As track and field season kicks into high gear, javelin thrower Kara Patterson finds herself in an unusual position.
Entering the Drake Relays on Friday, the Skyview High School graduate and U.S. record holder is not the top-ranked American in her event.
Brittany Borman from the University of Oklahoma recorded of throw of 194 feet, 11 inches two weeks ago, topping Patterson’s season best of 194-2 and setting up a showdown this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.
“That fires me up a bit,” said Patterson, the reigning four-time U.S. champion. “I’m pretty excited.”
Not that Patterson’s supremacy in U.S. javelin is being challenged. She competed in a couple meets in February in Australia but has yet to bite into the meat of what promises to be a busy 2012 schedule.
Ideally, that schedule will include a trip to the London Olympics. Patterson represented the United States at the Beijing Games in 2008, as well as the World Championships in 2009 and 2011.
But she’s still trying to recapture the form she displayed in 2010, when she set the American record of 218-8 and finished the year ranked sixth in the world.
“It’s been really cool to be brave enough and sound of body enough to practice at a high intensity,” said Patterson, who has trained in Southern California since graduating in 2009 from Purdue University. “I think we put in some heavy training last year and maybe didn’t get the rest I needed.”
As for this week’s meet? Patterson has a little history on her side. She has competed three times at the Drake Relays and has come away with three victories. In addition, her American-record throw came during the U.S. Championships in 2010 at Drake Stadium.