Wednesday, June 22, 2005
She’s already the queen of the collegiate ranks and now Alabama’s Beth Mallory is going to see where she ranks among the nation’s best at this week’s United States Track and Field Championships in Carson, Calif.
The junior, who won the NCAA discus title earlier this month, will face off against the nation’s elite Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. PDT. She is the youngest competitor among the top-6 by several years. And in a sport that sees its athletes peak in their late 20s and early 30s, Mallory is a fast rising star.
“Right now she is one of the best collegiate athletes in the history of this event,” Alabama head coach Sandy Fowler said. “And she could well be the best before her career is over. I think the NCAA record is within her grasp.”
Mallory, who threw a school record 194 feet and nine inches to win the NCAA title, is ninth all-time at the NCAA Championships, and within 16 feet of the record. For an athlete that has improved 50 feet in the discus since her freshman year, another 16 feet by her senior season isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
And on Thursday she will face the holder of the NCAA record, Seilala Sua among the contenders for the national championship. A former UCLA Bruin, Sua, who set the collegiate record of 210-10 in 1999, is seeded fourth while Mallory, the 2005 Southeastern Conference Field Athlete of the Year, is sixth.
In addition to coaching Mallory, Fowler will also be watching the rest of the meet with keen interest as the head coach of the U.S. World Championships team that will selected at this meet.
“The top three finishers in each event will be named to the team,” Fowler said. “I expect the competition will be fierce for those spots. We had such a young team in Athens (at the Olympics) this summer, and they did so well. We could end up with a very exciting team in Helsinki.”