COLUMBIA - Skylar Ciccolini didn’t waste any time in her first season with Mizzou Track & Field. Across her first three meets the freshman broke Mizzou’s javelin record, earned SEC Freshman of the Week, and qualified for this summer's U.S. Olympic trials.
Ciccolini was born in small-town Pennsylvania to two parents who threw javelin in college themselves.
“It’s kind of a whole family event because my parents are my coaches and my sister was my training partner all through high school,” Ciccolini said. “She’s coming to Mizzou this fall and we’ll be on the same training crew again. That’s pretty exciting for me.”
Ciccolini was always outside, playing softball and football up until eighth grade when she discovered her love for track.
“Javelin started to take off for me, and I started to do better,” Ciccolini said. “The more I did it the more I fell in love with it.”
Ciccolini’s passion led her to become a two-time state champion and earn a spot on the under 20 Pan-American USA team for track and field.
“I got to go to Costa Rica and compete with my now-teammate Ava Curry,” Ciccolini said. “I got to meet her and compete with her before I even got to Mizzou, so that was really special.”
On her visit to Mizzou, Ciccolini felt an instant connection to the program which she can describe in two words.
“Very competitive,” Ciccolini said. “We have some of the top girls in the nation throwing here, and I knew that was really going to push me to be better as a thrower and just kind of making sure that I would keep progressing after high school.”
Head Coach Brett Halter echoed Ciccolini's thoughts.
"It's an extraordinary group," Halter said. "There's no question it's the best group in the United States for women's javelin training."
He said Skylar was a great fit for the team.
“She’s fun to have around, adds to the competitive environment, and I always appreciate her diligence everyday,” Halter said.
Ready to start her freshman year, Ciccolini arrived on campus only to find out her debut in black and gold would have to wait.
“It definitely did not go as planned,” Ciccolini said.
The coronavirus pandemic caused her to redshirt her freshman season and quarantine at her home in Pennsylvania where her coaches happen to live under the same roof.
“I was very fortunate that I was able to train at my house,” Ciccolini said. “You just had to make the best out of it. I knew a season would come eventually and I wanted to be as prepared as possible when it did.”
That moment finally came. In March of 2021 Skylar headed to Texas for her first meet in a Missouri uniform.
“It was a good starting meet,” Ciccolini said. “I had a couple of good throws but the rest of them were kind of all over the place. I knew the more consistent I can be, it’s just a matter of time before the big throw happens.”
Less than a month later, it happened at the War Eagle Invitational. After her first throw, Ciccolini noticed there was power behind the javelin despite it landing on the foul line.
“I was like, okay I know I have a big throw I have just got to keep myself behind the line,” Ciccolini said.
She would go on to hit 56 meters, breaking Mizzou’s record and securing a spot at the Olympic trials.
“It was even more special because my teammate who is out this year for injury came down to watch the meet, Sophia Rivera, and she had the record before I did,” Ciccolini said. “She’s my training partner, so having her beside me cheering me on was really special.”
Despite her extensive list of accomplishments at such a young age, Halter said Ciccolini has an exciting future in javelin.
“I think she can have a lengthy career in the sport,” Halter said. “There’s no doubt she’s going to represent the United States at some level in the future.”
Ciccolini’s short-term goals are to nail down her technique in competitions and to hit a 57 meter throw to beat her own personal record of 56.14 meters.
“It’s just something to chase,” Ciccolini said.