May 6, 2006
EUGENE, Ore. -- Julie Pickler, a Washington State University junior and the defending conference heptathlon champion, is in second place after the first four events of the women's heptathlon at the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships being contested at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.
Pickler, from Sachse, Texas, scored 3,415 points, just three points less than her lifetime-best and is 200 points behind leader Jacquelyn Johnson of Arizona State. Katie Miller, a senior from Vancouver, Wash., is ninth with a first-day total of 2,989 points. There are 13 women competing in the heptathlon at this meet.
Pickler started the day running the second-fastest time of the four heats of the 100m hurdles with a PR time of 13.78 seconds, which is also an improved NCAA Regional Qualifying mark. Miller, who ran a PR time of 13.86 last weekend, clocked in with a time of 14.50, seventh-fastest of the 13 competitors.
In the high jump Pickler cleared 5-feet, 6 1/2 inches (1.69m), tied with three others for third highest. Miller cleared the bar at 5-4 1/4 (1.63m) for a tie for eighth. Moving to the shot put, Pickler threw a season-best 39-1 (11.91m) which was second-farthest in the event and Miller tossed the steel ball 30-6 1/4 (9.30m).
The 200m dash, the final event of the first day, Pickler ran a time of 24.77 seconds while Miller ran a PR time of 25.68.
"Julie had the best hurdle race of her life but due to lack of training time because of the plantar fasciitis in her foot, the high jump was a little rough but she still managed to get over 1.69m," Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "She had a great shot put and unfortunately the wind switched right for her race in the 200m and she ran into a 1.1 meters per second headwind but ran okay. She's in good shape and doing well in the meet."
"After I ran a 100m hurdles open best of 13.92 last week, I knew if I cleaned it up I could get a PR today," Pickler said. "I haven't been able to practice my run-up in the high jump for a month so I did my best to keep up my speed on my approach. I had my second best-ever shot put. In the 200m, I lost my legs a little and got behind them and didn't stay relaxed. Overall, I tried to focus on just myself and not Jackie, although she was having such a great day, it was hard not to sneak a peak."
Coach Sloan commented on Miller's day, "Katie was running great in the third heat of the hurdles, had a nice lead in her race and she clipped a hurdle and got off-balance and was able to save it but it slowed her down. Her ankle was really bothering her in the high jump but she managed to get over 5-3 and nearly cleared 5-4 1/4. Shot put was a struggle but she came back and ran a lifetime-best 200m and finished the day in great shape. She's a little off her first-day lifetime best (3,018 points) but hopefully with some good events Sunday she can move up."
The last three heptathlon events at the Pac-10 Championships, the long jump, javelin and 800m run, begin at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, May 7.