April 5, 2007
AUSTIN, Texas -- Washington State's Diana Pickler won the women's heptathlon at the 80th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, Thursday, breaking her own school record and the 17-year-old Pacific-10 Conference record by scoring 6,204 points at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas Austin campus.
Diana Pickler, a four-time All-American from Sachse, Texas, reached lifetime-best marks in both the long jump and the 800m as she broke her own WSU school heptathlon record by 349 points and had the top mark by a collegian in Texas Relays history. Additionally, Pickler claims the Pac-10 heptathlon record, surpassing the 1990 total of 6,132 points by Arizona State's Gea Johnson. Diana's twin sister, Julie Pickler, also a WSU senior co-captain and four-time All-American and the defending Texas Relays champion, finished in third place 5,734 points which equals her lifetime-best score. Ryanne Dupree of Texas-San Antonio finished second with 5,817 points. Both Picklers surpassed the NCAA Automatic Qualifying standard of 5,500 points to compete at the national outdoor championships in June.
"Diana came out and nailed it again today," WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "You look at the whole body of work and she PR'd five of the seven events, many of them, with milestones - 20-foot long jump, 6-foot high jump, school record hurdles, sub-24 200, so big, big barrier-breakers with those marks. The other two events were the shot put and the javelin and she had heptathlon PRs in those. It was a complete effort all the way through. The score and the marks came surprisingly easy for Diana. If you watched her compete it seemed like it was a piece of cake for her, one event after another. She was solid as a rock throughout this thing."
Diana Pickler started Thursday right where she left off Wednesday, with lifetime-best marks. She long jumped 20-feet, 2 1/4 inches (6.15m) which is was second-best of the competition and tied for fourth on WSU's all-time list. Julie Pickler long jumped 19-2 3/4w (5.86), fourth-best on the day.
Both Picklers ran lifetime-best times in the 800m race. Diana ran a time of 2:19.08, seventh fastest among the 19 competitors, and Julie ran a time of 2:16.05, second-fastest in the seventh and final event.
"I'm finally doing what I know I have the potential to do." Diana Pickler said. "I knew I could go 6000 (points) this year. I have been so consistent at high marks but I haven't been able to cross bars in those events that I knew I was close to. Everything happened (here) that I expected to happen so it was pretty cool. It is very satisfying. I didn't want to know what I had to run in the 800m to break a record, I just wanted to run. Ryanne Dupree, the girl from San Antonio, she helped me run my time, she pulled me."
"Julie equaled her lifetime best and a great competitive 800m," Sloan said. "When I read Julie her marks, I had her grade them in a range from zero to 10 in her level of satisfaction and they ranged from 4 to 6 1/2 except for the 800m and she gave that a 9. My point was, you just equaled your lifetime best with, other than the 800, a very average, mediocre heptathlon and that has to be exciting to think where this could go from this point forward."
Julie Pickler said, "It was so exciting to run the 2:16 in the 800m. It was such a good confidence-builder. I'm right on the edge to do well in everything but I need a little more practice to find those key things to line it all up and so its all automatic in a meet. To be able to put it together with mediocre but solid marks across the board, it's a big confidence-builder to know that I can score pretty high. I just can't wait to get back to practice and get on it because I know what I can do. I'll be there when it comes to Pac-10 and nationals. What makes this meet so enjoyable is that I didn't come in thinking about places or about who is here, I just focused on my marks and it all played out when I got to the 800."
"I'm proud of both of them, the way they competed and the way they battled through this thing," Sloan said. "For Diana it wasn't much of a battle, it came pretty easy to her. Julie fought well, made a couple of bars on third attempts but did a good job of staying at it and working on it and I think when we polish it up a little bit, it will be pretty good for her too."
In other events at the Relays, WSU's McKenzie Garberg threw the hammer 181-6 (55.33m) for ninth place in the women's University section and Phil MacArthur finished 16th in the men's hammer after throwing 180-4 (54.96m). In the men's 400m hurdles prelims, John Cassleman ran a time of 52.55 for 20th and Robert Williams ran a PR time of 53.15 for 32nd. The top 19 runners advanced to the final.
The Texas Relays heptathlon competition continues Friday, April 6, at Austin.