May 28, 2010

By Jeff Hawkins
Special to

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Looks like it will take more than a broken back to keep University of California San Diego senior Linda Rainwater from defending her high jump title.

Rainwater endured a jumping session Friday morning to determine whether her back was stable enough to let her compete in the rain-delayed NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Johnson C. Smith University.

UCSD coach Darcy Ahner confirmed Rainwater would "go for it."

The women's high jump, weather permitting, is slated for Saturday.

Doctors cleared Rainwater based on pain endurance, Ahner said, noting there was a chance she could aggravate the diagnosed Pars fracture.

"She is very brave," Ahner said. "If I felt it was not safe, I would pull her. If there is an opportunity, she is going to go for it."

Overcoming her piercing back pain, Rainwater claimed the California Collegiate Athletic Association high jump crown. Doctors then said she would need six weeks of recovery. Three, apparently, is enough.

On Wednesday, Rainwater jogged for the first time in weeks. Saturday's jump will be her first since May 8.

Rainwater claimed the Division II high jump as a junior and heptathlon as a sophomore. The injury prevented her from competing in the heptathlon here but apparently will not keep her out of the high jump.

GETTING BRIVULE'S BEST: Coming off a record-shattering 2009 season, highlighted by a Division II record for the women's javelin and a second national title, Abilene Christian's Linda Brivule has battled uphill a bit this year.

Sure, the senior recently claimed her third straight Lone Star Conference crown and is among the favorites to win a third Division II title. But throws coach Jerrod Cook said Brivule had dealt with peripheral issues for most of the season, stalling her progression.

"This year has been a struggle," Cook said Friday. "She has been dealing with personal issues and school. (But) she is getting her focus back and getting back her state of mind."

The final is Saturday.

A 2002 IAAF world junior champion, Brivule established a Division II record in 2009 with a throw of 184-6 at the Texas Relays.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "They do all the work. I just sit back and watch them." - Angelo State assistant coach Tom Dibbern, joking about his coaching philosophy for junior Aisha Adams and senior Chrystal Ruiz, who finished first and second, respectively, in the women's heptathlon.