EUGENE — When Kara Patterson saw she was up first in the javelin competition, she went for an instant impact.
“I wanted to put a mark out there that was hard for other people to chase,” Patterson said. “I’m happy I did that.”
The first throw of the day turned out to be winner for Patterson as she claimed her fourth straight national title at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field. The Skyview High School graduate had the best three throws of the competition starting with her winning mark of 194-feet, 8-inches.
“I’m happy to get four in a row, it is definitely something I was thinking about coming in,” said Patterson, who started her streak in the 2008 Olympic Trials at Hayward Field. “This was important to me, I always want to win USAs.”
Patterson also threw 184-5 on her third attempt and 190-11 on her fourth in addition to three fouls. Runner-up Rachel Yurkovich threw 180-2 while Alicia DeShasier placed third at 177-2 and Avione Allgood was fourth at 176-8.
Patterson was watched closely by her training partner, Mike Hazle, who won the men’s javelin on Friday.
“I felt like it was close to what I wanted,” Patterson said. “I agreed with what my training partner, Mike, who said that I was close all day. I especially think that fourth throw could have gone real far, but there are things I need to work on.”
Patterson said the quick start was not her usual form.
“Last year my last throws tended to be the best, so to come out on the first throw was a challenge, but a challenge I needed to start the fire early,” Patterson said.
It certainly got the attention of the other 14 throwers right away.
“You just have to play your own game and not worry about what other people are doing,” Yurkovich said. “She threw 59 meters, which is more than I have thrown, but I have no doubt I can throw that far.”
Patterson said she has made some adjustments throughout the season.
“I am being a bit more aggressive because I have been thinking too much in competition,” Patterson said. “I wanted to come out and lay it all on the line. My coach said in practice this week that people are trying to take something away from me. I said ‘Oh my gosh, you’re right. I don’t want them to do that.’ It was a nice jump-start to the attitude I needed to bring to this competition.”
Patterson, who holds the American record at 218-9, knows her winning mark won’t intimidate the field at the World Championships in South Korea later this summer.
“It definitely needs to be a farther throw to get in other peoples’ heads on the world scene, but I have done that and I am prepared to do that again,” Patterson said. “My training has been awesome this year.”