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COLLEGES / ALAN OTA : UCLA Sophomore Has Shot at Winning an NCAA Title

April 15, 1993|ALAN OTA

John Godina dominated the shotput and discus events as the UCLA men's track team won a quadrangular meet with Houston, Colorado and Cal State Northridge on Saturday. But the Bruin sophomore All-American fell short of his own expectations.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Godina strained the fingers on his throwing hand three weeks ago and last week injured a knee in practice doing a standing throw with the shot. He won with a put of 61-5 and a throw of 196-6.

"I still should have done better," said Godina, who has seasonal bests of 62-feet-10 3/4 in the shot and 197-10 in the discus. "It was pretty disappointing, especially the way I threw the shot."

Colorado assistant John Corkery was impressed with Godina.

"He might not have done as well as he wanted, but he's one of the best in the country on the collegiate level," Corkery said. "He's a big, strong, explosive thrower. And he's only going to keep getting better."

As a senior at Central High in Cheyenne, Wyo., Godina ranked second nationally as a prep in the discus and 12th in the shot. He also earned All-American honors as a lineman from several football publications.

"It was about three weeks after my senior football season that I decided to concentrate only on track," Godina said.

Last year, Godina established personal bests in the shot (64-6 3/4) and discus (201-10), both UCLA records for a freshman. In the Pacific 10 Championships, he was runner-up in the shot and was third in the discus. He placed seventh in the shot in the NCAA meet and was ninth in the discus in the Olympic Trials.

In the NCAA Indoor Championships at Indianapolis last month, Godina was third in the shot with a put of 62-9 1/4.

Godina is eager to make a strong showing at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays this weekend.

"The hand should be all right, and the knee hasn't been bothering me the last few days," he said. "It's getting to the point in the season where I have to just fire it up."

*

Bruin junior Dawn Dumble became the national collegiate leader in the shotput and senior teammate Jennifer Whelchel improved her lifetime best by more than two feet in the event at Saturday's quadrangular.

The meet also marked the return of Colorado junior Melisa Weis, who had transferred from UCLA last year.

Dumble's winning put of 55-7 bettered the previous national leader by 19 inches. Weis was second with 53-4 1/2, the nation's fourth-best effort this season. Whelchel finished third at 52-0 1/2. Her previous personal record was 50-1.

Dumble and Weis, teammates at Bakersfield High, were the greatest interscholastic shotput and discus team in history.

"That time was so special to me," Weis said. "It's something I'll never forget."

Equally unforgettable was competing against each other in the shotput at the NCAA Indoor Championships last month. Each had a put of 54-7 1/4. Based on their second-best puts, Dumble was awarded third place ahead of Weis.

Both athletes admit to having some special feelings for Saturday's meet.

"I think that any time you've competed and trained with someone for so many years, you always want to do well against that person," Dumble said.

"I wanted to do well although I'm really aiming for the outdoor nationals," Weis said. "But I found I really miss being friends with the people on the UCLA team."

*

UCLA redshirt freshman Avery Anderson, the Pacific 10 Conference leader in the 110-meter hurdles (14.12) and top Bruin in the high jump (7-1), injured his hamstring on the first day of spring football practice last week.

Anderson was a reserve flanker in 1992.

"We won't know the extent of the injury until later this week," track Coach Bob Larsen said. "We're just guessing at this point, but there was no swelling or discoloration, which are good signs."

Anderson missed the previous track season because of a knee injury suffered during football practice last spring. As a senior at North High in Riverside, his personal best of 7-3 in the high jump was the third-highest mark ever by a California prep.

*

UCLA volleyball Coach Al Scates, whose top-ranked team plays host to UC Santa Barbara at 7 tonight, says the Gauchos present problems because of their use of three passers.

Santa Barbara is led by 6-foot-4 junior Hector Lopez of the Spanish Olympic Team.

"Some teams use (three servers) against jump servers, but they do it all the time," Scates said. "And Lopez is a great passer."

Santa Barbara lost a five-game match to second-ranked Pepperdine last weekend. They are led in kills, aces and digs by 6-foot-4 freshman outside hitter Amaury Velasco.

"We met Santa Barbara at the start of the season," Scates said. "But they weren't using three passers. They weren't playing Velasco. And they weren't hot like they are now."

UCLA was 1-1 against Brigham Young last weekend, losing on Friday in five-games. In that match, the Bruins had a season-high 38 serving errors.

During warm-ups on Saturday night, the Bruins figured out that the 4,553-foot Provo, Utah, altitude affected the distance of their serves.

"We eased up some on the serves and managed to reduce the errors by a third," Scates said.

UCLA went on to sweep BYU.

Notes

Wisconsin freshman Robin Snowbeck, a two-time City 1,600-meter champion from University High, made her outdoor season debut at the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Ariz. She finished fourth in the 1,500 in 4:33.39, improving her personal best by five seconds.

In Saturday's quadrangular track meet, UCLA senior John Sommers won the pole vault by clearing 17 feet, bettering his personal best by seven inches. Bruin sophomore javelin thrower Greg Johnson established a personal best of 230-8.

Pepperdine senior right-hander Steve Duda, who equaled his career high of 11 strikeouts against second-ranked Cal State Fullerton in a 5-1 victory last week, was named West Coast Conference pitcher of the week.

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