June 9, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Washington State University's Matt Lamb scored third-place in the men's discus final Friday at the NCAA Div. I Track & Field Championships at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex.
Lamb, a freshman from Emmett, Idaho, captured third place in the men's discus with a throw of 189-feet, 5 inches (57.74m) and put the Cougar men's team on the board with six points. Lamb's first throw was 184-9 (56.31m) and he followed that with a toss of 176-7 (53.83m). Lamb then fouled his third attempt but entered the final in fifth place. He fouled his fourth attempt but then tossed the disk 179-5 (54.69m) and slipped to sixth place. On his final attempt, Lamb tossed a 189-5, just four inches off his personal-best and WSU freshman school record of 189-9, and moved into third place.
Lamb is the first freshman to reach All-American status since Jan Johansson (javelin) in 1984 and the first American-born Cougar to reach a top three NCAA finish since Dominique Arnold won the high hurdles in 1991.
"After the fifth throw didn't go as well as I wanted I just collected myself, sat down and thought about what I needed to do instead of thinking about what I needed to change," Lamb said. "I just tried to go back to what I'd been doing all season. On the last one, once I let go of it I knew it was going to be big. That I got third really hasn't set in quite yet. I was happy enough to make it and then to make it to the second day, to the finals, is a little overwhelming. I don't think anybody had me picked to go on farther than the first day."
"Matt really yanked one around on his final throw to pull it off," Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "He really competed very, very well."
Heptathletes Julie Pickler and Diana Pickler, identical twins from Sachse, Texas, who are juniors, are tied for third after the first four events of the women's heptathlon. Julie scored a lifetime-best of 3,451 points, 33 points higher than her previous PR for the first day of the women's heptathlon. Diana Pickler's first-day best is 3,485 points scored at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Arizona sophomore Jacquelyn Johnson, the 2006 Pac-10 heptathlon champion, leads the field of the 28 competitors with a first-day total of 3,526 points. Missouri senior Tracy Partain is in second place with 3,516 points.
Julie Pickler started the day with the fifth-fastest time of the four sections of the 100m hurdles, 14.20 seconds. Diana Pickler, running in the same section as her sister, clocked in with the 10th-fastest time of 14.46 seconds, in spite of hitting a hurdle mid-way through the race and struggled to stay on her feet.
In the high jump, Diana Pickler cleared the best height of the competition, a personal-best of 5-feet, 10 inches (1.78m), as did two other competitors. Diana Pickler passed on the first opening two heights and cleared 5-3 (1.60m) on her first attempt. She then passed on 5-4 1/4 (1.63m) before clearing the next five heights on her first attempt. She missed all three attempts at 5-11 1/4 (1.80m).
Like her sister, Julie Pickler passed on the first two heights but then cleared the next four bars on her first try. She needed all three attempts before clearing 5-7 3/4 (1.72m), a season-best, but then missed all three attempts at her PR height of 5-8 3/4 (1.75m). Julie Pickler's high jump was tied for eighth overall.
Moving to the shot put, Julie Pickler threw a lifetime-best 41-7 1/4 (12.68m) which was fifth-farthest in the event on her third and final throw. Diana Pickler tossed the shot 38-0 (11.58m) on her opening toss, 15th-farthest on the day.
The 200m dash, the final event of the first day, Diana Pickler ran the fastest time with her lifetime-best 24.31 seconds. Julie Pickler's time of 24.68 seconds was fifth-fastest and her best non-wind-aided time of the season.
The heptathlon concludes Saturday with the long jump, javelin and 800m run.
"I think they are both in good shape going into the second day," Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "After the hurdle race they rebounded really well emotionally to get back in the game. Both moved themselves right back into a tie for third. I think we are a good position to get out and compete tomorrow."
Pullman junior John Cassleman qualified for the men's 400m hurdles final with a semifinal time of 49.77 seconds, seventh-fastest in Friday's semifinals. Cassleman's semifinal time was faster than his prelim time of 50.74 seconds and just slightly slower than his personal best time of 49.53 seconds, second-best in WSU history. Pac-10 and NCAA West Region champion Shane Charles from Washington, finished ninth in a time of 50.16 and did not advance to the final.
"Johnny did a great job of really closing in at the end, his leg speed came up and he was really moving fast at the end of the race," Sloan said. "He did a really nice job."
Freshman Justin Woods (Buena Vista, Calif.) did not advance from the men's 200m dash semifinals after running a time of 21.55 seconds, 18th overall as the top nine advanced to the final.
Saturday's competition for Cougars includes the rest of the women's heptathlon, Tamara Diles in the women's pole vault final, and the men's 400m hurdles final.