Nevada’s Hane qualifies for NCAA finals in track
Special to the Appeal
SACRAMENTO – Caira Hane is one of those athletes who just seems to get better as she goes along. And these days, the University of Nevada senior hammer thrower seems to get better every time she steps into the ring.
Hane set personal and school records on her final attempt Thursday at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a throw of 200 feet, 8 inches that qualified eighth best during the women’s hammer trials.
In the process, she was one of 12 throwers who qualified for the finals Saturday at Sacramento State. This is Hane’s second trip to the NCAA meet, having qualified in the javelin and hammer in 2004, but this will be her first appearance in the finals.
“Exciting is not the word … elation … overjoyed, so start with,” Nevada coach Shantel Twiggs said. “Even if you don’t make it to the finals, you can’t complain. To throw a lifetime best at the national championships, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Hane, a product of Hillsboro, Ore., broke her previous personal and school records of 199-11 set just two weeks before at the West Regional in Provo.
“She p.r.’d at the regional meet and she’s pretty much been throwing p.r.s consistently toward the end of the season,” said Heather Hendrix-Holmes, who coaches the Wolf Pack throwers.
“The thing about Caira, she’s a much better thrower as the competition goes on.”
That showed Thursday when Hane saved her best for the last round. “I’m like a last throw thrower,” she said, flashing a smile. “It didn’t feel like that good of a throw at first, but it just kept going.”
Hane also happens to be part of a quality field for the finals that includes Georgia’s Jenny Dahlgren, who set a collegiate women’s record with a throw of 235-6 earlier this season at the SEC meet.
There was no difference between the excitement of a lifetime best throw and qualifying for the NCAA finals, as far as Hane was concerned.
“It’s a combination,” she said. “I’m very happy because breaking 200 has been a goal of mine … and (getting to the finals), this is a great way to end it.”
Who knows what could happen when she returns to Hornet Stadium for the finals at 10 a.m. on Saturday. “Top eight, if she could do that again, that would be awesome,” Hendrix-Holmes said. “That would be All-American. That would be huge, especially when you consider she came in here ranked 20th.”