Mike Sayward, Canyon High School's track and field coach, compares discus thrower Allison Franke to a home-run hitter.
"She goes for broke every time she's at bat," he said. "When she throws, she goes for the big bombs, not the little piddling ones."
That was especially true this year as Franke, a junior, often improved her personal bests by several feet, not inches.
Franke, The Times' girls' track and field athlete of the year, starred in several events this season.
She ran the 100-meter hurdles in 14.83 seconds (wind-aided). She leaped 38-feet 1-inch in the triple jump and 17-11 in the long jump.
But her specialty was the discus.
Franke's best throw--158-4--ranks her fourth nationally. Janet Hill of Washington High in Shreveport, La., leads the nation at 179-4.
This season, Franke, who enjoys singing with a school group and who wants to be a heptathlete, was undefeated in Century League discus competition. She won discus and triple jump titles at the Southern Section 4-A championships and the discus title at the Southern Section Masters meet.
Her only disappointment occurred at the state meet, where her 145-6 placed her sixth.
"That was sad, but if you look at the rest of her season, the state meet was only the second time she got beat," Sayward said.
The other time was at the Arcadia Invitational, where Franke lost to Bakersfield's Melissa Weis, who also won the discus at the state championships.
In her junior high years, Franke ran track and played volleyball, softball, basketball and flag football, but she decided to specialize in track and field as a sophomore last year.
She made the decision when she entered the high school's weight room for the first time.
That's where Franke met Mike Casteneda, the shot and discus coach. Casteneda asked Franke if she could do what most of the other girls could not--a chin-up.
Franke did eight.
"Personally, I think Allison could do anything she wanted to do," Sayward said. "She's the best athlete in Canyon (track and field) history."
And, this season at least, the best in Orange County.
Based on This Season's Results of High School Competitions
Event Name School Time 100 Meters Sheri Bertell Mission Viejo 11.93w 200 Meters Sheri Bertell Mission Viejo 24.55 400 Meters d'Layne Kerr Corona del Mar 56.33 800 Meters Laurinda Mulhaupt Capistrano Valley 2:16.62 1,600 Meters Sita Jones La Habra 5:03.81 3,200 Meters Leslie Cashion Corona del Mar 11:05.18 100-Meter Hurdles Suzanne Kerho Mission Viejo 14.16 300-Meter Hurdles Danielle Reaves Esperanza 48.19 1,600-Meter Relay Corona del Mar 3:48.28 High Jump Lori Svoboda El Dorado 5-8 Long Jump Sandi Lucas Corona del Mar 18-3 Triple Jump Lisa Fager Mission Viejo 39-4w Shotput Joanna Alo Santa Ana Valley 40-4 1/2 Discus Allison Franke Canyon 158-4