March 11, 2006
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Julie Pickler was the runner-up in the women's pentathlon, earning All-America honors during the final day of competition at the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships held at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus.
Pickler, a junior from Sachse, Texas, had a personal-best mark in four of five events and broke her own school record with a total of 4,267 points. Arizona State's Jacquelyn Johnson won the pentathlon with 4,287 points.
"This was one of those days where I just thought, `I feel amazing'," Pickler said. "I had my expectations pretty high but I was ready to do well. There was consistency in my training leading up to this meet; I trained hard and everything was there. It paid off."
Pickler ran the 60m hurdles with a PR time of 8.58 seconds, sixth fastest among the 18 competitors. She reached a PR height of 5-feet, 9 1/4 inches (1.76m) in the high jump which was the second-best clearance overall. Her shot put throw of 38-9 3/4 (11.83m) was a PR and the eighth-farthest. Pickler had the fourth-best long jump with a leap of 19-6 (5.94m), just missing her PR by 3/4 inch but avoiding the three fouled attempts that knocked her out of the 2005 NCAA Indoor Pentathlon.
In the final event of the five-event competition, Pickler ran a PR time in the 800m of 2-minutes, 17.48 seconds, which was fifth-fastest of the day. Her second place finish gave WSU eight team points, for a tie at 26th.
"Julie looked strong the whole day," Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "She continues to improve and she showed it with four PRs today."
Pickler's twin sister, Diana, a two-time pentathlon All-American at WSU who is recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the second week of the 2006 indoor season, flew to Fayetteville and surprised her sister Julie.
"I cried when she walked in with my family," Julie said. "It really meant a lot that she came to support me."
Tamara Diles, a redshirt junior from Bellevue, Wash., finished 10th in the women's pole vault with a clearance at 13-feet, 1 1/2 inches (4.00m). Diles, a 2002 and 2005 indoor All-American, passed on the opening height of 12-7 1/2 (3.85m) and then cleared her first attempt with the bar at 13-1 1/2 (4.00m). She missed all three attempts at 13-9 1/4 (4.10m). UCLA's Chelsea Johnson won the women's pole vault with a clearance at 14-9 (4.50m) on a fewer misses with Florida State's Lacy Janson.
"Tamara struggled today and was between poles when she missed her three attempts at 4.10m," Sloan said. "But I'm encouraged by her progress and think we'll see good things from her in the outdoor season."
The Washington State men's and women's track and field teams will compete in their first outdoor meet of the 2006 season Friday and Saturday, March 17-18, at the University of Arizona's Willie Williams Invite.