East Stroudsburg's American JavFest to return July 16-17 as 'Olympic Send-off'
After a one-year hiatus, American JavFest is returning to East Stroudsburg. This year it's bringing three Olympians with it.
The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation's sixth annual javelin festival will take place at East Stroudsburg High School South on July 16-17. The event gathers javelin competitors of different skill levels from across the country to compete and learn from one another.
Olympians Maggie Malone, Curtis Thompson and Michael Shuey will be in attendance this year, giving those at JavFest the opportunity to watch the country's greatest compete, ES South teacher and track and field coach Barry Krammes said. High school athletes compete on Friday, July 16, then are invited to attend Saturday's competitions to connect with experienced coaches and athletes.
"It's a really good opportunity for some of these younger javelin throwers that are developing to come and ask questions," Krammes said. "Coaches are going to be there, so to kind of pick their brain, maybe it's just one thing, but that one thing could change or fix, you know, 20 things that those young athletes are working on."
The weekend typically includes a more formal clinic for younger athletes to learn from the more experienced competitors, but short notice left organizers with enough time to plan only the competition side of JavFest.
"It's going to be just the competition part, which I think is the most exciting part anyway," Krammes said.
Training for the Summer Olympics
In past years, Olympic and World Championship hopefuls have come to JavFest looking to make qualifying marks. The event has had three athletes qualify for the World Championships and seen personal bests from elite throwers like Ariana Ince and Cyrus Hostetler.
Thompson and Shuey return after competing at JavFest in 2019, while Malone will make her first appearance at the competition. Tokyo's COVID-19 state of emergency will prevent the Olympians from competing in front of a crowd in Japan, but JavFest gives them that opportunity just a week before shipping off to the Olympics.
"We're kind of coining it as the 'Olympic send-off,'" Krammes said.
Participation has increased steadily since 2015, which has helped East Stroudsburg become a national hub for javelin. JavFest in 2019 registered over 120 competitors, a record Krammes said he expects to surpass in 2021.
Krammes, who helped organize 2015's inaugural American JavFest, said he hopes to continue building the event into a full-fledged festival. Having the support of local businesses has helped build the "festival atmosphere," Krammes said.
"Each year keeps on getting closer and closer to that, I just keep hoping more businesses get on board," Krammes said. "This is an opportunity for East Stroudsburg to kind of capture this as ours … Like, 'the National American Javelin Festival — that's East Stroudsburg's.'"
Those interested in registering for JavFest can do so at the event's website before the deadline of Thursday, July 15.
Frank Piscani is the Sports Life multimedia reporter at the Pocono Record. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on social media platforms @frankpiscani.