Sports


Little throws a long way to capture Pac-12 javelin title

 

Freshman Mackenzie Little continued the streak that Brianna Bain put into place by giving Stanford its' fifth consecutive women's javelin title at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Husky Track.

Little threw 176 feet, 2 inches on the fourth of her six throws to win by 30 feet.

She was the only Stanford champion on the first of two days of competition, though Dylan Duvio overcame the elements in a men's pole vault competition delayed two hours by rain, and finished second at a season-best 17-4 1/2. The Stanford men are sixth with 22 points after eight events, and the Cardinal women are eighth with 20 after seven.

Among Stanford's top performances were fourth- and fifth-places finishes by Jack Keelan (29:13.92) and Garrett Sweatt (29:15.67) in the men's 10,000 meters. Vanessa Fraser was fourth in the women's 10,000 in 33:55.99, a lifetime best that places her No. 10 in Stanford history. In the steeplechase, Danielle Katz (10:11.11) and Steven Fahy (8:46.69) each was sixth in a personal-record time, with Katz jumping to No. 4 at Stanford all-time and Fahy, a sophomore, moving into the men's top-10 list at No. 9.

Little extended a Stanford streak of years with at least one individual victory to 20, the longest such streak in the conference.

"It's really lovely," said Little, the 2013 World Youth champion from Sydney, Australia. "I didn't throw my best, but I was able to get the points for Stanford, so that's fabulous."

Rain fell during warmups and during half the competition, but the Little wasn't bothered. She didn't need to change her approach run. The only difference was the need to dry off the grips before each throw. She came in as the top seed by a large margin and she could have stopped after her first throw (166-3) and won handily.

"I don't really thrive under too much pressure usually, but this is something I just had to do," Little said. "I was expected to come out on top and I managed to do that, so I'm happy."

Little follows in the footsteps of Stanford's Brianna Bain, who won the past four conference titles. Their paths crossed during Little's recruiting trip and she was very much aware of her predecessor. Little, who is No. 2 on Stanford's all-time performers' list behind Bain, is keeping the tradition alive. She has won four of her five collegiate meets.

"It's great for the throws program and shows how much work we've been putting in," Little said.

Duvio and the rest of the pole vaulters began warmups several times before the competition was repeatedly pushed back. Pole vault is regarded as the most dangerous event to attempt in the rain because of the possibility of slipping off the pole or the pole slipping in the plant box.

When Duvio finally took his first jump, at 16-2 3/4, both calves cramped up. Athletic trainer Justin Police came onto the infield and massaged Duvio's calves for the remainder of the competition.

"I probably wouldn't have jumped as well as I did if it wasn't for Justin," Duvio said.

Duvio tried to take as few attempts as possible – passing twice after cramping up at 16-2 3/4 and passing at 17-2 3/4 and 17-6 1/2. He took his final jumps at 17-10 ½ because that was the only way he could beat Washington's Jax Thoirs, who was perfect through the winning height of 17-8 1/2.

"I'm exhausted right now. Totally exhausted," said Duvio, after more than 4 1/2 hours of warming up and competing. But his ability to do well in adverse conditions strengthened his confidence going into the NCAA Prelims in two weeks and nationals after that, especially after the All-America cleared 17-0 only once in five previous outdoor meets this year.

"I'm just really stoked," Duvio said. "I'm really ready to go out and compete like I did today. I feel that will carry me on to nationals. Nationals will be the place to be."

— David Kiefer/Stanford Athletics

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