Sports

Brooks, Allman win Pac-12 titles on final day of track and field event

 

Darian Brooks and Valarie Allman made Stanford history by winning titles on the final day of the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships on Sunday at UCLA's Drake Stadium.

Brooks earned a triple jump repeat, becoming the first Stanford male to win back-to-back titles since Gabe Jennings won 1,500-meter crowns from 2000-02.

Allman, a sophomore, became Stanford's first conference women's discus champion, with a throw of 187-3.

She joined Saturday winners Brianna Bain (javelin) and Jessica Tonn (10,000) as champions, helping Stanford to third as a team, with 87 points -- its highest total in three years.

Brooks, a senior psychology major with a fifth year of eligibility remaining, jumped 52-0 1/2 to outlast second cousin and high school teammate Casey Burns of Washington, who was second in a personal-record 51-8.

Brooks was the only men's champion from Stanford, which was ninth with 64 1/2 points.

Brooks competed outdoors only once this year, April 4 at the Big Meet against Cal, because of ailments, but he has proven to be able to overcome inactivity.

Last year, he was sidelined for much of the season and still set four personal records during a Pac-12 competition that culminated with breaking a 44-year-old school record on the final jump to win.

This time, Brooks' farthest jump (52-0 1/4, 15.86 meters) came on his second try, which was fortunate because he had trouble hitting a consistent step pattern – partly due to a swirling wind -- and did not have to rally to win.

Meanwhile, he watched his cousin Burns come close. Burns graduated in the same class at Seattle's Kennedy Catholic High, but joined the Army and now is in freshman season of eligibility. Burns reached 51-8 ½ on his second-to-last jump – just four inches shy of Brooks.

"It feels good," Brooks said. "I came out last year and performed a lot better than I did today, but given the circumstances I guess it turned out well for me. There are a lot of good guys out there. It was a good time."

Brooks is looking forward to improving up his mark at the NCAA West Prelims in Austin, Texas, on May 28-30 and at the NCAA Championships in mid-June in Eugene, Ore.

"It's good to know that I still have it," Brooks said. "And I'm going to come back even stronger for regionals. I really wanted 16 meters. I know I have a lot more in me."

And, as for next year?

"I'm going to go for three," he pronounced.

Allman entered the completion as the No. 3 seed in a stacked women's discus field. She threw out of the sector for a foul on her first try, but secured a 178-0 mark on her second throw to give her some breathing room and the opportunity to go for it on her third.

"Our coach (Michelle Eisenreich) preaches on how we have to keep every day the same," Allman said. "Stay relaxed, and build off the momentum we've had the last couple of weeks. Understand the process, and take your struggles and work them to your advantage."

Allman indeed popped her best throw on her third try, but had to wait until the final throw of USC junior Tera Novy was measured (it was 185-9, 18 inches short) before she could enjoy the victory.

"It feels really good and, honestly a little bit surreal right now," Allman said.

Bain's javelin victory on Saturday also played into Allman's success, and that of teammate Rebecca Hammar, who was fifth in the discus at 177-1.

"That win really set a good tone for the Stanford throwers from the start, and established the kind of effort it's going to take to win," Allman said. "It's so much more enjoyable when you know you're in this together and you can hold each other accountable."

The Cardinal men added three runner-up finishes -- Harrison Williams in the decathlon the previous weekend, Erik Olson in the 10,000 on Saturday and Jackson Shumway's shocker in the 400 hurdles on Sunday.

Shumway entered the meet with a personal best of 53.00, and dropped his times in the preliminary round and in the final -- to a personal-record 51.45.

Shumway improved his best by more than 1.5 seconds over the weekend and displaced his father, Garry Shumway, on Stanford's all-time list.

Jackson moved to No. 6 while Garry, with a best of 51.71 from 1981, dropped to No. 7.

Two freshmen women made big jumps on the Stanford all-time lists: Olivia Baker and Elise Cranny.

Baker dropped her personal record in the 800 by two seconds, to finish third in 2:04.00 -- placing her from off the list all the way to No. 4.

It also makes her the second-fastest freshman in school history, moving past Regina Jacobs.

Cranny couldn't catch reigning NCAA champion Shelby Houlihan of Arizona State in the 1,500, but captured fourth in 4:14.05 to move past Sara Bei, Justine Fedronic, and Lauren Fleshman into No. 6 on Stanford's all-time list and within a second of Cardinal frosh record-holder Arianna Lambie.

In the men's 200, freshman Isaiah Brandt-Sims placed eighth in 21.38, but was the first Stanford runner to reach a final in one of the short sprints since Mark Mueller was sixth in the 200 in 2010.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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