Giger records personal best in Pan Am track and field meet


Stanford's Lena Giger earned a silver medal in the women's hammer throw at the Pan Am Junior Track and Field Championships on Friday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, reaching 190-3 on her final toss to break her own school freshman record.

The women's hammer was the first final of the three-day competition that acts as the championship of the Americas for those 19 and under. Giger is among four Stanford athletes competing – three representing the United States and one for Canada.

Among them is Harrison Williams, the school decathlon record-holder and Pac-12 runner-up. Williams is aiming for the U.S. junior national record, which seems within his grasp after the first day of the 10-event competition.

Williams won four of the first five events and leads the competition with 4,182 points, 377 ahead of runner-up Travis Toliver of the U.S. Williams is far ahead of his first-day 4,098, which he scored on the way to 8,001 at the U.S. junior championships in June. That score left him shy of the American junior record of 8,018 set by Gunnar Nixon in 2012, but this time Williams is in much better position.

Williams bettered his best in the 100, though his 10.67 was aided by a non-legal 2.9 meters-per-second wind, and tied a personal record in the high jump (6-8).

Giger found herself in danger of missing the eight-thrower final after fouling on her first two throws. One more would result in elimination.

"I became pretty nervous pretty quickly," Giger said via text-message.

Giger had strong weeks of training leading up to the meet and felt confident in her ability to compete, but needed some reassurance from Stanford associate head coach for throws Michelle Eisenreich to get through.

"She was a huge help with getting me to calm down mentally, as well as helping figure out what to fix technically," Giger said. "Once I threw a fair throw and made finals, I knew that I just had to go for it. My body knew what it needed to do. I just had to get out of my own way."

Giger's third throw stayed in the sector and traveled 178-3, enough to squeeze into sixth place and earn three more throws for the final.

At that point, Giger felt she could be aggressive. Even though she fouled again, on her fourth throw, she uncorked a personal record 190-1 on her fifth to break the Stanford freshman record of 188-3 she set in her collegiate debut.

She broke the mark again on her final throw, which also placed Giger No. 5 on Stanford's all-time performers' list.

"I'm super excited with my performance," Giger said. "I'm looking forward to begin training for next season."

At the National Junior Olympics in Jacksonville, Fla., Menlo School sophomore Robert Miranda took third place in the 15-16 boys' 3,000-meter race on Friday. Miranda ran in 9 minutes, 11.54 seconds at the University of Florida's Hodges Stadium. The winner was Michal Swapson in 9:07.41. Miranda's time would have ranked eighth in the 17-18 division.

— David Kiefer/Stanford Athletics

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