Reigning Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Brown Trafton set an American record in the women’s discus Friday night at the Altius Track Crew Throwdown meet in Wailuku, Hawaii.
Brown Trafton, a graduate of Arroyo Grande High and Cal Poly, threw the discus 222 feet, 3 inches. She broke the American record of 222-0, set by Suzy Powell in 2007, also in Wailuku.
Trafton’s previous career best of 217-2 came in 2009, and her previous season best of 213-4 was set in San Diego on April 27.
“I was having a great season and getting some big marks pretty early on,” she said in a phone interview. “I wasn’t prepared to come to this meet, I didn’t make a commitment until about a month ago. This meet fit in perfectly and I thought this would be a nice two-day Hawaiian vacation.”
Trafton was a surprising gold medalist in Beijing in 2008 considering she finished third at the U.S. Olympic Trials that year, and that no American woman had won the discus at the Olympics since 1932. And now she’s thrown farther than any American woman ever.
“It’s pretty good having the American record,” Trafton said. “I’m looking forward to being the first to repeat in the discus and be the most decorated American thrower ever, things along those lines. I feel like I’m on the right path and now I need to make the Olympic team in June.”
Trafton had the best discus series of her life Friday. She opened with a throw of 215-3 and then threw 213-11 before hitting the American record on her third attempt. Big throws early in competitions are nothing new for Trafton. Her winning throw in the Beijing Olympics came on her first attempt and one of her U.S. titles came on a first-throw effort.
“That was definitely going through my mind,” she said. “Even the American record I threw, I really wasn’t that happy with the throw. I think there’s lots of bigger throws out there. I can get 69 (226-4) or 70 meters (229-8).”
Trafton isn’t wasting any time trying to better her American record. The Altius Track Crew Throwdown meet is a two-day affair, and Trafton says she’ll be back throwing the discus there today.
After her American record throw, Trafton followed with a foul and throws of 208-0 and 206-5.
“By far and away the best series of my life,” Trafton said. “Without a doubt.”
The meet started in 2006 and lately has been run by former U.S. Olympic men’s discus thrower Ian Waltz. Trafton first competed in the event in 2007 when Powell set the then-American record.
“Ian was a thrower and he’s continued the meet and made it into a tradition and a learning experience for everyone involved,” Trafton. “A lot of extra effort was put into this meet to have the right number of officials and steel tapes, the proper paperwork and proper drug testing procedures in case there was a record set and I’m glad it all paid off. There’s another meet (today) and maybe I’ll go out and break it again.
“I think it will be fun (today). Now the pressure’s off and I can go get bigger throws.”