Taryn Ashby Completes Historic Career


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Taryn Ashby (above) holds the top 8 javelin throws in Villanova women’s track and field history.

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

Talent alone does not produce a champion. Hard work mixed with talent results in championships. Taryn Ashby, a javelin thrower who recently completed her fifth and final year at Villanova, executed this formula to perfection.

Ashby was the first ever Big East athlete to win four consecutive javelin titles. She holds the top eight marks in Villanova women’s track and field history, including her top launch of 50.69 meters in 2021.  

Now that Ashby has exhausted her eligibility and graduated, how does she process all the success?

“It’s unbelievable,” Ashby said. “If you told me five years ago that any of my career was possible, I would’ve probably said you’re nuts. And then, just to know that all of that hard work built up to the career that came to be, it’s remarkable.”

The talent originated from her family. Her father, Andy, pitched for five MLB teams, including the Phillies, Braves, Dodgers, Padres and Rockies. Her sisters, Eastin and Madison, played college basketball at Emerson and Scranton. 

Competition from her sisters fueled her desire to improve.

“If they did something, I wanted to be as good as them, if not better,” Ashby said. “And we would just push ourselves, whether it was in basketball or swimming or getting the groceries out of the car fast enough.”

Her father aided in cementing Ashby’s mental edge, lending advice and allowing her to carry out her training the way she needed to.

“He’s been in those situations where it’s high pressure,” Ashby said. “So if I was nervous, or if I felt something was off, he was always that one person that I could call that can relate, especially on that professional level where he knows exactly what I’m going through.”

Ashby’s hard work started in high school. Ashby was a three sport athlete who played soccer, basketball and softball. Her older sister, Eastin, was a senior on the Pittston Area track and field team when Taryn was a freshman. Eastin’s athletic career helped spark Ashby’s track and field journey.

Joe Struckus, the head track and field coach at Pittston, knew the team needed javelin throwers, so he attended one of Ashby’s softball practices. When he inquired about Ashby’s ever throwing a javelin, her response as a freshman in high school was simple.

“No. Never,” Ashby said, surprised.

Her inexperience did not stand in the way, as her experience in other sports allowed her to quickly improve with the javelin. Ashby learned much from the other sports, including her favorite sport, basketball. It was her first sport, starting at the age of three, and it taught her the importance of possessing mental fortitude, competing on every play, trusting her skills and training to the peak of her ability. 

She credited the other sports to building her strength as well. With the physicality of the sports and conditioning and running for soccer, Ashby carried that strength to basketball and softball. Ashby also saw similarities with the throwing in softball to the throwing in javelin with the sidearm motion of softball to the over-the-top motion of javelin. 

However, there was one common thread that she learned from all sports: she craved winning and the competition that it takes to be victorious. To be victorious, the keys were to stay in shape and have a sharp mind.

For Ashby, the winning throws are formulated when no one is watching during the off-season grind in the winter months, indoors, in the weight room. The details are crucial.

“[Javelin is] so technique focused, where it’s like, nitpicking everything about where your foot’s positioned or your arm’s going,” Ashby said.

Repetition over time is vital to see improvement.

During the offseason, Ashby trains at the Javelin Factory in Mary D, Pennsylvania. The facility is run by Barry Krammes, a two-time All-American at East Stroudsburg University who made the finals in the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Ashby credited him for giving her the foundation to excel, especially with partner positioning and ball throwing drills.

After all the preparation is completed and the results are in, what advice does Taryn have for future Villanova javelin throwers?

“Trust your teammates,” Taryn said. “Trust your coaches. It’s a commitment and it’s so worth it.”