April 4, 2007
AUSTIN, Texas -- Washington State's Diana Pickler leads the women's heptathlon and is on a record-pace with three lifetime-best marks after the first day of the 80th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays heptathlon, Wednesday, at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas Austin campus.
Diana Pickler, a four-time All-American from Sachse, Texas, scored a PR total of 3,767 points to lead the 19-competitor field. Diana's twin sister, Julie Pickler, also a WSU senior co-captain and four-time All-American, is in third place after the first day's four events, with 3,425 points. Julie Pickler is just 36 points behind second place competitor, Ryanne Dupree of Texas-San Antonio, who has 3,461 points. Julie Pickler is the defending Texas Relays heptathlon champion while Diana won in 2005 and Dupree was the 2004 victor.
"It was a very good day, after all the hard work that I have done in practices, I have seen the results," Diana Pickler said. "It's what I was expecting myself to do, start getting down in the times and reaching good heights. I worked really hard and I'm healthy and I expected this to start happening. I have been focusing on myself and hitting the marks that I want to hit and I haven't focused on anybody else."
"Both of them had good days, but Diana's was just spectacular," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "She doesn't have to PR in anything tomorrow and can probably reach 6100 points. And Julie is ahead of her own score from last year's first day by 17 points and she won here last year. All the buzz here is about Diana's performance but Julie is just quietly going along about her business and putting up a pretty good score. I think she can PR for herself and go over 5734. Diana is so over the top; three of her events were over 1000 points."
Diana Pickler opened the heptathlon by breaking her own school record in the 100m hurdles with the top time of the day, 13.28 seconds. This is the third consecutive week Diana Pickler has broken the school hurdles record, having run a time of 13.31 last week at Stanford. Julie Pickler, running in another heat, ran a wind-aided time of 14.01, which was eighth fastest on the day.
In the high jump, Diana Pickler cleared a lifetime-best height of 6-feet, 1/2 inch (1.84m), which was the top mark of the competition and the third-best height in WSU women's history. Julie cleared a season-best 5-7 3/4 (1.72m) in the high jump, which was third-best in the competition.
In the shot put, Diana Pickler tossed a distance of 38-6 3/4 (11.75m) and Julie put the shot 38-2 (11.63m), which were the fourth and fifth-best throws on the day.
The final event of the first day, the 200m dash, Diana Pickler ran a PR and the fastest time of the day, a time of 23.70w, while Julie ran a season-best time of 24.51W (4.8 mps wind) which was third-fastest of the competition. Diana Pickler's 200m time is sixth-best in WSU all-time women's records, and is the fifth individual event that she has reached NCAA Regional Qualifying during the 2007 season.
"It was a very solid day," said Julie Pickler. "I'm definitely capable of better but from where I've been so far this year (she had surgery for plantar fascitis in November 2006 and did not train for six weeks), I'm happy with it. There are a lot of really good girls here so there is great competition. I'm getting back in my groove. I'm excited to get there tomorrow."
"Diana is very focused and she is not thinking about total score or anything," Sloan said. "All she is thinking about now is getting recovered and rested up for tomorrow and then she's thinking long jump. Both of them will go one event at a time, concentrate on that event, do their best and then move on to the next. I think that is the way it is supposed to be, even when you are not doing well. It is real easy now to think about what the outcome might be but I'll do that, they don't want to do that. They want to go one event at a time."
The Texas Relays heptathlon competition continues Thursday, April 5, at Austin.