April 7, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas -- Washington State redshirt sophomores and Texans Diana Pickler and Julie Pickler finished first and second, respectively, in the heptathlon at the 78th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas Thursday.
The Picklers, twin sisters from Sachse, Texas, dominated the 16-woman field in the seven-event, two-day heptathlong competition. Diana Pickler scored a personal best 5,492 points for the win while Julie's 5,414 points was also a PR. Cougar teammate Katie Miller, a junior from Vancouver, Wash., scored 4,894 points for 11th place.
Both Diana and Julie Pickler reached NCAA Provisional Qualifying standards with Diana's total just eight points below the Automatic Qualifying standard. Diana's mark is fourth-best in WSU all-time history and Julie's is sixth on that same list.
"I'm never satisfied but I'm happy with the outcome of the competition today," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "I'm glad Diana and Julie got PRs. I told Diana before the 800m race that she needed to run 2:29.31 for an Automatic Qualifying mark and she runs 2:29.88 so she just missed it. But these will be a couple of the top collegiate marks in the nation going into the NCAA Championships in June."
Diana and Julie finished one-two in the long jump with Diana's sole legal leap of three attempts going 18-feet, 11 1/4 inches (5.77m). Julie had two good attempts and a foul with her 18-8 leap coming in her first attempt and moved her to second place in the overall competition over Texas A&M's Jennifer Johnson by 36 points. Miller had a season-best long jump of 18-0 1/4 (5.49m) which was fifth-best among the remaining 16 heptathlon competitors and moved her from 13th to 12th place overall. Some of the long jump marks for other competitors were hampered by winds fierce as much a 6.7 meters per second.
"Julie's last jump was conservatively a mid-19-feet effort but she fouled it by half an inch." Sloan said. "We have to overcome Julie losing her big long jumps to fouls. It was a monster jump but did her no good."
While Diana Pickler did not throw the javelin the farthest (BYU's Maret Komarova threw 142-7), she did throw a javelin PR of 130-8 (39.82m) for second-farthest. Julie Pickler heaved the spear 128-7 (39.20) which was fourth-farthest and maintained her second place position in total points. Miller tossed the javelin 115-10 (35.30m) for seventh and again moved up a position in the overall standings to 11th.
The 800m run, the final of the seven events, found Miller in the first heat and the Picklers in the second section. Julie's time of 2 minutes, 25.24 seconds was fourth in her heat and sixth fastest overall while Diana clocked in at 2:29.88, seventh in the heat and 12th overall but enough to maintain her point lead over her sister. Miller ran the 800m in 2:29.85, fifth in her section and 11th fastest on the day.
"We need to get Katie's numbers up. It wasn't a bad meet for her - except the high jump - but not what we wanted either. Some of her events were just average," Sloan said.
The rest of the Cougar track and field teams will compete Friday and Saturday at the Brutus Hamilton Invite at Berkeley. All the combined events athletes - Darion Powell, Brandon Brownell, Diana Pickler, Julie Pickler and Katie Miller - will resume training Monday, April 11, straight through to the Husky Dual Meet, April 30, at Seattle. The multis will travel May 5 to the Pac-10 Combined Events Championships at UCLA, May 7-8.