Florence native Curtis Thompson, who came within five inches of becoming an Olympian in the javelin, isn’t done yet.
Thompson, who broke the U.S. Olympic Trials record last week in Eugene but still fell short of the Olympic standard, will throw Saturday in the NACAC Under-23 Championships in El Salvador.
The NACAC is the North America, Central America and Caribbean Track and Field Coaches Association, and this week’s meet is the championships for athletes from those areas who are under 23 years old.
The meet will be held in Estadio Nacional Jorge “El Magic” Gonzalez in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Thompson, a Florence High School graduate, is the NCAA champ, runner-up at nationals, all-time No. 17 in U.S. history and No. 33 in the world. Yet because he threw 271-11 and not 272-4, he was kept off the U.S. team traveling to Rio for the Olympics.
The rules are so archaic and complicated that even Sports Illustrated, assuming that the runner-up in the Olympic Trials would be an Olympian, listed Thompson as an Olympian. But he’s not. So he’ll head to El Salvador and shoot for a different title.
Thompson, 20, is the top seed in the javelin with his 271-11, followed by Canadian Evan Karakolis, who has thrown 260-2 and was fifth at NCAAs this past spring competing for Rice.
The meet record in the javelin is 264-1, set by former U.S. and NCAA champ Chris Hill in the 2006 meet in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The only other New Jerseyan who appears in the NACAC U23 heat sheets appears to be Olivia Baker, the former Columbia middle-distance star who will run the 800. Baker, the NCAA runner-up for Stanford this past spring, reached the semifinals at the Olympic Trials, missing the finals by less than half a second, and has a PR of 2:01.02.
The meet record in the women’s 800 is 2:03.00, set in Kamloops, B.C., two years ago by American Shelby Houlihan.