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The Preps : Girls’ Athlete of the Week : Franke Likes Taking Discus Out for a Spin

Times Staff Writer

When discus Coach Mike Castaneda saw Allison Franke in the Canyon High School weight room three years ago, his eyes lit up.

“I saw her and said, ‘Good grief! What a body this girl has,’ ” Castaneda said. “She wasn’t very muscular. She just looked solid.”

He asked her to do a chin-up, an exercise, he says, some football players have trouble doing even two of. She did seven.

“So I grabbed her right away and asked her to come out for the discus and give it a try,” he said.

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Franke did. It took her only three days to master the tricky spin required on a discus throw. It normally takes a month, Castaneda said.

Franke, The Times’ athlete of the week, has been perfecting her discus throw ever since. Saturday, she was named the athlete of the meet at the 17-school Mission Viejo Girls’ Track and Field Invitational for the second consecutive year.

In the discus, she broke her meet record of 149 feet 10 inches with a winning toss of 151-7. She placed second in the long jump (17-6), second in the triple jump (36-2 3/4) and third in the 110-meter hurdles (16.09)--accounting for 32 of her team’s 37 points. The Comanches finished fifth.

Thursday in a dual meet against El Modena, she had her best discus distance this season: 154-8. That is the third-best throw of any high school athlete in the nation this season.

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Her personal record is 158-4 set at the Masters Championships at Cerritos last year. The national high school record is 176-4, set in 1982 by Cindy Johnson of Chandler, Ariz.

At El Modena, she also won the 110-meter hurdles (15.5 seconds), the long jump (16-8) and the triple jump (36-8 1/2). She compiled 40 points to help Canyon (1-0) win its Century League opener, 68-59.

Canyon has not lost a Century League meet since her arrival as a sophomore in 1987.

“I would say she is the most dominant athlete we have had here in 14 years,” track Coach Mike Sayward said of Franke.

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“I would say she is the best because of the consistency of her performance and her domination. Her dedication to practice makes her good and she is a quick learner.”

Franke, who has thrown in the 160-foot range in practice, says the best is yet to come.

“I feel like I’ve got a big throw coming,” she said. “I haven’t been putting my full power into it.”

Franke injured a hip muscle over Thanksgiving, but now she is back in stride.

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From close to 100 inquiries, she has narrowed her college choices to Oregon, USC, Southern Methodist, Brigham Young and Georgia.

She hopes to make the 1992 Olympic team, but not just for the discus. “I really want to try the heptathlon,” she said. “I love doing all those events, plus it keeps you in great shape.”

TOP PERFORMERS

Allison Axtell of Mission Viejo placed first in the long jump (17-9 1/2), the 400 meters (59.67) and ran legs on the Diablos’ winning 400- and 1,600-meter relays at the Mission Viejo Girls’ Track and Field Invitational.

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Paige Lauby had three hits, including a game-winning single to center with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, for El Toro (11-5) in a 4-3 victory over Los Alamitos Thursday.

Laguna Hills’ Margo Melendrez (6-2) struck out nine on the way to the first perfect game of her career, a 4-0 victory over Magnolia Tuesday. She also went three for four with three stolen bases.

Allison Franke

Canyon High School

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Position: Discus thrower, long jumper, triple jumper and 110-meter hurdler.

Height, Weight, Class: 5-9 1/2, 150, Senior

Last Week: Franke’s discus throw of 154-8 against El Modena Thursday is the third best in the nation this year for a high school girl.

Season: Franke, undefeated in the discus in three meets this season, won four events against El Modena.

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