Curtis Thompson of Mississippi State and Chris Mirabelli of Rutgers, rivals since they were freshmen at nearby Burlington County high schools, both easily advanced through NCAA Eastern Regionals and earned spots in the javelin at next month’s NCAA Track Championships in Eugene.
Thompson threw 240-3 and Mirabelli 227-0, and they finished as the second and third qualifiers behind Michael Shuey of Penn State, who threw 242-5 on his final attempt. Shuey was second to Mirabelli at the Penn Relays.
Mirabelli, a 2014 graduate of Holy Cross, opened with a 223-1 and followed that with a 227-0. He fouled on his third attempt
Thompson, a 2014 graduate of Florence, opened with a 219-11, then threw 218-7 before popping his 240-3, less than three feet off his season best.
The top 12 finishers from each of two regional competitions Thursday advanced to the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field. The javelin is scheduled for June 7.
Thompson won the NCAA title last year with a 254-9 throw and was third in 2015 at 247-5. Mirabelli has competed in NCAAs in each of the last two seasons as well but has not yet placed higher than 17th.
Mirabelli has a season-best and career-best 251-6 from this year’s Penn Relays and entered regionals ranked No. 2 in the country.
Thompson had a season-best of 243-0 from the Florida Relays in March, seventh-best in NCAA Division 1 this year, but set a career-best of 271-11 in placing second at the U.S. Olympic Trials last year. He’s No. 11 in collegiate history and No. 17 on the all-time U.S. list.