Skylar Ciccolini, Chayce Macknair each sign letter of intent

Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Skylar Ciccolini, right, signs her letter of intent to attend Missouri where she will be a member of the school’s track and field team Tuesday in Lewistown. Pictured with Ciccolini is her father and javelin coach Sonny Ciccolini

LEWISTOWN — Two of the most decorated athletes in the short history of Mifflin County High School signed letters of intent to continue their careers at the collegiate level Tuesday afternoon in the Mifflin County Media Room.

Skylar Ciccolini chose Missouri to continue her epic career in the javelin and Chayce Macknair is off to Shippensburg to run track and cross country for the Red Raiders.

Ciccolini spent her offseason competing in the 2018 Youth Olympics where the Husky senior placed sixth in the world. She captured her first PIAA championship last May after finishing second in 2017. She owns the US prep record with a throw of 180-8. Her resume is the envy of the high school track world.

Despite her tremendous ability with the javelin, her choice of Missouri came down to academics. Ciccolini will pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology.

“My choices were down to Missouri, Texas and Virginia Tech. When I took the official to Texas it was really close. It was really hard for me but it eventually came down to academics,” Ciccolini said. “The academic selection at Missouri was more expansive and the academics fit me better. Also, I really love the coach at Missouri and I think he will push me even harder when I get to college.”

Tigers coach Brett Halter, who’s coached an Olympic Silver Medalist, three world champions, four national champions and 98 all-Americans, is thrilled to have Ciccolini on board and not just because of her athletic ability.

“I see her as an immediate impact kid. It’s easy for us to get caught up and sign kids for the numbers. We wanted to get to know her and her personality. It wasn’t all about throwing,” Halter said. “Knowing we have a great human being, a great thrower, with a great family, made her one of the most sought-after kids in the USA.

“She’s an amazing athlete. The thing that struck me when I saw her was I never expected her to be in the high jump. I think kids specialize too soon and that’s not the case with Skylar. She has a terrific upside, she has so much potential we don’t know where it’s going to stop. She is solid in the most technical event there is. Couple that with athleticism and mindset, and her potential is unlimited.”

Her throwing coach, Sonny Ciccolini, threw off the mantle of instructor and instead was a proud father.

“It’s nice to finally be in the role of dad. I feel like I’m always saying that was good but we can do better,” Sonny Ciccolini said. “The University of Missouri package of athletics and academics, the location all lead us to the right fit. It’s nice for once, to smile and be proud of my daughter.”

Macknair is the only two-time state medalist in cross country in school history — placing 18th as a junior and eighth back on November 1. He also owns a medal in track after the 4×800 relay team of Macknair, Seth Phillips, Brayden Harris and Garren Wolfgang placed seventh at states last spring.

Macknair owns 10 class records, two school records, nine district medals with three district titles and three Mid-Penn championships. He will major in secondary education. His choice of Shipp came down to coaching, tradition and the school’s rich heritage of producing teachers.

“Shippensburg has one of the best tracks and cross country programs around. They have two of the finest coaches and they have been recruiting me for years,” Macknair said. “I’m ready to go get this at the next level. Let’s go for All-American status and NCAA championship. The sky is the limit. Let’s go. The academics fit in with what I want to do when my athletic career ends.”

Mifflin County boys’ cross-country coach Greg Loht stressed his impact on the program and the success he’ll have at Shippensburg.

“It’s been a real pleasure coaching Chayce for the last four years. He’s a special kid who made his mark in both sports,” Loht said. “He impressed with me with his ability. He’s won the best kids. He’s the complete package. He’s a great student, a great team leader and he works hard. I know he’ll have success in college. I’m very proud of him.”

Mifflin County track coach Scott Gantz summed it up best on the future of both student-athletes.

“While looking at their accomplishments and records is nice, I think the thing that stands out to me the most is the fine young people that both Chayce and Skylar have become,” Mifflin County track coach Scott Gantz said. “They are class representatives for Mifflin County High School. As a coach, it makes you proud to have people like that represent your program. I know they’re going to do great things.”