Maddy Pollard didn’t think she was at her best during the college women’s shot put championship Thursday at the Penn Relays and wondered before her final throw if she could find that winning distance.
She did. The redshirt freshman from Indiana uncorked an effort of 53 feet, 10 inches on her sixth and final attempt to win the competition.
“To be completely honest, nothing really was going well for me,” Pollard said. “I just kind of had to dig deep and find it in me to get that big throw. My technique was a little off, getting off the plane last night, but I came out on top without my best throw. At least I found it within me to get it out there.”
Janell Fullerton of Clemson had put a throw of 53-4 on her third attempt and appeared to be ready to claim a Penn Relays watch before Pollard’s throw. She settled for second, and Indiana’s Khalya Dawson, the 2019 NCAA leader in the shot at 57-2, took third with a throw of 53-2 ¾.
“Khayla is the best teammate,” Pollard said. “She pushes me every day. Practicing with her every day is awesome.”
Pollard liked the atmosphere at Penn’s throwing field. Spectators filled the hillside to the right of the competition area.
“Actually it was really cool,” she said. “There were a lot of people when usually there are just a couple scattered around. So I really liked the atmosphere.”
College women set carnival records Thursday.
Kylee Carter, a junior at Auburn, established a new mark in the javelin with a throw of 184-8, topping the old record of 184-3 set by Villanova’s Jen Pastore in 1996.
Providence’s Brianna Ilarda, a redshirt senior from Australia, lowered her own record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9 minutes, 55.43 seconds, down from 9:57.22 in 2017. It was her third win in the event in the last four years.
Houston topped all qualifiers in the heats of the college women’s 4x100 relay with a time of 44.92 seconds, while South Carolina paced the 4x400 qualifying with a time of 3:33.29, more than five seconds faster than the No. 2 qualifier.
Penn qualified for the championship final in both relays, clocking 45.87 seconds in the 4x100 and 3:39.85 in the 4x400.