May 6, 2003
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS FIRST WEEKEND: Washington State University will send three heptathletes and two decathletes to the Pacific-10 Conference Combined Events Championships, May 10-11, at the University of Southern California's Cromwell Field at Loker Stadium...WSU senior Ellannee Richardson will be defending her two-time heptathlon title and freshman Diana Pickler and junior Louise Akesson will make their debuts in the conference meet...Darion Powell, a redshirt freshman, will be joined by junior transfer David Turpin in the decathlon...Saturday's events begin at 2 p.m. for the decathlon and 2:30 p.m. for the heptathlon...Sunday, the men begin their five events at noon while the women will begin their final three events at 1 p.m...Cougar coaches decided not to send anyone to Modesto this weekend...several seniors will be participating in graduation ceremonies May 10...the rest of the team will compete at the Moscow McDonald's Outdoor Meet.
ABOUT THE COUGAR MULTI-TASKERS:
Ellannee Richardson (senior, Gladstone, Ore.) is the two-time defending Pac-10 heptathlon champion and a three-time All-American in the event with fourth place NCAA finishes in 1999 and 2001 and second place last year...ranked third-best heptathlete (top collegiate) in the United States in 2003 by Track & Field News...set school record of 5,821 points set last season at the Pac-10 Championships...won the UC Multi-Events competition March 28-29 at Davis, Calif., with an NCAA automatic qualifying total of 5,701 points which ranks first nationally.
Diana Pickler (freshman, Sasche, Texas) was a high school All-American heptathlete, ranked first for preps in 2001, with 5,365 points...scored 5,120 points for third place at the UC Multi-Events competition March 28-29 at Davis, Calif...NCAA Provisional Qualifying total is currently ranked 20th nationally and seventh in West Region...expected twin sister Julie to also compete but an injured right foot will keep her out of competition.
Louise Akesson (junior, Lyckeby, Sweden) is a hurdler in her first season with the Cougars but in the tradition of LaTroya Mucker (1998), Agneta Rosenblad (2000) and Cicely Clinkenbeard (2000), will be trying a heptathlon for the first time at the conference championships in hopes of accruing team points.
Darion Powell (redshirt freshman, Kirkland, Wash.) was a prep All-American decathlete ranked first nationally in 2001...finished second at the UC Multi-Events competition March 28-29 at Davis, Calif., with 7,243 points...the NCAA Provisional Qualifying total is ranked 16th nationally and fourth among West Region competitors...was a redshirt last year during the outdoor season with a foot injury...just had cast removed from left wrist after fracturing it in a motorcycle accident.
David Turpin (junior, Oakhurst, Calif.) is a transfer from Southwestern Oregon CC where he set a school record of 6,220 points...finished JC career as 10-time All-American in long jump, high jump, triple jump, decathlon, and 4x100.
NATIONAL TEAM RANKINGS: The Trackwire 25 projects a hypothetical score for the NCAA meet, factoring in injury reports and other variables supported by information gathered from coaches and NCAA-qualifying competitions across the country...WSU is tied for 17th (with Rice) in the latest women's rankings but the Cougar men are not ranked...in the latest USTCA Team Power Rankings (dual meet predictors and demonstrate team depth), the Cougar women are seventh and WSU men are 15th.
ABOUT THE COUGAR COACHES: Head coach Rick Sloan is in his 30th season with the Cougar track program; ninth year as a head coach, eighth year as mentor to the combined men's and women's program...he is joined by associate coach Debra Farwell, and assistant coaches Mark Macdonald, Kris Grimes, Francesca Green and Jason Drake...volunteer coaches are Dan O'Brien and Michael Friedberg.
HUSKY DUAL MEET HIGHLIGHTS: Defeating cross-state rivals the Washington Huskies is usually a highlight in itself...this year's men's victory (WSU 116-UW 81) and women's win (WSU 113-UW 90) had several noteable performances...the WSU women went one-two-three in the both dashes and in the discus...Ellannee Richardson scored 23 points for the Cougar women's team when she won both the 200m dash and the long jump, ran the anchor leg on both winning relays and finished second in the 400m, an event she rarely runs...Marie Muai had a big day in front of family and friends, first winning the discus with a PR of 167-10, and then finished second in the hammer with a seven-foot PR of 174-0, and third in the shot put...Eric Dudley won both hurdles races (PR in 110m hurdles of 14.30) and the 400m dash (47.13)...Tim Gehring won both the shot put and hammer...Sam Lightbody won the discus with a lifetime best throw of 176-4, and finished second in the shot...Thad Cullinan (sophomore, Mukilteo,Wash.) finished second in the hammer with a lifetime best mark of 171-10...the javelin throwers provided a one-two-three finish with Matt McGee tossing 216-3, Nate Cummings throwing 210-8, and Curt Borland heaving 207-2...Ian Johnson came up with a big win in the steeplechase in a PR time of 9:07.97, and kept the Huskies from winning all the distance events (1500m, 3000m, 5000m, and steeplechase) on both the men's and women's sides...Anhony Buchanan was a double winner (100m and 200m) with Bennie Chatman second in the 100m and freshman James McSwain second in the 200m....a botched pass on the second exchange of the 4x100m relay between Chatman and McSwain DQed the Cougars and lost five points in the team total...Monique Jessie won the women's 400m hurdles with a PR time of 59.81.
NCAA REGIONAL QUALIFYING: This is the first year for NCAA Regional Meets...NCAA has divided the Division I schools into four vertically drawn regions: West, Midwest, Mideast, and East....there are 41 men's track and 42 women's track programs in the West Region...the meet will be at Stanford May 30-31...instead of national provisional and automatic qualifying standards (with exceptions for the 10k and heptathlon/decathlon events), the regional qualifying standards are based on the 100th best performance nationally from the previous year with all conference champions automatically invited to their respective regional...top-five finishers from each regional event automatically advance to the NCAA Championships, June 11-14, at Sacramento...in addition to top five regional finishers, an additional six to eight athletes nationally per event will be invited by the NCAA Championships selection committee based on a season performance list (in case of injury, illness, false-start/DQ, etc.) as long as that athlete competed in the regional...there will be an approximate 40 percent increase in competitor field sizes...individual events were 18-21 deep and relays 11-12, the 2003 fields will be 27-29 for individual events and 15-16 for relays with the total number of athletes expanded from 388 in 2002 to 544 in 2003.