Sports

Stanford splits the best track and field meet of the year

If the first event didn't show that the 125th Big Meet was going to be a good one, the second event surely did.

Moments after Mackenzie Little unleashed the longest throw by a collegian this year, of 195-1 (59.47 meters), breaking her own meet record, Liam Christensen followed with a school record in the men's javelin.

In a performance that truly was Beamonesque by Stanford's standards, Christensen crushed Trevor Danielson's year-old school record – by nearly 10 feet. Christensen eclipsed his lifetime best by 13 feet. And the meet record? That went down by a mere 20 feet.

Christensen's distance was 245-4 (74.78 meters). Keep in mind that Danielson's record of 235-7 (71.80m) got him fourth at the NCAA Championships last spring.

Christensen, a redshirt freshman and 2017 U.S. junior national champion, was making only his second collegiate appearance and first at Stanford. He becomes the third-farthest thrower in the NCAA this season.

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Those were merely two of five meet records set Saturday at Cobb Track and Angell Field in the longstanding rivalry. But this meet is about the teams, and those results were split.

The Stanford women beat California, 86-74. If was the fifth consecutive year the Cardinal has won, and extended a streak of victories at Cobb Track and Angell Field that began in 1997.

In a meet that was decided in the final event, the 4x400 relay, the Stanford men fell to Cal, 85-78. In a strange pattern, the Cal men have won the past four editions at Stanford, while the Cardinal has won five of the past six at Cal.

The Big Meet offers the rare opportunity for athletes to do all they can to score points and help the team. Little was a great example. By winning the Big Meet javelin for the fourth consecutive year, she extended Stanford's winning streak in the rivalry to 17, the streak by either team in any event.

She also exceeded 190 feet for the fourth consecutive meet, dating back to her NCAA-winning throw of last year. No one else in collegiate track has reached that barrier even once.

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But Little still wanted to contribute and, for the first time, as a collegian, she put the shot. She wasn't close to winner Jaimi Salone of Stanford, with a lifetime best 47-3 ¾ (14.42m). Little's best distance was 37-2 ½ (11.34m) and she didn't score. But it was a welcomed effort nonetheless.

The busiest Cardinal were Harrison Williams and Hannah Labrie-Smith. Williams, the reigning Pac-12 decathlon champ, won the pole vault, and was second in the long jump, high jump and 200.

Labrie-Smith won the 400 hurdles, ran the second leg on the winning 4x400 relay, led off Stanford's second-place 4x100 team, and was third in the 100 hurdles.

Double winners in individual events were Grant Fisher and Steven Fahy. Fisher, making his season outdoor debut, repeated as the 1,500 winner, and followed with a rare venture into the 800. A patient Fisher used a late charge to win that one in a personal best 1:51.86.

Fahy, the reigning Pac-12 steeplechase champ, won his specialty in a meet record 8:45.49, and followed with a 3,000 victory in 8:12.51.

Another big moment came in the women's high jump. Fifth-year senior Rachel Reichenbach broke a longheld personal record of 5-8 3/4 (1.75m) by clearing 5-9 1/4 (1.76m).

The difference was only a centimeter, but it represented by a barrier that Reichenbach has worked years to break through. Her reaction, a joyous one, reflected that.

Launched by the 1-2 finish of Little and Jenna Gray in the first event, the javelin, Stanford took a quick lead that it held until Cal used a 1-2 finish in the discus to take a 74-72 lead after 17 events and two to go.

But Stanford's Fiona O'Keeffe, Jessica Lawson, and Abbie McNulty ran a controlled race that whisked the trio far ahead of the nearest Cal competitor, and the sweep not only allowed Stanford to regain the lead, at 81-74, but to clinch the victory.

Sophomore Carolyn Wilson, who tripled after winning the 800 (2:06.63) and placing second in the 4x100, anchored the Cardinal to victory in the 4x400 with split of 53.8.

The men's meet outdid the women's by going down to the final event. Williams' victory in the pole vault put Stanford ahead, 77-72, with two events to go. Even after Cal scored 8 of the 9 points is in the discus to take an 80-78 lead, Stanford still could pull out the meet with a 4x400 triumph.

After two legs, the relay was even. Cal pulled slightly ahead going into the final exchange, which matched the day's 400 hurdles winner, Cal's Paramveer Chohan, with the day's 400 winner, Stanford's Louis Stenmark, on the anchor.

Stenmark got the baton about two steps behind Chohan, and Stenmark attempted to pass as they came off the final turn. Chohan responded well and held off Stanford's Aussie. Chohan split 45.9 and Stenmark, who ran a 46.7 split himself, would have needed to run a perfect race to win.

At the first Big Meet, on April 22, 1893, at the Olympic Club Grounds in San Francisco, Stanford's C.G. Adams won an event called "throwing league ball" with a toss listed as 345-7. As impressive as that must have been, Little and Christensen have taken the art of throwing to quite another level.

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— David Kiefer

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Stanford splits the best track and field meet of the year

Uploaded: Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 1:54 am
Updated: Mon, Apr 8, 2019, 8:38 pm

If the first event didn't show that the 125th Big Meet was going to be a good one, the second event surely did.

Moments after Mackenzie Little unleashed the longest throw by a collegian this year, of 195-1 (59.47 meters), breaking her own meet record, Liam Christensen followed with a school record in the men's javelin.

In a performance that truly was Beamonesque by Stanford's standards, Christensen crushed Trevor Danielson's year-old school record – by nearly 10 feet. Christensen eclipsed his lifetime best by 13 feet. And the meet record? That went down by a mere 20 feet.

Christensen's distance was 245-4 (74.78 meters). Keep in mind that Danielson's record of 235-7 (71.80m) got him fourth at the NCAA Championships last spring.

Christensen, a redshirt freshman and 2017 U.S. junior national champion, was making only his second collegiate appearance and first at Stanford. He becomes the third-farthest thrower in the NCAA this season.

Those were merely two of five meet records set Saturday at Cobb Track and Angell Field in the longstanding rivalry. But this meet is about the teams, and those results were split.

The Stanford women beat California, 86-74. If was the fifth consecutive year the Cardinal has won, and extended a streak of victories at Cobb Track and Angell Field that began in 1997.

In a meet that was decided in the final event, the 4x400 relay, the Stanford men fell to Cal, 85-78. In a strange pattern, the Cal men have won the past four editions at Stanford, while the Cardinal has won five of the past six at Cal.

The Big Meet offers the rare opportunity for athletes to do all they can to score points and help the team. Little was a great example. By winning the Big Meet javelin for the fourth consecutive year, she extended Stanford's winning streak in the rivalry to 17, the streak by either team in any event.

She also exceeded 190 feet for the fourth consecutive meet, dating back to her NCAA-winning throw of last year. No one else in collegiate track has reached that barrier even once.

But Little still wanted to contribute and, for the first time, as a collegian, she put the shot. She wasn't close to winner Jaimi Salone of Stanford, with a lifetime best 47-3 ¾ (14.42m). Little's best distance was 37-2 ½ (11.34m) and she didn't score. But it was a welcomed effort nonetheless.

The busiest Cardinal were Harrison Williams and Hannah Labrie-Smith. Williams, the reigning Pac-12 decathlon champ, won the pole vault, and was second in the long jump, high jump and 200.

Labrie-Smith won the 400 hurdles, ran the second leg on the winning 4x400 relay, led off Stanford's second-place 4x100 team, and was third in the 100 hurdles.

Double winners in individual events were Grant Fisher and Steven Fahy. Fisher, making his season outdoor debut, repeated as the 1,500 winner, and followed with a rare venture into the 800. A patient Fisher used a late charge to win that one in a personal best 1:51.86.

Fahy, the reigning Pac-12 steeplechase champ, won his specialty in a meet record 8:45.49, and followed with a 3,000 victory in 8:12.51.

Another big moment came in the women's high jump. Fifth-year senior Rachel Reichenbach broke a longheld personal record of 5-8 3/4 (1.75m) by clearing 5-9 1/4 (1.76m).

The difference was only a centimeter, but it represented by a barrier that Reichenbach has worked years to break through. Her reaction, a joyous one, reflected that.

Launched by the 1-2 finish of Little and Jenna Gray in the first event, the javelin, Stanford took a quick lead that it held until Cal used a 1-2 finish in the discus to take a 74-72 lead after 17 events and two to go.

But Stanford's Fiona O'Keeffe, Jessica Lawson, and Abbie McNulty ran a controlled race that whisked the trio far ahead of the nearest Cal competitor, and the sweep not only allowed Stanford to regain the lead, at 81-74, but to clinch the victory.

Sophomore Carolyn Wilson, who tripled after winning the 800 (2:06.63) and placing second in the 4x100, anchored the Cardinal to victory in the 4x400 with split of 53.8.

The men's meet outdid the women's by going down to the final event. Williams' victory in the pole vault put Stanford ahead, 77-72, with two events to go. Even after Cal scored 8 of the 9 points is in the discus to take an 80-78 lead, Stanford still could pull out the meet with a 4x400 triumph.

After two legs, the relay was even. Cal pulled slightly ahead going into the final exchange, which matched the day's 400 hurdles winner, Cal's Paramveer Chohan, with the day's 400 winner, Stanford's Louis Stenmark, on the anchor.

Stenmark got the baton about two steps behind Chohan, and Stenmark attempted to pass as they came off the final turn. Chohan responded well and held off Stanford's Aussie. Chohan split 45.9 and Stenmark, who ran a 46.7 split himself, would have needed to run a perfect race to win.

At the first Big Meet, on April 22, 1893, at the Olympic Club Grounds in San Francisco, Stanford's C.G. Adams won an event called "throwing league ball" with a toss listed as 345-7. As impressive as that must have been, Little and Christensen have taken the art of throwing to quite another level.

— David Kiefer

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