April 6, 2006
AUSTIN, Texas -- Washington State junior Julie Pickler kept the title in the family for another year as she won the women's heptathlon Thursday at the 79th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays being held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas Austin campus.
Julie Pickler, a junior from Sachse, Texas, reached a personal-best and NCAA Automatic Qualifying mark of 5,734 points for the win while her twin sister, Diana, came in third with an NCAA AQ total of 5,579 points. Cougar Katie Miller, a senior from Vancouver, Wash., finished 14th with 4,940 points. First day leader Ryanne Dupree, a UT-San Antonio senior who is redshirting the outdoor season, finished second with 5,606 points.
Last year at the Texas Relays Diana Pickler won the heptathlon with Julie the runner-up. Julie Pickler's 5,734 points moves her into second on WSU's all-time women's heptathlon, behind current assistant coach Ellannee Richardson's school record of 5,839 points.
"Julie and Diana amaze me with their toughness. Both of them have foot and ankle problems with their takeoff foot so I was holding my breath. But you put them in that competitive arena and they just find another gear," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "They are a lot like Ellannee was. They just find a way to get things done. When you think they might be down a little bit or not up to their best, somehow they find a way to bring their level up and compete and do a great job."
Julie Pickler leaped an NCAA Regional Qualifying mark and personal-best in the long jump of 19-feet, 10 3/4 inches, wind-aided. Julie's mark was second only to Dupree's 20-0 1/4w (6.10m) mark. Diana Pickler leaped 19-0 3/4w (5.81m), which was third-farthest. Miller reached 17-0 3/4w (5.20m).
In the javelin section of the heptathlon, Diana Pickler threw a season-best 128-2 (39.08m) and Julie Pickler tossed the spear 126-2 (38.45m). The Pickler throws were second and third-best overall while Miller's toss of 117-10 (35.93m) was seventh. Dupree, the leader through the first five events, threw the javelin 99-1 (30.20m), which put Julie Pickler in the lead going into the final event with 4,914 points to Dupree's 4,786 points.
Julie Pickler ran the 800m in a time of 2-minutes, 20.28 seconds, eighth-best on the day in spite of getting tripped and nearly falling on the last lap of the race. Diana Pickler ran a PR time of 2:19.42 in the 800m, sixth-fastest overall. Miller's time of 2:27.95 boosted her one spot higher in the final standings. Twenty-two women started the heptathlon and 21 completed the event.
"Katie struggled with her long jump and didn't get the javelin mark she had earlier in the season at USC but ran tough in the 800m. It was a good job by her overall," Sloan said. "By the time we get to the conference meet and her ankle is feeling a little bit better, I'm hopeful she will be up there with a good score."
In other Thursday events at the Relays, McKenzie Garberg (Benton City, Wash.) threw the women's hammer 174-8 (53.23m) for 17th place. In the men's hammer, Phil MacArthur (Selkirk, Wash.) had a couple of sector fouls in the 200-foot range but did not get a measurable legal throw.
Junior John Cassleman (Pullman, Wash.) ran the sixth-fastest time in the men's 400m intermediate hurdles prelims of 51.41 seconds and will race in the Saturday final. Cassleman's time is an improved NCAA RQ. WSU freshman Robert Williams (Riverside, Calif.) ran a time of 55.56 in the prelims and did not advance.
The competition for the Cougars at the Texas Relays continues Friday and Saturday in Austin.