Still more to come for Danielson, Nonnenmacher
Javelin throwers Trevor Danielson and Seth Nonnenmacher took very different paths to get there, but each capped the best seasons of their career with appearances at last month's USA Track and Field Outdoor National Championships.
And while the results there -- Danielson was 10th and Nonnenmacher 17th -- didn't quite fall in line with the trajectory of their collegiate seasons at Stanford and George Fox, respectively, the more important takeaway is that there is still more to come.
Danielson, who graduated from Newberg High School in 2013 but walked away from the sport due to an injury his freshman year at Stanford, will return to compete for the Cardinal next spring as a fifth-year senior.
Nonnenmacher has already graduated after winning two NCAA Division III national titles, but has accepted a volunteer coaching position at Boise State University that will allow him to train for a return to nationals next year.
"It was a little frustrating, but overall it was a great experience to go (to the outdoor national championships) and compete and get the feel of things at such a high level," Nonnenmacher said. "Hopefully, I keep competing these next few years and I can keep going to that meet, keep progressing and finish higher every time."
After a standout career at NHS that also saw him participate in a national training program, Danielson took the more traditional path for a traditional javelin thrower by going to Division I Stanford. That is, until it was revealed, prior to his freshman season, that the back issues he fought through during high school were actually stress fractures in his vertebrae. That, along with some personal issues, led him to choose not to throw any more.
"I never really thought that I would come back, but I always left that opportunity available," Danielson said.
Danielson did eventually come back, but still doesn't know exactly what compelled him to grab the javelin he still had in his dorm room at the beginning of his third year at Stanford.
"I kind of felt just a little pull to try to throw it out on the field that was nearby," Danielson said. "I just threw it a little bit. It was fun to do. Then I found out from some of my old teammates that there was a new throws coach that had just come in to Stanford. For some reason I decided I would reach out to him and set up a meeting and see if there was even an opportunity for me to re-join."
That meeting with Zeb Sion convinced Danielson to return and after over two years off, he set a new personal best by over eight feet by throwing 214-6 at his first meet back in 2017.
"It was the first time since my junior year that I had improved at all, so that was really cool," Danielson said.
Danielson went on to break his PR two more times that season, including a throw of 223-9 that placed him third at the Pac-12 championships and qualified him for the 2017 USATF Outdoor Nationals, where he placed 15th.
As a senior this past spring, Danielson set a new personal best by throwing 235-7 to place fourth at the NCAA Division I national championships and break the Stanford school record. He earned his second consecutive invite to nationals and although he experienced some elbow issues and topped out at 222-8, he still moved up five spots and overall felt much more comfortable on the big stage.
"The first time around I kind of felt like a boy among all the men, kind of there just for the sake of being there, just to get some experience," Danielson said. "This time it was definitely a sharp contrast. When I got out there for the first practice out on the field, it felt like I belonged there and that I had a good chance to do something cool and make it to finals."
Making the finals will be one of his major goals for next year, when the top three finishers will earn bids to the world championships.
Improving his finish and getting in the mix to compete on the world stage will be big motivators for Nonnenmacher, who had a similar experience to Danielson in his first appearance at nationals.
"When you show up to the Division III meet, you're looking around and you're seeing all the people and you know these guys are all stud athletes," Nonnemacher said. "When you get to that USA meet, it's a whole other feeling. It's completely different. When you look around, you see guys you've watched on TV or seen at the Olympics and then you're competing with those guys. It's a pretty good feeling."
A native of Burns, Nonnenmacher graduated with a degree in education with a minor in coaching and will use the coming year to explore both teaching and coaching while continuing to train and compete.
"One big thing this next year is figuring out something that I might get really passionate about and then getting my master's degree in that," he said. "After banking up some student-loan debt from undergrad, I don't feel like jumping into a master's degree before I'm sure it's something I'm going to stick to."
Nonnenmacher will bring some coaching experience with him to Boise State, having coached several individuals in javelin, as well as the C.S. Lewis Academy track team this past spring.
"That definitely came with its challenges, like coaching guys and girls at the same time, but it was a fun experience and I'm very happy that I did that," he said. "I think it was a great start to a coaching career because it taught me a lot that I'm glad I know before I just jumped in to coaching at a big Division 1 program."
Nonnenmacher made huge strides the past two seasons, pushing his personal best from 212-6 to 227-1 en route to his first NCAA Division III national title in 2017, then to 241-11.5 in winning his second straight crown this past spring.
Although having a full month without competition after the NCAA meet may have contributed to an underwhelming showing in his first appearance at nationals, where he threw 210-1, just competing there confirmed that he wanted to continue his athletic career.
"It's been crazy how the season has gone for javelin and graduating and trying to figure out what am I going to do next year while I'm training and thinking about javelin," he said. "It does seem like there are some options, but I know the opportunity to compete at the USA level and potentially the world level is so rare that it's something I'll pursue if I have that opportunity and that will affect everything else."