SK grad Minnitti 8th at Pan Am games

Comparing his performance to that of a major league baseball player going 0-for-4 at the plate, Rob Minnitti settled for an eighth place finish in the javelin at the Pan-American Games in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago.

Minnitti, a 1998 South Kitsap High School graduate, managed to make it to the finals, but his throw of 235 feet (71.64 meters) was only good enough for eighth place.

He was nowhere near his personal best of 76 meters, which would have been good enough for fourth place.

“It definitely wasn’t my best performance,” Minnitti said. “I really hadn’t had a bad meet since April, when I threw 73 meters.”

The Pan-Am Games marked the end of a long season for Minnitti, who placed second in the NCAA championships in May and second in the USA Championships one month later to qualify for the Pan-Am games.

Still the No. 2 ranked American thrower, Minnitti said a combination of fitness and the brutality of a long season played a part into his eighth-place finish.

“It was an end to a real long season,” Minnitti said. “I think at the end you get tired and you’re not as fresh as you’d like to be.”

Despite personal disappointment, Minnitti said he views the Pan-Am Games as a step in the right direction — a shot at the 2004 Olympics.

“It was good to get a big meet under my belt and use this as a good motivator for my off-season training,” he said.

The biggest difference with his off-season training this year will be the absence of studies.

The 2003 Boise State University graduate will spend all his time in the Seattle area, where his world-class coaches and trainers reside, along with his girlfriend and parents.

“The big thing is to be back in Seattle,” he said. “I’ll be training with who I want to train with and training in an environment I want to be in.”

Currently taking a break away from the javelin, Minnitti said he’ll continue to work on his physical fitness and start throwing again in four to six weeks.

He will compete in some European competitions next May to gear up for the Olympic Trials.

The American thrower Minnitti would love to catch up to is Breaux Greer of Athens, Ga.

Greer, the current American champion, won the bronze medal at the Pan-Am games with a 259-foot throw.

“My off-season will be key,” he said.

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