Jessica Woodard, competing in her first year of post-NCAA track, threw a season-best 59-3 in the shot put at a recent meet in California.
That’s only two feet off her lifetime best.
Woodard, a Cherokee graduate and six-time All-America in the shot put at Oklahoma, easily won the shot at the Jim Bush Championships at Jack Rose Track on the Cal State campus in Long Beach. She didn’t compete in the discus.
Woodard’s throw makes her No. 9 among Americans this year and No. 30 in the world. Woodard turned 24 in February. Only one of the U.S. women and nine of the world women ahead of her are younger than she is.
Her previous season-best was a 59-2 1/2 at the Elite Classic in Tucson, Ariz., in May.
Woodard set her PR of 61-3 1/2 at the NCAA Championships in Eugene last summer. She also has a discus PR of 190-9.
Woodard has qualified for this year’s USATF Championships but hasn’t yet entered. The meet is scheduled for later this month in Des Moines, Iowa.
At Long Beach, Woodard finished far ahead of second-place Lena Giger, who threw 55-6 3/4. When Woodard finished second at NCAA’s last spring, Giger was third throwing for Stanford.
Woodard threw 183-11 in her only discus competition this year, at the John Jacobs Invitational in Norman, Okla., in April. That ranks her No. 30 this year among U.S. women.