The planning and execution of the 39th Stanford Invitational had resulted in a track and field meet that braved downpours and uneven weather on Friday, welcomed the sun on Saturday, and was the site of exciting track and field throughout.
“One of the things we always talk about is this: Everybody’s tough when things are perfect, who’s tough when things aren’t,” said Chris Miltenberg, Stanford’s Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field.
The epitome of that was Friday night in the men’s collegiate discus competition. From his vantage point, Miltenberg could overhear many throwers complaining about the rain.
“And Lucas Rowley quietly comes into the ring and does what he does all the time, put in a great effort, and stayed focused when things weren’t perfect.”
Rowley broke his personal record by 14 feet and won that competition with a throw of 174-9.
“That’s a big testament to his toughness and where we’re going,” Miltenberg said.
Saturday’s performances were centered around the field events. Darian Brooks broke his personal record in triple jump to progress to No. 9 on Stanford’s all-time list, jumping 50-6 ½ to finish third.
Freshman Valarie Allman continued her string of impressive performances, throwing the discus 184-5 to finish second the invitational. She has thrown farther than 180 feet in each of her first three meets to begin her collegiate career.
On the track, though Kristyn Williams’ effort was hidden in the third leg of the second section of the 4x400 relay, she reeled off a split of 52.27. That was about a half-second faster than her winning 400 time of 52.70 from Friday.
“I never talk numbers with her, ‘hit this mark and come through at this …’ “ said Stanford associate head coach Jody Stewart, who coaches the sprints and hurdles. “But there are things we want to improve on. The reality is, there’s a lot of room to grow. It’s early on and we’re at that time of year where we’re rebuilding the engine.”
The champ of Friday’s 1,500 meters, Tyler Stutzman, followed with a 1:49.87 to finish seventh in the 800 on Saturday in a personal record. Marco Bertolotti was not far behind in 1:50.93 for 13th in another personal best.
By dipping under 1:50, Stutzman further illustrated the strength and depth of Stanford’s middle distance group. By the numbers:
• Three Stanford men have lifetime bests under 1:50 for 800.
• Seven are under 1:51.
• Four are under 3:45 for 1,500.
• Twelve are under 3:50
• Sixteen are under 3:52.
Last year, Stanford had four runners finish the year at 3:46 or faster in the 1,500. On Friday, Stanford had six at 3:47 or faster. And that was their first meet.
Stutzman’s 1,500 victory Friday came despite not having any indoor eligibility this winter and running only one race unattached indoors. Still, he beat 2013 NCAA runner-up Zach Perkins of Air Force and Washington indoor mile All-America Izaic Yorks, among others, in a strong field and celebrated with assorted gyrations as he crossed the line.
“To run as decisively and assertively as he did over his last lap shows me that he’s in a great spot,” said Chris Miltenberg, Stanford’s Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field. “Once he’s clicking and race sharp, he’s going to be running with anybody in America.”
Miltenberg was just as excited about watching freshman Malika Waschmann, in her first collegiate outdoor meet, run a strong 4x400 anchor to bounce bad after a 400 hurdles debut that she probably would like to forget.
“Whether it’s the first meet of the year or the NCAA championships, we’re going to put forth the same level of effort,” Miltenberg said. “Once we start hitting it, great things are going to come when we put in this kind of effort.”
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Stanford’s Saturday results:
800 – 7, Tyler Stutzman 1:49.87 (personal best); 13, Marco Bertolotti 1:50.93 (personal best); 18, Dylan Ferris (alumni) 1:51.24; 27, Justin Brinkley 1:51.72; 37, Thomas Coyle 1:52.78; 48, Will Drinkwater 1:53.44.
4x400 relay – 13, Stanford (Miguel Shaw, Luke Lefebure, Scott Buttinger, Justin Brinkley) 3:17.59.
Triple jump (invitational) – 3, Darian Brooks 50-6 ¾ (15.41) (personal best; No. 9 Stanford all-time).
Shot put (collegiate) – 17, Sina Javidan-Nejad (unattached) 42-4 (12.90m).
Hammer – 12, Lucas Rowley 181-7 (55.34m).
800 – 59, Hannah Brown 2:13.91; 63, Molly McNamara 2:14.91; 69, Sophia Ginez 2:17.51.
4x400 relay – 8, Stanford (Amabel Stokes, Claudia Saunders, Kristyn Williams, Malika Waschmann) 3:44.60.
Discus (invitational) – 2, Valarie Allman 184-5 (56.22m); 4, Rebecca Hammar 169-3 (51.59m).
Hammer (collegiate) – 6, Rebecca Hammar 168-7 (51.39m); 14, Valarie Allman 158-1 (48.19m) (personal best).