Varsity Voice: Wyoming Area’s Minichello Throwing At Elite Level
It was his second time throwing the javelin at Franklin Field, but this time felt different.
Wyoming Area senior Marc Anthony Minichello entered last week’s Penn Relays as an improved thrower — and a Penn commit. With his future coaches and teammates in attendance, he was throwing at the Quakers’ home venue in a competition dating back more than a century.
Maybe all that explains why Minichello reached back and set a personal record on April 27, a 202-foot-2 throw for second place on his next-to-last attempt. Though he settled for runner-up honors that day, Minichello made it clear that he’s ready to end his surprising track and field career with the Warriors on a high note.
“It’s really humbling because the process that it took to get here took a lot of hard work, whether it be in the classroom, out on the field or in the weight room,” he said. “I’m really happy to be fortunate enough to go to the next level, especially Penn.”
Minichello has been on a tear as his final season is winding down.
When he isn’t splitting time with Wyoming Area baseball, he’s been a consistent threat in the javelin. He first topped 200 feet at Hazleton Area on April 18, with a winning throw of 200-foot-3.
Then came the Penn Relays, where Minichello threw against state-caliber competitors like Penn Manor’s Alexander Scheivert — the returning PIAA runner-up in Class 3A, Wyoming Area’s classification — and Dunmore’s Gavin Darcy, last year’s Class 2A state champion. He topped them both (Darcy took fourth at 198-foot-11, and Scheivert was fifth at 195-foot-4), but Tzuriel Pedigo, from Parkview Baptist in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, took gold at 238-foot-6.
“I came into the meet seeded fifth, and my goal going into the meet was hopefully to at least finish where I was seeded,” Minichello said. “To be able to jump up three spots was really awesome.”
“I think it was the atmosphere and the competition altogether, really brought the best out of me.”
Pedigo will be hundreds of miles away when this month’s PIAA championships take place, so Minichello has every reason to believe a state title could be his. It’s been a quick ride to that level of throwing.
Minichello tried out the javelin only when an injury kept him out of baseball as a sophomore, and he had the raw talent to stick with what started as a secondary sport. Soon after, he got the chance to take his throwing to the next level when childhood friend, Taryn Ashby — a state medalist for Pittston Area last year and the Penn Relays champ for Villanova this year — suggested he put in extra work at the Javelin Factory.
Run by Barry Krammes and John Kotchmar just outside of Tamaqua in Mary D, the Javelin Factory is a converted garage that hosts two group training sessions on Sundays throughout the year.
Krammes, a 2000 Pottsville grad who made it to the finals of a pair of Olympic trials, said he’s trained in Finland and tried to make the facility into a miniature version of one of its training facilities. There are reinforced walls for medicine ball work, heated floors for the cold months, and nets to catch indoor throws.
Depending on the time of year, athletes work on technical aspects of the javelin — including footwork— build strength and conditioning or focus on speed. The coaches also help break down video of throws from meets.
“We really promote it’s not just throwing the javelin; it’s a running event,” Krammes said. “I think that’s what separates us.”
The extra instruction paid off for Minichello, who could wind up throwing side-arm or at different angles in a baseball game. He drilled the right throwing form for the javelin — picking up little things like how to move his hips or tuck his arm as he winds up — in order to unlock extra distance on his throws.
“When it comes to the little, crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s, that’s where the Factory really helps me,” he said. “Just with the little things that bring out a couple of feet at a time.”
Krammes said Minichello, who still makes the trip to the Factory when his schedule allows it, soaked everything in.
“Marc seemed to kind of grasp things as soon as you said it to him,” he said.
By the time last year’s District 2 meet started, Minichello had improved to a top seed of 194-foot-5, nearly 17 feet better than the No. 2 seed. His shot at D2 gold simply didn’t start off well and went off the rails.
Minichello fouled his three throws and missed the finals. It was a rough way to end a promising postseason, but it was another chance for Minichello to grow. He’s let himself just let it fly more this year, he said, rather than overthinking the process.
“I’m kind of happy that I’ve already been to a big meet. ... Hopefully I can go to districts and be relaxed, have fun and throw where I can throw,” Minichello said. “Not necessarily try to get anything crazy out of myself.”
As he showed at Penn, Krammes said, Minichello is embracing that and “letting it happen right now, instead of forcing it.”
He’ll finally get to head back to Scranton with his new mindset on May 14. If he wins District 2 gold then, or hits the state-qualifying mark of 178 feet, Minichello will head to Shippensburg for a shot at the state medal stand.
A few more 200-foot-throws on big stages can go a long way. Last year, the state-winning mark was 198-foot-6 in Class 3A.
“I think the sky’s the limit for him,” Krammes said. “He took it to the next level. He took it from not doing so well (last year) to PR’ing at the Penn Relays.”
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