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Powell: Record to stick

Suzy Powell once again carries the title, "American record-holder," and, this time, she plans to keep it for a while.

Modesto's two-time Olympian reached another career plateau last Saturday in Maui when she tossed the discus 67.67 meters (222 feet) to break Carol Cady's 21-year record by nearly six feet.

But five years ago this month, Powell threw 227-10 at La Jolla, a mark expunged nearly a year later because the throwing sector tilted slightly downhill.

Powell, 30, anticipates no problems the second time around.

"Meet directors precertified everything," she said. "The papers have been filled out. It should be ratified pretty soon."

The nation's top five discus throwers arrived at historic War Memorial Stadium last weekend for the inaugural Maui "Big Wind" Discus Challenge. The idea was to match the best with the island's helping trade winds.

Powell trailed 2005 American champion Becky Breisch, who came within two inches of snapping Cady's record. The Modestan walked with a purpose into the ring for her fifth throw of the competition.

"I told myself, 'I have to break the record right now.' It brought out the killer instinct," she said. "I looked at the mountains before I threw and thought of my mother, who brought us to Maui two weeks before she died (in 1998)."

Powell let it go and, moments later, received congratulations from her father Mac. Her mark also was the world's best this year.

"I knew I put everything I had on it. Technically, it wasn't my best throw," she said. "I've had better technical throws that didn't go as far. It was a good throw in great conditions."

What it did was return Powell to national prominence. A hamstring injury cost her a third trip to the Olympics in 2004, and it took her at least a year to recover.

But this year under new coach Dan Pfaff, she responded with an encouraging 208-foot toss earlier this month at Stanford, the prelude to her record performance.

She's not worried, by the way, by skeptics who'll reduce the record to a windy fluke.

"Throwers have been chasing wind since time began," Powell said. "I know the Europeans have their spots, too. The argument to that is, you still have to fly it. There are still some skills involved."

Powell plans to compete at the Coca-Cola Modesto Relays on May 5.

"Our goal is to get to 65 meters (213 to 216 feet) in a stadium condition by August," she said. "We've accepted what happened on Maui as a fun reward for all the winter training."

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