Jarred Rome wins with the farthest throw in the nation this year, and Suzy Powell nearly sets a U.S. mark.
(Published Sunday, April, 7, 2002 6:04AM)
The wind swirled over and through Bulldog Diamond on Saturday, playing havoc with the people flying discs on the grassy field to the east. Ultimate Frisbee? Hardly. It was discus, the strong-person's sport with enough strategy to satisfy hard-core chess players.
"I just tried to throw one between 35 and 40 degrees and get the wind to help out," Jarred Rome said. "And that's what happened."
Rome threw 211 feet, 2 inches to win the men's discus at the Bob Mathias Fresno Relays on Saturday at Fresno State. It was the best mark in the nation this year, but not the best in Fresno on Saturday.
That honor went to Suzy Powell, whose 214-10 merely was the best mark in the world this year and 2 feet short of the American record of 216-10 set by Carol Cady in 1986.
Clearly, it was a good day for flying discs -- if you could find a wind tunnel.
A windy day usually is good for discus throwers, explained Andy Bloom, who finished fourth in the shot put at the 2000 Olympics. But Saturday's wind was coming over, around and through Bulldog Diamond, so it was tricky.
"It was hard to figure exactly how to fly it," said Rome, a former Boise State All-American. "The wind was swirling."
Powell finally figured out the wind, adjusted her body to throw more to the left and hit her mark on the sixth and final throw.
"When the wind blows like this it fires you up," the two-time Olympian said. "I had an excellent throw, and the wind helped."
Powell, Rome and Bloom were among a contingent of throwers and vaulters flown to the Fresno Relays by USA Track & Field after spending a week at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista.
They were watched closely by L. Jay Silvester, the USATF director of development.
"You threw better than I ever did here," he said to Rome. "I only threw 209."
Silvester is best remembered for his battles with Olympian Al Oerter for many years.
In other relays highlights:
Fresno State's Crystal Simmons continued her strong spring, winning the 100-meter hurdles (14.2 seconds), long jump (18-6) and triple jump (42-61/2) and placing sixth in the high jump (11.47). She also ran a leg on the winning 400 relay team.
Toby Stevenson had the best pole vault of the day (18-5). Stephanie Maugham had the best women's vault (14-1).
Christian Hesch won the 1,600 in 4:13.73, with Fresno State's Roosevelt Cook edging ex-Bulldog Jamey Harris for second.
Majeed Abude of Southern Utah outlasted Fresno State's Cook and Alex Mason in the 800 at 1:51.09.
Ozzie Pina of Mount San Antonio College edged teammate Daniel Rojas to win the 5,000 in 14:29.95.