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UCLA finishes 1-2-6-8 in women’s discus

June 4, 1997

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) _ The expected speed of LSU’s women and the power of UCLA’s throwers made an immediate impact at the NCAA Track and Field Championships on Wednesday.

LSU, seeking its 11th consecutive title, reeled off the fastest time in the world this year in the 400-meter relay, clocking 42.92 seconds in the semifinals with a foursome of Astia Walker, Kwajalein Butler, Sadonna Thornton and Peta-Gaye Dowdie.

The impressive performance moved the Lady Tigers into Friday’s final, along with eight other teams that all went under the previous Hayes Stadium record of 45.66 by Kentucky in 1981.

Meanwhile, UCLA, the 1982-83 champion, bolted into the team lead with 22 points in the discus, with a 1-2-6-8 finish.

Freshman Seilala Sua won with a stadium record throw of 200 feet, 6 inches. Suzy Powell, winner of last year’s Olympic trials and the Pac-10 champion, ahead of Sua, was the runner-up at 198-7.

Adding to the Bruins’ point total were Nada Kawar, sixth at 177-3, and Rachelle Noble, eighth at 172-0.

``We knew we had a chance to pick up some big points and solidify our position,″ Powell said. ``The discus is definitely an important event for us if we’re going to beat LSU.″

Powell, a junior, said she was disappointed at not winning her first NCAA title _ she also finished second last year as the favorite _ adding, ``I wouldn’t be a good thrower if I wasn’t.″

``It’s always a blow to your ego, but you can take comfort in that you lost to your teammate and your team pulled together and did a good job,″ Powell said. ``We go through this every day in practice.″

LSU, with a team of Jermaine Grant, Mike Aldridge, Byron Logan and Chris Cummings, also had the fastest time, 39.01, in the men’s 400-meter relay semifinals.

Joey Woody of Northern Iowa led the qualifiers into Friday’s final of the men’s 400 hurdles, running 48.76, the fastest by a collegian this year. Woody’s time also made him the fourth-fastest performer in the world this year.

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