When I first started coaching, I never thought I would have the opportunity to coach post-collegiate throwers. I guess I always thought that I would coach college athletes. The notion of working with high school throwers never really crossed my mind as well.
The more time I spend traveling with our college throwers and talking with other coaches, I have come to the realization that post-collegiate throwers within Western, NY are few and far between. Besides the two post-collegiate throwers I coach, I cannot name many other throwers chasing the goal of qualifying for the USATF Indoor or Outdoor National Championships. Very rarely, if ever, do unattached / post-collegiate throwers compete in meets within the greater Rochester area. This begs the question, where have all the post-collegiate throwers gone?
When I graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2004, there were many more post-collegiate throwers in the greater Rochester area. A handful of throwers that had graduated from UB as well as from SUNY Brockport were very active. One prominent thrower and graduate of SUNY Brockport competed in multiple USATF Indoor and Outdoor National Championships, including the 2008 Olympic Trials in the hammer throw, Jesse Doty. There may have been more throwers in the mid to late 2000's because of the annual New York State Empire State Games.
The Empire State Games served as an Olympic type festival held in New York State every July-August. The state was broken into six regions. Athletes had to qualify to compete at the games, with the top two athletes from each region advancing to the games. I was fortunate enough to make three Empire State Games teams (2005, 2006, 2008), earning a Bronze medal at the 2006 games held in Rochester. The Track & Field portion of the games was held at the University of Rochester. The Empire State Games were discontinued in the early 2010's.
Empire State Games 2006 held at the University of Rochester. My proudest throwing achievement, finishing 3rd, and earning my first ESG medal.
2006 Empire State Games in Rochester, NY. The only track and field meet my grandparents both came to watch me compete in, ever!
Empire State Games 2008 held at SUNY Binghamton. Was in 3rd place going into round six. I did not improve. My competition did, and I ended up finishing 4th.
Now, getting back to the original comment, where have all the unattached throwers gone? Rochester was a hotbed for very good post-collegiate throwers. Like I mentioned before, Jesse Doty, along with Luis Rivera are probably the best ever. Jake Basher was another great thrower from SUNY Brockport that threw at the Empire State Games and was a Division III All-American. I do not consider myself to be held to the same regard as the three throwers mentioned above. For a couple of years I was competitive. That is about it, competitive.
If it is a facility people are looking for, we have an indoor facility at Nazareth College that is able to accommodate throwers who are chasing their dreams. The reason why I started Forza Athletics is to give people an opportunity to continue throwing after college, in an indoor facility that is welcoming to them. Any throwers are more than welcome to stop by and get a practice in. Most recently, world class Highland Games competitor Matt Hand, another SUNY Brockport graduate, stopped by the indoor facility to get out of the cold before the North/South Competition.
You can be the next thrower to pass through our indoor facility. All you have to do is ask. If you are interested, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Infurna, Ed.D. is the owner of Forza Athletics, a throwing club that supports and mentors high school, collegiate, & post-collegiate throwers. Dr. Infurna currently coaches DIII National Champion Luis Rivera and Savannah Cook.