April 5, 2006
AUSTIN, Texas -- Washington State junior Julie Pickler is in second place overall after the first four events of the women's heptathlon at the 79th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays being held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas Austin campus.
Julie Pickler's 3,408 points is 18 points behind the 3,426 points of overall leader Ryanne Dupree, a UT-San Antonio senior who is redshirting the outdoor season. WSU's Diana Pickler, Julie's twin sister, is fifth with 3,306 points while Katie Miller, a senior from Vancouver, Wash., is 18th with a first-day personal-best of 3,018 points. There are 22 women competing in the heptathlon at this meet.
Julie Pickler, from Sachse, Texas, started the day running the third-fastest of the six heats of the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.92w seconds, which is also an NCAA Regional Qualifying mark and equaled the fastest time she has run as a Cougar. Diana Pickler's time of 14.16w in the hurdles was fourth-fastest while Miller's time of 14.29w was a personal-best and eighth overall.
"Diana was even with the winner (Dupree at 13.52w) at the third hurdle and was just nicking some hurdles until she flat clobbered the fourth hurdle," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "I don't know how she didn't fall. It was a miracle she stayed upright and on her feet. It took her a hurdle or two to get back into her rhythm but she'd lost her momentum so she did a great job of getting a 14.16 out of a very unfortunate collision with a hurdle. They all ran pretty well in the hurdles so that was a good event for us."
In the high jump, both Picklers cleared 5-feet, 6 1/2 inches (1.69m), tied with three others for fifth highest. Miller passed cleared the bar at 5-3 (1.60m).
In the final event of the first day, the 200m, the runners battled a headwind around the turn but had the wind at their backs on the straightaway. Julie Pickler ran a time of 24.46w which was third-fastest while Diana Pickler ran the fifth-fastest time of 24.97w. Miller ran a PR with her time of 25.74w, 13th overall.
"We came into this meet a little bit banged up so I feel fortunate after this first day," Sloan said. "Julie's plantar fascia had flared up last week and we were able to get it settled down enough for her to compete here. Diana's ankle still is not 100 percent and Katie Miller had a sprained ankle from the USC meet (March 25) that was still bothering her some. But they all competed very well.
"From a score standpoint, I think both Julie and Diana are on track to reaching a score that should qualify them (5,500 points for NCAA automatic) for nationals. If Julie has a decent day tomorrow she could PR with a score over 5,650 points."
The last three heptathlon events at the Texas Relays, the long jump, javelin and 800m run, begin at noon Central Time Thursday, April 6. Cougars John Cassleman (400m hurdles) and hammer throwers McKenzie Burgess Garberg and Phil MacArthur will also be competing at Austin Thursday.