STANFORD, Calif. – Two Stanford roommates – Valarie Allman and Elise Cranny – established the best American marks of the year in their events at the Cardinal Classic at Cobb Track and Angell Field on Saturday.
Allman, a senior who is redshirting, broke a stadium record with the fourth-longest discus throw in the world this year, of 212 feet, 3 inches (64.69 meters).
Cranny, a junior, ran 4 minutes, 11.46 seconds for the fastest U.S. outdoor 1,500 and No. 2 time in the world this year. Close behind was teammate Christina Aragon, whose 4:13.43 is the seventh-fastest by an American this year and the second-fastest ever by a Stanford freshman.
"I'm trying to keep up with Val," Cranny said. "When I saw how she threw today, I was definitely inspired."
Facing a duel with Florida State's Kellion Knibb, Allman knew she had to be on her game. Last year, Knibb was second and Allman third at the NCAA Championships, separated by only an inch. Knibb went on to compete in the Olympics for her native Jamaica while Allman was sixth at the U.S. Trials, just 3'7" out of the third and final qualifying spot.
When Knibb broke her own Jamaican national record Saturday with a throw of 202-1 (61.59m) in the third round Saturday. But Knibb was unable to celebrate.
"She didn't give me a chance," Knibb said.
On the next throw, Allman unleashed her massive heave, toppling a stadium record that had stood since 2002, the 211-5 (64.44m) set at the 2002 U.S. Championships by Kris Kuehl.
"Kellion threw big on her third one, and that rush made me think: Now's the time. Be disciplined. Put it together … and it kind of came together."
Simply put, Allman no longer is just a great college thrower -- she is world class.
"It's next-level stuff," said first-year Stanford throws coach Zeb Sion, whom Allman said deserves much of the credit for her 10 foot improvement. "It's getting up into best in the world, as opposed to good for an American."
The Stanford all-comers record of 212-6 (64.77m) survives because Arizona's Meg Ritchie set it at Stanford Stadium in 1981, not Angell Field. Also intact is Carol Cady's school record of 207-8 (63.30m) from 1983. It remains Stanford's oldest outdoor women's record because Allman is ineligible while competing unattached during a redshirt year.
The decision, Allman said, "made a lot of sense. I think it's a great decision. I love school, I'm super excited to spend another year here and pursue a masters. And I also get to continue training with Coach Sion and the team. It's going to be awesome."
Sion said the decision to redshirt originally was created by Allman, who realized soon after beginning to work with Sion, that she could benefit greatly by having one more year with him, in 2018. Allman will work toward a masters during a fifth year and even seems capable of threatening Ritchie's collegiate record of 221-4 (67.48m).
Though acknowledging the difficulty in not wearing the Stanford singlet, Allman is very much a part of the close-knit team. After the competition, nearly all the Stanford throwers – men and women – gathered around the scoreboard reflecting the distance of her throw, mugging for cameras, while Allman herself wasn't even there.
"It's electric," Allman said of the new team dynamic under Sion. "Everyone is making their own advancements, but it feels so collective."
Allman set her third personal record four discus competitions, shattering her week-old best of 205-6 (62.64m) and improving upon her 2016 personal best by more than 10 feet.
"Clearly, it's worked out very well so far," Sion said. "But next year could also be very scary in terms of what she could do."
Allman and Cranny, who come from neighboring towns in Colorado, celebrated by attending Stanford's senior prom in San Francisco.
Cranny, the reigning Pac-12 1,500 champion, followed the pacing of teammate Malika Waschmann for 1,000 meters before Waschmann stepped off the track. Cranny ran alone the rest of the way, with Aragon moving up on the final lap to within shouting distance.
Aragon's time was the second-fastest ever for a Stanford freshman, just ahead of Cranny's 4:14.05 from 2015, and places her No. 7 on Stanford's all-time performers' list. Cranny holds the No. 1 spot by virtue of her school record of 4:09.54 set last year while finishing second at the NCAA Championships.
"I would say this is the first real racing we've had from the beginning, to go out fast," Cranny said.
The race strung out quickly, with Aragon holding back a bit and Cranny mixing it up just behind the pacesetting Washmann. However, they both ended up in similar positions, racing in the open toward the finish line.
"It wasn't so much about getting your spot and holding your place, it was about running as fast as we could," Aragon said.
Stanford coaches Chris Miltenberg, Stanford's Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field, and women's coach Elizabeth DeBole preach the concept of building over each 100. Don't run fast and falter, keep increasing the pace as the race goes along. The Cardinal Classic was about racing. Short and simple.
"In years past, I got too focused on the time and was upset when it didn't come," Cranny said. "So, for both us, we weren't going to worry about times today, but worry about racing."
Tristen Newman became the fifth Stanford shot-putter to hit 60 feet outdoors. Newman's 60-0 ¼ (18.29m) placed him No. 5 on Stanford's all-time performers' list.
The biochemical engineering major has been a leader and ringleader for the Cardinal men's throwers.
"Tristen has become pretty consistent throwing over 18 meters in the shot," Sion said. "He also had a hammer PR yesterday. He's a guy who's on the verge of connecting on a big one. What that means, we'll see.
"It would be great to go over 19 meters, but he's really close. You see glimpses of it, and it's going to happen. We've just got to make it happen at the right time."
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Missy Mongiovi came into the season contending for a spot in the Stanford's 4x400 relay, as perhaps the fourth or fifth possibility. No longer. Mongiovi, a sophomore, has become a solid member of that team and is emerging in the 400 as well.
On Saturday, Mongiovi ran 53.96 to place third in the 400. But, even better, she shattered her personal record by 0.74 seconds. Her 54.70 best had stood since her sophomore year at West Hills High in the San Diego suburb of Santee.
"I wanted to come out here and break 54," Mongiovi said. "I feel like I've been splitting pretty well in some relays. I just wanted to get a good open time."
Mongiovi made up the stagger on the backstretch and carried her momentum around the turn.