Freshman Valarie Allman had a spectacular collegiate debut for the Stanford women's track and field team on Saturday, throwing the discus 187 feet, 7 inches to win the California Outdoor Opener at Edwards Stadium.
Valarie Allman/Photo by Norbert von der Groeben/Isiphotos.com
"From the first moment, every single nerve in my body was tingling," Allman said. "I couldn't believe the season was actually here. When I got in the circle for the first time, I was shaking so much. I thought it was going to fall out of my hands."
The throw would have placed her second at the NCAA championships last year. It also makes places her No. 1 among all college throwers this season, though most schools have not competed outdoors.
Allman broke her personal record by more than three feet, which is significant because her high school best of 184-2 placed her 16th in the U.S. last year among all throwers, including collegians and professionals.
"We're still in the middle of our training so I wasn't sure what was going to happen," she said. "There's still a lot to work on, but it's exciting to see it's starting to come together. I see the light at the end of the tunnel with all the training."
The throw also meets the qualifying standard for the IAAF World Junior Championships, which will be held in Eugene, Ore., this summer.
Stanford's throwing unit, minus its exceptional women's javelin throwers, took center stage at the low-key meet that also included California, UC Davis, and San Francisco. Stanford brought eight athletes, including five throwers.
Rebecca Hammer, Allman's training partner, broke a personal record in the hammer throw by more than 16 feet. Her winning throw of 174-2 places her at No. 9 on Stanford's all-time list.
Another Stanford personal best was achieved by Lucas Rowley in the men's discus. Rowley's 161-9 placed him sixth, but he was second in his specialty, the hammer, with a throw of 194-8.
The meet also marked the outdoor collegiate debut of Stanford freshman Dylan Duvio, who won the pole vault at 16-6 ¾.
Duvio joined his brother Dalton, a Stanford junior, in the competition with their parents Todd and Racquel Duvio on hand from their native Louisiana. Dalton was second at 15-5 ¾.
Allman is splitting time between the discus and a new event, the hammer. She was fifth in that event Saturday at 155-2, but believes sharing the focus will ultimately help her in the discus.
She also credits her training partner, Hammar, and the training she is receiving from Stanford associate head coach Michelle Eisenreich, who is making adjustments to Allman's technique.
"The biggest thing Coach E has done is dedicated more time and energy into us as throwers and people than I could have ever imagined," Allman said. "She really cares about the big picture while we're looking at it meet by meet. We trust her and know that she's working toward something big.
"I can't express how grateful I am to have her as our coach because she's just a miracle worker. That's the best way to say it. I'm really looking forward to being able to continue this journey with her."