Deniz Won Epic Discus Final In 1983

Celebrating A Century of NCAA Track & Field Championships

Deniz Won Epic Discus Final In 1983

Only once have the three longest women’s discus throwers in collegiate history met at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

It happened in 1983 when the meet was held at Robertson Stadium in Houston.

Entering with the most accolades was Meg Ritchie of Arizona – the defending champion came in with the year’s best mark at 65.32m (214-4), short of her collegiate record of 67.48m (221-5) from a year earlier.

Undefeated on the year – including a conference win over Ritchie – was Leslie Deniz of Arizona State, and her incredible spring included four American records, topped by a heave of 64.94m (213-1).

Stanford’s Carol Cady also gained notice. She moved to No. 3 all-time just a week before the NCAA meet at 63.30m (207-8), and by the day of NCAA discus final she was fresh off a shot put crown, having defeated CR holder Ritchie and breaking her meet record as well.

Deniz set the tone in the qualifying round, adding more than 7 feet to Ritchie’s meet record at 63.80m (209-4).

In the first round of the final, Deniz opened up at 63.96m (209-10) to improve her MR. Cady added then the second-longest throw in meet history – and her career – at 62.42m (204-9). Ritchie, nursing a recent injury, followed at 56.00m (183-9).

That order didn’t change, and Deniz continued her dominance, finishing with two more throws of 62.90m (206-4) and 63.52m (208-5) that gave her the meet’s four longest in history.

“I was looking for at least 215,” said Deniz, still recovering from a back injury in training. “The last throw was close to 220, which is the goal I set for myself.”

Deniz and Cady both made the 1984 Olympic team. Deniz earned silver in the discus, while Cady was a finalist in the shot put. In 1986, Cady broke Deniz’s discus AR at 66.10m (216-10), which lasted for 20 years.

posted: April 2, 2021
The NCAA's First Championships

The NCAA and collegiate track & field will mark a momentous milestone in the spring of 2021 -- the 100th anniversary of the NCAA Championships and with that, the NCAA Track & Field Championships. In June 1921, the University of Chicago hosted the first track & field championships in NCAA history.

This point can’t be emphasized enough: Not only was the event the first for NCAA track & field, but the first championships for any sport under the sponsorship of the NCAA.

To celebrate, over each of the next 365 days, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) will celebrate moments, student-athletes, and coaches that have made a century’s worth of championships special. From humble beginnings to important historical milestones to the modern-day, collegiate track & field has evolved with the American society.

The 2021 edition of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships begin with preliminary round action on May 27-29 in Jacksonville, Fla., and College Station, Texas. The championships final site and culmination of the celebration is slated for June 9-12, 2021 at the newly rebuilt Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Memorable Moments