CRANFORD, NJ – Union College student-athlete Thomas ‘Tommy’ Flanagan, of Clark, is a national champion in javelin. On May 13, Tommy and Union’s track team traveled to Troy, New York, to compete in the 2022 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Track and Field Championship. To secure the win, Flanagan threw the javelin 56.27 meters. Not only was this Flanagan’s personal best throw, but it also broke the school record, which was previously set by Flanagan himself.
Flanagan, a freshman at Union College, began throwing javelin to stay active in baseball’s off-season. As he continued to practice and train, he realized his potential and knew that he could become a successful thrower.
This season, Flanagan traveled with the team to Princeton University, where he broke the College’s record for the first time, throwing 55.17 meters. With this, Flanagan gained momentum and felt confident going into the national competition.
As he prepared for his throws at the national competition, Flanagan wasn’t feeling the confidence he had previously, having to throw on a scorching field. During the competition, he said to himself, “We persevere and thrive in adversity.” On his fifth throw, Flanagan did just that, and threw the record-breaking 56.27 meter throw.
“We are proud of Tommy for winning this NJCAA national championship. He is a prime example of a student taking advantage of all we have to offer here beyond our excellent academics. There is a sport, activity, and club for all interests, and we encourage our students to get involved and engaged on campus,” stated Union President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.
Flanagan is especially grateful for all the support he received both on and off the field. Union’s track coach Kyle Duggan and Union’s athletic trainer Frank Aiello are two of Flanagan’s biggest supporters. Off the field, the Union community gathered in the Victor M. Richel Commons to watch Flanagan’s winning throw and cheer him on. When Flanagan found out about that, he got very emotional.
“Tommy is very dedicated to throwing javelin,” says Union track coach Kyle Duggan. “My hope for next year is that he throws over 200 feet (60.96m) and he brings home that national championship again.”
Flanagan continues to train for his second season at Union and plans to graduate with an Associate Degree in Health Science. For more information on Union athletics, go to www.unionowls.com/