NCAA Track and Field Championships : DeSnoo Gives SDSU 1 More Chance : She Becomes School’s Third Finalist With Mark in Discus
San Diego State’s Laura DeSnoo qualified for the finals Thursday with a discus throw of 184-feet 8-inches at the NCAA track and field championships. The discus finals will be Saturday.
LaTanya Sheffield (400 hurdles) and Renee Ross (800 meters) are the only other SDSU athletes competing in the finals of their events. Both will be held today.
The hammer throw finals will be held Saturday. Oregon’s Ken Flax is favored.
Flax, contending that he had three technically bad tosses, broke the meet record in the hammer throw three times and equaled the collegiate mark Thursday during qualifying.
His best throw of 255 feet 1 inch came on the last of his attempts and matched the record set this year by Washington State’s Tore Gustafsson of Sweden.
However, Flax’s throw was measured metrically at 78.74 meters, compared with 78.76 for Gustafsson. The imperial conversions, though, are the same.
Gustafsson had set the meet record of 246-10 in last year’s final, and Flax surpassed that distance on his first attempt in the qualifying, throwing 247-11. He followed that with a toss of 252-6, breaking the American collegiate record of 249-5, which he set last week.
“Technically, all three throws were poor,” Flax said. “I didn’t ‘stick’ the finish. If you stick the finish, that’s another 10 feet.
“But I did get some good speed in the throws and that helped.”
The hammer throw qualifying had been postponed from Wednesday because of thunderstorms and lightning. The final also was pushed back a day, from today to Saturday.
Gustafsson, who had expressed dissatisfaction with the postponements--claiming that meet officials “don’t care” about the hammer throw--qualified for the final with a throw of 222-4. He fouled on his other two attempts.
Gustafsson and Flax are friends off the field but strong rivals inside the hammer throw ring.
Gustafsson, 24, a licensed bricklayer, has beaten Flax in four of their five meetings, his only loss coming in the 1985 Pacific 10 Conference Championships, “when I got robbed.”
“Just about every time I throw against him, he chokes and I PR (do my personal best),” Flax said.
“I’m not worried,” Gustafsson said. “I want to throw 260 (in the final).
“The reason I didn’t throw well today was I just came out to qualify,” said Gustafsson, who threw two flights after Flax. “When I heard he had thrown far, I wanted to throw farther.
“I know there will be a little more pressure on me now. I know there will be more competition in the final than there was last year. He’s really throwing well.
“But this was just qualifying. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you make the final.
“This is going to put some pressure on him, but it doesn’t mean a thing,” said Flax, a walk-on at Oregon four years ago. “Today doesn’t count. Saturday’s a whole new ballgame.”
Flax, the only U.S. native among the top 10 all-time collegiate hammer throwers, will be trying to become the first American to win the event in the NCAA meet since Boris Djerassi of Northeastern University in 1975.
“It’s time for an American to come through in this meet,” he said.
“This is the meet we’ve worked for all year.’
While Flax’s throws were impressive, they still were far short of the world record of 283-3 held by Yuriy Syedikh of the Soviet Union and the American mark of 265-5 held by Jud Logan.