Her Knees Were Shot, but Not Her Title Hopes


Dawn Dumble won her first two NCAA shotput titles so easily, she thought she might try winning another one with her knees tied in knots.

Dumble, a UCLA senior, is making a comeback after having had surgery on both knees in 1993 and sitting out the 1994 season. She would appear to have a good chance at her third national title in the NCAA indoor meet Saturday and Sunday at Indianapolis.

Until her knees failed her, Dumble’s career had been a steady climb. She burst on the college scene in 1991, winning the Pacific 10 Conference shotput and discus titles. In 1992, she won won her first NCAA indoor title with a put of 56 feet 11 inches.


As a junior, Dumble became the first female athlete in Pac-10 history to win the shotput and the discus throw three consecutive years. She also won the NCAA outdoor shot championship with a put of 56-4 and was second in the discus at 183-2.

Dumble credits Art Venegas, UCLA’s weight events coach, for much of her success.

“He has made me understand what it takes to be a champion,” she said. “It’s more than just throwing, it’s more than just hard work. It also takes intelligence. You have to organize and plan ahead.”

She did the same thing with the knee surgery. Dumble’s knee problems had grown steadily worse for the four-time All-American at Bakersfield High. She decided 1993 was the best year for the operations.

And the year that she spent as a redshirt wasn’t wasted.

“I got to observe things more and watch different people compete,” Dumble said. “It made me appreciate competing and training.”

She trained during her year off, reaching personal bests outdoors in both the shot, 58-7, and discus, 194-3.

Earlier this season, Dumble set a national indoor record with a put of 58-8 3/4 at Lincoln, Neb.


Dumble said she is excited to be back in competition because UCLA, which has finished third at the NCAA outdoor meet the last two years, has a good shot at the women’s outdoor team title. The Bruins have three NCAA champions, Dumble, distance runner Karen Hecox and high jumper Amy Acuff.

UCLA also has one of the best groups of female throwers in collegiate history, led by Dumble and Valeyta Althouse, who holds the school and conference outdoor record with a put of 59-5.

“Not many people can say they have been on the team with the best throwers in college history,” Dumble said. “That in itself is exciting.”

University Beat Notes

The first spring college tennis rankings will be released today and the UCLA women are expected to be ranked second, behind Georgia. . . . Pepperdine will play host to the NCAA women’s tennis tournament May 12-21 at the recently renovated Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center.

The second-ranked UCLA softball team (15-1) was upset, 5-4 in eight innings, by No. 10 Michigan (9-3) Saturday. . . . UCLA third baseman Jennifer Brundage made her first error in 47 attempts this season. She is batting .622. . . . After playing host to Arizona State (9-6), Saturday at 1 p.m., UCLA will play host to an alumni squad, featuring former star Lisa Fernandez, Sunday at 1 p.m.

The top-ranked UCLA men’s volleyball team (13-1) was upset by No. 15 Ball State (10-5) Friday, 15-5, 15-12, 15-11, in the Hall of Fame tournament at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. The Bruins might have been looking past Ball State to another tournament participant, fourth-ranked Penn State (10-3), which defeated UCLA in the NCAA final last season. In the third-place match on Saturday, UCLA defeated Springfield, 15-7, 15-6, 15-4, for Coach Al Scates’ 850th victory. . . . UCLA will retire jersey No. 43 of former star Larry Rundle on Friday when it plays host to second-ranked Stanford (10-3) at 7:30 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.