the shot and disc, and sits ahead of Young on both lists as the new school record holder in each (20.16m, 66’1.75″ and 63.11m, 207’0″).

The man behind this success is the current UVA throws coach: 2009 NCAA discus champion, two-time Olympian, and Croatian national record-holder Martin Maric.


As the NCAA Championships approach, I was curious to find out how different coaches approached the difficult task of coaxing peak performances out of their athletes during the Conference/Regionals/Eugene gauntlet.

Here are some of Coach Maric’s thoughts on that topic conveyed to me via email:

First question: Are you afraid that  fellow Croatian Stipe  Zunic will use his kick-boxing skills on you if your guys beat him?

 Haha, Stipe is such a nice of a guy, the only person he would kick-box if he losses would be himself. (editor’s note: I would pay to see that).

Seriously, what I’d like to do is get an idea of how you have approached these big end-of-the-season meets (ACC, Regionals, NCAA Championships) with your throwers. I know that Filip, Jordan, and Christine are in different situations in terms of what kind of athletes they are and what events they are competing in, but I’d be interested in how you trained them over the last month in the weight room and while throwing. Are there certain lifts that you have emphasized? Certain reps and percentages? How do you manipulate the number of throws per session and perhaps the weight of the implements they throw in order to help them have their best performances this time of year? 

No two throwers are the same so no two training plans should be the same. In preparation for ACC, Regionals and NCAAs I have reduced number of reps and sets to each of them, but not in the same manner. Ideally, I would have my throwers have a similar lifting plan to those of other world class throwers. A plan that includes bench press, incline bench press, clean, jerk, push-press  snatch, deadlift and many others. However, reality is not always perfect and injuries could dictate what one can or can not do. Our group was mostly without injuries, with the exception of Jordan who came to us with back problems.

When it comes to intensities and repetitions in training at this time of the year, Christine, for instance, responds better with high-intensity and low-reps when it comes to power and Olympic lifts in the days before major competitions. I have set up a training plan for her to peak for ACCs and Regionals where the intensity stayed high but the number of reps were reduced to about 60% of that in the Fall/Spring training. I am not very strict when it comes to percentages of 1-repetition-max since that measure is relative to a particular day. Some days one feels better then others due to numerous reasons, so obviously his/hers  % of 1RM will fluctuate as well. But if we would to put a percentage to Christine’s lifts’ intensity it would have been around 90% of her 1RM. We would do about 2 to 3 reps on the last, heaviest set and no more then 5 sets per lift. Also, since Christine is more stable technically this year, and In order to peak, we have also used 3kg shot put in training for the past 4 weeks in 2 out of 4 weekly shot put sessions, which proved to be very beneficial for Christine.

For Jordan, due to a long history of back injuries we avoided any Olympic or power lifts that might worsen his health further and rather focused simply on his technical development in the field and endurance training. With that said, I am still developing a comprehensive lifting plan for Jordan that we can hopefully start following this Fall. However, we were able to postpone/time his peak with different specific exercises such as Underhand-Overhead Shot Put Throws, Russian Twists, Stadium Runs and Walks, Planks and many others. Since Jordan is extremely good in Hammer/Weight, Shot and Discus, we needed to keep his endurance training at the highest level possible in order for him to maintain a high number of good quality throws during the week. Jordan would throw Hammer/Weight 4 times a week, discus and shot 3 times a week. Wednesdays would be easy and Sundays he will have off. He would throw two events each day at the number of throws that would never exceed 100 per day. As you can calculate easy, that could add up to as high as 2,400 throws a month, therefore, it was very important for us to keep his endurance up. There were days when Jordan would be able to do up to 100 stadium walks, but also there were days when he would only complete 10 or 15. We went off the feeling more than of the percentages or numbers for him this year. I believe that finding the right balance between hard training and quality rest is very important, for that reason, as you can see, I had somewhat of an unorthodox type of training for Jordan that was based more on technical and endurance this year rather then strength and speed development. As the season was approaching the end we reduced the number of throws and intensity of specific and endurance training by almost 50%, which is why I believe Jordan was able to throw his PRs in 2 out of 3 of his events at the Regionals. 

With Filip I use more of a “traditional” type of training both in weight-room and field. Filip responds the best with significant reduction in his lifting and number of throws before his main competitions of the year, so we have reduced his power and Olympic lifts to about 60% of 1RM and started to incorporate lighter implements in training. Filip now does not exceed 30 throws per throwing session both in discus and shot, and does not practice more then 90min in this period, throwing and conditioning combined.

Overall, reduction in repetitions and intensity generally works very well for most individuals. However, there are exceptions, such is Christine in my group, where high intensity is necessary to be maintained at this time of the year in order to produce the best results. It is not always easy to conclude which athlete responds the best to which type of training, but it is very important not to rush into conclusions even if at the cost of the athlete’s  “underperformance” in his or hers first year of college.


So there you have it. Wise words from a coach who currently has one of the deepest throwing squads in the country. And by the way, Bohan, Young, and Mihaljevic are all sophomores.