June 13, 2003
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State University's Eric Dudley completed his collegiate career with a sixth-place finish in the men's intermediate hurdles Friday at the NCAA Div. I Men's and Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships at A.G. Spanos Sports Complex on the Sacramento State campus.
Dudley, a redshirt senior from Bellingham, Wash., ran his slowest time of the three races in the last three days but his 50.12 seconds time in the finals earned him a second All-America certificate. Dean Griffiths, a senior from Auburn University, won the intermediate hurdles with a time of 48.55. Dudley, the only Pac-10 competitor in the final, ran a semifinals time of 49.94 and a prelim time of 50.02. His PR in this event is 49.59, run this season at the Texas Relays. He finished fifth in the 400m hurdles at the 2001 national championships.
"I am not particularly happy," Dudley said. "I've run faster times. I made a big mistake early on by taking too many steps on the first hurdle. I lost my momentum and burned all my energy down the backstretch. I am not happy with the discipline I lacked in the race. But, I gave it my best shot, so I can't be too disappointed."
Cougar hurdles coach and former intermediate hurdle All-American Mark Macdonald gave his perspective on Dudley's performance, "Right away I knew he was in trouble. Being in lane one, he had two extra strides to the first hurdle. He was short with his strides to the first hurdle. But he recovered well down the backstretch. Eric wanted to win and was capable of winning. He was limited by two things: being in lane one and a sore hamstring. He and I made a deal before the meet not to talk about it. However, it was a significant injury the last three weeks. We really didn't want to run at the regional. I don't know how it was though because I didn't ask him about it and he didn't say anything about it. But I would guess it was a factor."
Ellannee Richardson reached a personal-best first day total of 3,432 points but was in third place among the 27 competitors after four events. Hyleas Fountain, a junior from the University of Georgia, is the heptathlon leader after the first day with 3,684 points and Idaho senior Angela Whyte is in second place, 26 points ahead of Richardson, with 3,506 points. WSU freshman Diana Pickler is in ninth place with 3,188 points.
Richardson, a redshirt senior from Gladstone, Ore., had the fourth-fastest time in the 100m hurdles at 13.92 seconds after running into a 2.2 mps headwind while neither Whyte (first at 13.75) and Fountain (second at 13.82) raced into the wind. Richardson, only 5-feet, 7 inches tall herself, cleared the high jump bar at 1.74m/5-8 1/2, a lifetime-best mark for her and fourth-best on the day. Her shot put was a disappointing toss of 10.36m/34-0, 20th in the field.
Pickler, from Sasche, Texas, and competing in her third collegiate heptathlon, ran the 100m hurdles in 14.32 which was ninth-best in the field. She high jumped 1.68m/5-6, which tied her PR and was among six competitors at sixth, and threw the shot put 10.82m/35-6 for 15th.
The final event of the heptathlon first day, the 200m dash, found the three overall leaders finishing in order. Fountain and Whyte were one-two in the fourth heat with Fountain clocking in at 23.53 and Whyte running a time of 23.78. Richardson's time of 23.95 won the second heat but was the third-fastest time in the event. Pickler ran the 200m dash in a time of 25.51, 12th among the group.
"Ellannee caught a bad break in the hurdles and had a negative 2.2 head wind to run against. That probably hurt her time," Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "Plus, she didn't have anybody to race and won the heat easily. She came back with a lifetime best in the high jump which was a big boost. Her shot put was down a little bit, but she ran a good 200 meters again with a negative wind. We're not getting any breaks on the wind."
"Diana was slow in the hurdles but her high jump was good," Sloan said. "That is where she has been strong all year long. Like Ellannee, her shot put was down, but it was not a killer. She was a little slow in the 200. She said she felt the head wind stand her up as she hit the straightaway. Her (200m) race at the biggest headwind of the day."
Looking at Saturday's final three heptathlon events Sloan said, "I think Diana will come back and have a good long jump and her javelin has come along. Then we are just going to have get in the 800m race and she will have to do what it takes to move into a scoring position (top eight). The two people who are ahead of Ellannee are outstanding long jumpers, so she will have her hands full. Ellannee is very good at both the javelin and the 800m. That is where she is going to have to make her move. I am confident in her ability to run a good 800m and pull this thing out."
Dudley's sixth-place intermediate hurdles finish earned the Cougar men three points and added to Darion Powell's fourth-place decathlon finish, WSU's men end the meet with eight points.
Washington State competitors in the final day of the NCAA Championships events include heptathletes Ellannee Richardson and Diana Pickler, high jumper Whitney Evans, and Anna Blue in the women's 5,000m final.