Setting a new Ivy League record with his throw of 81.17 meters at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, Minichello is the first Quaker to win an individual track and field championship since 2015, and just the ninth overall. The last — and only other — Quaker to win the javelin championship was Brian Chaput in 2003.
Minichello, originally from Exeter, Pa., achieved a record-breaking season even before the NCAA finals. At the NCAA Outdoor East Region Preliminaries on May 25, his throw of 80.38m broke facility, Ivy League, Penn, and Division I East Preliminary records. He also competed at the 2020 United States Olympic Trials last summer, finishing fourth overall.
“It was just really nice to [win] as a senior as I'm leaving Penn,” Minichello told The Daily Pennsylvanian. “It’s something that I'll never forget.”
As motivation, Minichello took on the underdog mentality while competing.
“Proving people wrong is something that’s exciting,” Minichello said to Fox 56 News. “Doing what I know that I’m capable of doing is something that really motivates me to just keep going.”
Penn track and field coach Fletcher Brooks told Fox 56 News that Minichello is “one of the best competitors that I have ever coached.” Brooks agreed that Minichello “embraces the chip on his shoulder, and he uses that and it fuels him.”
For Minichello, one of the best parts of celebrating the championship was seeing his coaches’ reactions.
“We just all realized that all the hard work paid off and everything ended up being worth it,” Minichello said to the DP. “That was really special to just enjoy it with people that cared about me.”
Minichello will next compete at the U.S. National Championships, which begins on June 23 at Hayward Field. Next season, Minichello will compete for the University of Georgia in the Southeastern Conference, with his sights set on qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“Hopefully I'll be in the best shape of my life at that point and really give Paris 2024 my best shot,” Minichello told the DP.