June 9, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Washington State's Marissa Tschida took third place and Courtney Kirkwood placed ninth in the women's javelin at the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday.
Tschida, a senior from Missoula, Mont., and the two-time Pacific-10 Conference champion, threw the spear 171-feet, 3 inches (52.20m) on her fourth attempt. Oklahoma's Brittany Borman won the event with a throw of 178-2 (54.32m), tossed on her fourth attempt and overtaking Stanford's Eda Karesin by slightly more than six feet.
There was a delayed start to the women's javelin of over an hour due to wet conditions from a thunderstorm Wednesday night which delayed other events sharing the field. Tschida's series of throws included distances of 167-6 (51.06m), a foul, and 149-4 (45.52m), placing her second after the first three attempts, and four feet behind the leader, Karesin. Tschida's final three attempts were 171-3 (52.20m), a foul on the right side of the sector, and then by the narrowest of margins, another right side foul. After letting her final throw fly, the official in the field raised the white flag to signal a fair throw and then immediately changed to a red flag to signal a foul. The coaches estimated this was her farthest throw of the day.
"That last throw was the winner, a lifetime-best, and a school record but it just landed a couple of inches out of bounds," Cougar Associate Coach and throws mentor Debra Farwell said. "Marissa has dinked up elbow and was taped up so she couldn't fully extend through a throw so she couldn't get turned on the javelin. To make matters worse there was a cross-wind and we have troubles with cross winds. Between the elbow and the cross wind we made adjustments to her approach but that throw just blew out of bounds."
Tschida, who had the top throw in the country entering this competition at 183-9 (56.02m), earned her third All-American certificate and leaves collegiate competition as the WSU all-time record-holder. In previous NCAA finals Tschida has finished fourth, sixth and 18th. Tschida will not be competing at the USA National Championships later this month in Eugene in order to rest and rehabilitate her elbow.
Kirkwood, a junior from Othello, Wash., placed ninth with a throw of 160-0 (48.78), an improvement from her 2010's 11th place finish. Kirkwood series of throws measured 158-8 (48.37m), 158-7 (48.34m), 155-11 (47.52m), for ninth place through three attempts with only the top nine advancing to the final. Kirkwood's final three attempts were 145-11 (44.49m), 160-0 (48.78m), and 152-9 (46.57m).
Farwell pointed out her pride in the improvement this season by Kirkwood. "I told Courtney after the competition today that it was her turn now. She's getting married next week and she needs to get rested through the summer but she will be ready to come back and continue improving next year."
"Today started slow and Courtney and I worked hard to get it back and fought tooth and nail through finals," Tschida said. "I was extremely proud of her. That last throw was what I wanted, what I needed, just inches out of the sector. I am grateful for my coach, trainers, teammates and the people who surrounded me at Washington State. I will always be honored to be a Coug."
WSU Head Coach Sloan estimated Tschida's final throw to be in the 184- to 186-foot range. "She had a great run and great rhythm to the throw but because of the hurt elbow she couldn't really connect with the javelin," Sloan said. "She and Courtney really pushed themselves in the final throws. Marissa put in a lot of work the past year with the goal of winning the national champion. I'm sad for her."
The final Cougar to compete at the NCAA Championships will be Jeshua Anderson, running in the 400m hurdles final Friday night at 4:45 p.m. Pacific Time. The CBS Sports cable channel will carry live coverage of the NCAA Championships Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. PT.