June 28, 2009
EUGENE, Ore. -- Washington State's Joe Abbott won the junior men's 800m and Cougar standout Jeshua Anderson finished fifth in the men's intermediate hurdles final Sunday afternoon at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.
Abbott, a sophomore-to-be from Reno, won the junior men's 800m final with a time of 1:51.54, after running the top time in the Saturday prelims of 1:49.78. Abbott finished seventh in the Pac-10 800m race ran a PR time of 1:48.97 in the prelims of the NCAA West Regionals. He will compete for the USA Junior team at the 2009 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, July 31-Aug. 2, at Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
After the race, Abbott told Paul Merca (www.paulmerca.blogspot.com), "I tried to bide my time as much as I could, but I never took the lead until the last 20 yards. A win's a win, so I'll take it. The goal coming into this meet was to try and make the US team, because that the epitome of US track & field. Championship racing is championship racing."
Abbott was also quoted on the USATF website (www.usatf.org), "I actually intended to move earlier, but I was boxed in pretty bad, so I ended up not taking the lead until the last twenty yards or so. I really thought I was stuck, but the pack slowed down and I was able to swoop outside on the last curve and pass them on the straightaway. I intend to go (to the Pan Am Championships). That was my goal coming in here, and it wasn't a great time, but a championship race win is a championship race win. This is a huge confidence booster."
Courtney Kirkwood (sophomore-to-be, Othello) was officially invited to join the US Junior team and compete in the Pan Am Championships in spite of finishing in third place with a throw of 146-feet, 9 inches (44.74m) in the Saturday final.
Anderson, who will be a junior at WSU this fall, ran a time of 48.77 seconds for fifth-place in the warm but windy final. Bershawn Jackson (Nike) won the race in a time of 48.03 while Anderson's collegiate arch-rival, Johnny Dutch of South Carolina finished second with a time of 48.18. The third member of the US intermediate hurdles team to compete at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin will be Angelo Taylor (Nike) who finished third in a time of 48.30. Anderson's time is just off his personal-best and school record time of 48.47, run earlier this season.
Cougar alum and 2008 Olympian Diana Pickler (Asics), won the women's heptathlon with 6,290 points. Pickler was in second place when the leader, Hyleas Fountain (Nike) withdrew from the competition due to a neck injury during the competition. Pickler noted in an interview posted on www.ustaf.org, that her long jump, a wind-aided 20-feet, 9 1/4 inches (6.33m), was her strongest event. She threw the javelin 137-6 (41.90m), and ran the 800m in 2:16.99 to compete the seven-event, two-day competition.
In an interview posted on the USATF website (www.usatf.org), Pickler said, "This is only my fourth heptathlon this year so I definitely felt it a lot in speed and timing. But I'm just looking at the big picture really and trying to focus on what I'm trying to accomplish in the next few months."
J Hopkins (Everett), a sophomore-to-be, finished fourth in the junior men's 400m hurdles final after running a personal-best time of 51.49. Reginald Wyatt (So Cal Run Coug) won the race in a time of 50.02.
Hopkins told Paul Merca (www.paulmerca.blogspot.com), "I thought going into the race that I would feel the wind a little bit more than I did, but it wasn't too bad. I surged, and tried to run as hard as I could, and I nicked the last hurdle, and came off a bit off balanced. I'm disappointed that I missed the podium. The fact that I haven't run since Pac-10s makes me happier that I'm even running in this meet and be able to compete against this field. It helps that two of the guys in the finals will be in the Pac-10 next year."
Incoming WSU freshman Stephan Scott Ellis (Curtis High, Tacoma) finished 12th in the junior men's triple jump with a wind-aided leap of 47-9 1/4 (14.56m).