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Track and field individuals take honors at Pac-12 Championship

Although Oregon unsurprisingly ran away with both the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field titles at last weekend’s Pac-12 Championship meets, several Stanford athletes had a weekend to remember, as four Cardinal competitors claimed Pac-12 titles in their events and most of Stanford’s top athletes put themselves in good position to qualify for NCAAs.

Stanford’s weekend was highlighted by the efforts of senior javelin thrower Brianna Bain, who completed a four-year sweep of the Pac-12 javelin event with a throw of 168 feet, 7 inches — not as good as any of the other three marks that won her previous Pac-12 titles, but good enough — to narrowly outpace Megan Glasmann of Utah.

(RICHARD C. ERSTED/stanfordphotos.com)
Senior Brianna Bain didn’t miss a beat while returning from injury in the Pac-12 Championships, winning the javelin throw with a remarkable 168′ 7” toss. (RICHARD C. ERSTED/stanfordphotos.com)

“I was able to pull it out on my last throw, so I’m really happy about that,” Bain said. “All that matters is the win, a championship season. So I’m just happy I could come out of here with a win.”

It was Bain’s first throwing event in seven weeks due to an injured throwing elbow that will require surgery upon conclusion of the season. The injury was particularly trying for Bain because it came on the heels of a season-long Pac-12 throw of 174 feet, 10 inches.

Bain was joined in the winner’s circle by fellow repeat champion fifth-year senior Jessica Tonn. Running in the 10,000 meter, Tonn finished in 34:00.33, a full three seconds over the closest competition.

“Obviously, the Pac-12’s so strong as a conference, too, but going into today, my coaches, obviously know I’m lining up against Molly Grabill, Waverly Neer and Elvin [Kibet],” Tonn said. “I’ve gotten really good at putting my blinders on and just kind of racing… I’m just thankful for having those many opportunities as I can to race.”

Another Cardinal athlete that secured a second consecutive title was senior Darian Brooks, who successfully defended his title in the triple jump with a 52-foot, ½-inch jump that narrowly edged second cousin Casey Burns, who was competing for the Washington Huskies.

It marked Brooks’ second conference title of the season in the event after he also won the MPSF title in the indoor championships a few months ago with a mark of 52 feet, 2 ¾ inches. When Brooks won his first title last season, he was Stanford’s first conference triple jump champion since 1970. He was the Cardinal’s only conference title winner on the men’s side this season.

Elsewhere for the Cardinal, freshman Harrison Williams captured the Stanford school record in the decathlon, though his score of 7,679 was only good enough to earn him the silver medal in the deep Pac-12 field.

Williams broke the mark set in 1952 by two-time Olympic gold medalist Bob Mathias, which had been adjusted to 7,592 to account for changes in scoring adopted the 63 years since Mathias set his personal record.

“It was awesome to do it, especially because it was held by such a great man as Bob Mathias,” Williams remarked.

A highly touted recruit, Williams broke the national high school record for the decathlon in 2014. While he has yet to record his first collegiate win, he has consistently finished near the top and recently recorded the second highest total in Stanford history in the indoor heptathlon.

As a team, the Cardinal women finished third overall and the men finished in ninth. The relevant athletes will now get the chance to train for NCAA Regionals from May 28-30 in Austin, Texas.

Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu and Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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