Florence grad Curtis Thompson, the 2016 NCAA javelin champ, appears ready to return to action after a year-long layoff!!!!!

Curtis Thompson, who set the U.S. Olympic Trials javelin record in 2016 only to find himself on the outside looking in during the Rio Games, appears ready to compete again after an 11-month break.

Thompson, a Florence graduate and 2016 NCAA champ for Mississippi State, last competed in the javelin on July 21, 2017, in a low-key meet in Chula Vista, Calif.

After throwing 271-11 at the 2016 Trials, his best throw in 11 meets in 2017 was 249-2. He had surpassed that in seven meets in his breakthrough 2016 season.

After ranking No. 2 in the U.S. in 2016, he ranked just ninth among American men last year.

Thompson, the No. 16 thrower in U.S. history, red-shirted this past year at Mississippi State. He didn’t compete in any meets and retains a year of eligibility in 2019 if he elects to remain in school or take a year of grad school.

But his name just showed up on the entry list for the 2018 U.S. Championships.

Even though Thompson hasn’t thrown this year, he’s fully qualified for the national championships, scheduled for later this month in Des Moines, Iowa, because the qualifying window runs from June 21 last year to June 17 this year, and Thompson surpassed the qualifying mark of 241-1 both at a meet in July at East Stroudsburg (when he threw his season-best 249-1) and at Chula Vista, when he threw 243-4.

Thompson has the sixth-best qualifying mark of the nine javelin throwers who have entered the competition and qualified. Since the top 18 seeds are invited to compete (if more than 18 qualify) and the deadline is Sunday, Thompson will certainly have the opportunity to throw if he’s healthy enough.

Thompson in 2016 placed second at the Olympic Trials but did not get to represent the U.S. at the Olympics because he didn’t meet the Olympic qualifying standard or place first in the Trials, although his 271-11 was briefly the meet record. For more on that, click here.

The javelin is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. EST Saturday, June 23, at Drake Stadium.

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