May 6, 2007
STANFORD, Calif. -- Washington State University's Diana Pickler and Julie Pickler finished one-two in the heptathlon while Cougar Rickey Moody took third place in the decathlon at the Pac-10 Multi-Events Championships, presented by 76 Gasolines, held at Cobb Track and Angell Field on the Stanford University campus.
The Picklers, Cougar seniors and co-captains from Sachse, Texas, had strong performances in the three events of the second day with Diana Pickler scoring 6,018 points for the title and a Pac-10 meet record, and Julie Pickler scoring a lifetime-best and improved NCAA Automatic Qualifying total of 5,790 points for second place (third-best heptathlon score in Cougar women's history). Jackie Johnson, the 2006 and 2004 Pac-10 heptathlon champion, finished third with 5,706 points.
This was the second-time this spring Diana Pickler scored over 6,000 points in the heptathlon. She won the Texas Relays heptathlon with WSU and Pac-10 records of 6,205 points. This point total is the fourth-best heptathlon by a collegian woman in-season, and an "A" Qualifier for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
"This year Diana has developed into a great competitor," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "She doesn't hurt herself or make mistakes. She is very solid with her performances. That is a big step for her; to not only get to a high level of competition and a high level of performance, but to be consistent and to be able to put it up time after time. I was really happy she was able to put up 6,018 points in this meet, coming right back after her 6,205 points at Texas with another 6,000-point performance. Everyone can now say, `oh yeah, she's for real.' We knew she was for real but I think other people recognize that now as well."
Diana Pickler long jumped a lifetime-best distance of 20-feet, 4 1/4 inches (6.20m), which was second-best in this hept, fourth-best in school history, and an improved NCAA Regional Qualifying mark. She had the top javelin throw of the day, another PR with a toss of 144-5 (44.03m) which is seventh-best in school history and an improved NCAA RQ. Diana Pickler had a comfortable lead before running the 800m where she clocked in a time of 2 minutes, 23.62 minutes which was the fifth-fastest time of the day.
Julie Pickler leaped a season-best long jump of 19-4 1/4w (5.90m) and threw the javelin a PR distance of 130-8 (39.82m). Going into the final heptathlon event, the 800m, Johnson had an eight-point lead over Julie Pickler for second place. Julie Pickler ran a time of 2:19.24, second-fastest of the day and ensured her a second-place finish while Johnson ran a time of 2:26.18.
"Overall it was a great job by Julie, her lifetime best and very solid all the way through," Sloan said. "Nothing stands out as being really great, great - she did have a PR in the javelin - but it was very good performances all the way through. Julie is excited about just now hitting her stride after struggling a little bit earlier this season. I think a lot of good things are happening for her right now. With another month of training and preparation, and ironing out a little bit of the details as we go along, I think Julie's going to be very good at the nationals."
Lifetime-best scores were achieved by all three Cougar men Sunday. Moody, a junior from Puyallup, Wash., took third place with an improved NCAA Provisional Qualifying total of 7,109 points, just 14 points behind second-place finisher Ashton Eaton, a freshman from Oregon. Junior Justin Chambers (Albany, Ore.) finished ninth with 6,390 points, and freshman Kyle Schauble (Kennewick, Wash.) was 10th with 6,385 points. Arizona's Jake Arnold, successfully defended his 2006 Pac-10 decathlon title with an NCAA Automatic Qualifying 7,755 points to lead the field of 12 men.
Moody and Schauble ran PRs in the 110m hurdles with Moody's time 14.69 seconds and Schauble running a time of 15.03. Chambers ran a time of 16.85. Moody had the top discus throw of the day, a heave of 146-3 (44.59m). Chambers discus throw was 112-3 (34.21m), and Schauble threw a PR distance of 96-0 (29.27m).
Schauble had a PR pole vault clearance with the bar at 12-7 1/2 (3.85m) and Chambers also cleared that height which equaled his PR. Moody cleared 11-11 3/4 (3.65m) in the pole vault which dropped him in the overall standings from second place to third.
Moody moved back into second place after heaving a season-best javelin throw of 170-10 (52.08m). Chambers javelin throw measured 158-11 (48.43m) and Schauble tossed the spear 140-5 (42.81m).
"Rickey hasn't thrown a javelin all year long because his elbow was bothering him. He'd work on his run-up but he hasn't thrown at all and it showed when he got into this competition," Sloan said. "We had his arm all strapped up and he took all three practice throws because the arm didn't bother him. We hoped to get something up in the mid-180s and we wound up with 170-10. Rickey was in second place going into the javelin but Ashton Eaton improved on his last throw and that made it really tough on Rickey."
All three Cougars ran PR times in the 1500m with Chambers running the top time of 4:19.92. Schauble's time was 4:37.14 and Moody ran a time of 5:11.74.
"Eaton ran a pretty good 1500m and Rickey ran pretty good for Rickey but he wound up dropping to third place by two seconds," Sloan said. "Justin ran a great 1500m, as we might expect, and Kyle ran a very good 1500m too. And they all ended up with PRs in the decathlon. Rickey had a good solid day and 7109 might get him into the NCAA Championships, we'll have to wait and see. Kyle will be much better next year because he now understands the training load that is involved and there are events he is starting to understand now. A lot of events he's struggling with right now will be fine next year and some of them will eventually become strengths for him."
The Picklers' one-two heptathlon finish gives the Cougar women a Pac-10 team-leading 18 points. The Cougar men have six points from Moody's third-place finish. Both Picklers, Moody and Schauble are all scheduled to also compete in the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships, presented by 76 Gasolines, May 12 & 13, at Stanford.