Stanford senior Brianna Bain completed a career sweep of Pac-12 women's javelin titles by capturing her fourth in dramatic fashion Saturday at UCLA's Drake Stadium.
Competing for the first time since March because of an elbow injury, Bain rallied from third on her final throw before anxiously awaiting the mark of Utah's Megan Glasmann to complete the event. Bain's throw was enough by a mere 2 feet, 7 inches.
Bain's final throw traveled 168-7 an improvement of nearly 12 feet to win the competition and enable her to become Stanford's first career-sweep winner since Erica McLain won collected four Pac-10 women's triple jump titles from 2005-08.
Bain wasn't the only Stanford athlete to repeat Jessica Tonn won her second consecutive 10,000 title, in 34:00.33 and the Cardinal women completed the first day of the two-day meet in second place, with 40 points.
Bain's "four-peat" was long-awaited.
"I've thought about this for so long," Bain said. "Before I even came to Stanford, I was working out with a friend and I told him, 'I want to win Pac-12's next year.' I don't know why I would've thought that, I would have been middle of the pack at that point. But then I won my freshman year and I've had it in my head ever since."
Complicating matters was the injury to her throwing elbow that cropped up after she threw 174-10 the top mark by a Pac-12 thrower this year while finishing fifth at the Texas Relays on March 27. Bain hadn't thrown for seven weeks prior to Saturday and has tried to stay positive knowing the elbow will require surgery following the season.
"The gameplan today was take one throw, put it out of reach and shut it down," she said. "It didn't quite work out that way."
Oregon's Liz Brenner threw a wrench into that strategy with a first-round throw of 157-9, outdistancing Bain's 148-0. Glasmann took the lead in the second round with what seemed like an insurmountable throw of 161-2.
Meanwhile, Bain struggled to gain ground and, because of the long layoff, struggled to attain any kind of comfort level.
"My first couple of throws with a normal approach were very awkward," Bain said. "I cut down my approach and tried to connect with the javelin."
With one throw left, "I knew I had it in me," she said. "I went after it, I put everything into it."
The dramatic result came in front of family, who traveled from Beaverton, Oregon, to witness it.
"I felt a lot of support," she said. "My arm held up much better than I thought. I don't know if it was adrenaline or not."