USATF Women’s Discus — A Great Battle For The Final Spot

Defending champ Valarie Allman secured her top position on her first throw. (MIKE SCOTT)

DEFENDING CHAMP Valarie Allman came in as the strong favorite and a first-throw winner of 211-1 (64.34) confirmed her status as the best in the nation. Kelsey Card’s opening 204-7 (62.37) put her in 2nd to stay; she strengthened her grip on her place on the WC team with a last throw of 207-9 (63.33), her yearly best. Allman, a 24-year-old Stanford alum still won by just over a meter.

Two throws, two podium places, and it was the battle for 3rd that provided the excitement and drama. In the second round, Iowa’s NCAA champion Laulauga Tausaga moved into the bronze position with her 201-9 (61.51), only to have Whitney Ashley top that by a centimeter in round 3. In front of family, friends and her entire Iowa base (“Everyone was there!”), Tausaga answered with a fourth-round 203-8 (62.08) and assured herself a place on her first WC team. “I feel like it showed my maturity,” said Tausaga. “I felt like I took myself to the next level.”

Gia Lewis-Smallwood, who finished 5th, had the most consistent series with 5 throws between 195-11 (59.72) and 201-9 (61.51), but she could not muster the one long one it would have taken for the 4-time national champion to step on the podium one more time. The ’16 winner, Ashley, had a similarly consistent series but also without the one big throw that would have made all the difference; she finished 4th.

The throwers coped with a significant crosswind which was gusting at times. “In discus it is nice to have a nice constant wind,” said Allman, “but in the U.S. Championships you never know what you are going to get. Wind is something you can think about, but it is better to think about your technical cues and work on those.” In challenging conditions, only one PR and one seasonal best were recorded.

The spirit of the outside-the-stadium crowd and the atmosphere in which they threw were noted and appreciated by the throwers. Said Card, “I was so pumped when we walked out there and saw all of the fans. It was great!” Added Allman, “It brought so much to my heart. It’s so exciting especially when the field events are outside the stadium. When the crowds come it really makes for a great environment.”

In Allman’s first professional year she has gained a deeper appreciation of the sport and of her potential place in it. At the same time, the sport has gained a deeper appreciation of Allman. She reflected, “This year I’ve definitely recognized how much I want to pursue this sport and maximize my potential.”


USATF WOMEN’S DISCUS RESULTS

(July 28)

1. Valarie Allman (OisNYAC) 211-1 (64.34)

(211-1, f, 195-10, 204-8, f, 200-5) (64.34, f, 59.69, 62.38, f, 61.08);

2. Kelsey Card (unat) 207-9 (63.33)

(204-7, f, 203-11, f, 196-1, 207-9) (62.37, f, 62.15, f, 59.77, 63.33);

3. Laulauga Tausaga (Ia) 203-8 (62.08)

(f, 201-9, f, 203-8, 193-2, f) (f, 61.51, f, 62.08, 58.88, f);

4. Whitney Ashley (unat) 201-10 (61.52)

(f, 179-5, 201-10, 197-9, 198-8, 197-5) (f, 54.70, 61.52, 60.29, 60.57, 60.19);

5. Gia Lewis-Smallwood (NYAC) 201-9 (61.51)

(201-9, 201-8, 195-11, 199-10, f, 201-9) (61.49, 61.47, 59.72, 60.90, f, 61.51);

6. Jere Summers (unat) 195-9 (59.66) PR;

7. Alex Collatz Sellens (unat) 191-3 (58.30);

8. Summer Pierson (unat) 187-7 (57.19);

9. Deborah Ajagbe (Mia) 185-3 (56.46);

10. Abigale Wilson (Akron) 184-4 (56.20);

11. Micaela Hazlewood (Ky) 183-6 (55.94);

12. Sarah Thornton (Iron) 182-2 (55.53);

13. Alex Morgan (Vel) 181-3 (55.24);

14. Sydney Laufenberg (IlSt) 176-6 (53.81);

15. Gabriella Jacobs (unat) 161-2 (49.12);

16. Alyssa Wilson (UCLA) 152-1 (46.36);

17. Seasons Usual (TxT) 144-11 (44.17);… nm—Rachel Dincoff (Iron). ◻︎

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