March 10, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Washington State University's Diana Pickler was the runner-up in the women's pentathlon with a school record Saturday at the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships held at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus.
Diana Pickler, a senior from Sachse, Texas, scored a personal-best mark and WSU school record total of 4,339 points in her second-place finish. Arizona State's Jacquelyn Johnson repeated as pentathlon champion with 4,393 points, after trading the lead with Diana Pickler twice during the competition. Cougar senior and Diana's twin sister, Julie Pickler, finished ninth with a total of 4,046 points. Both Picklers earned All-America honors.
Diana Pickler ran the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.35 seconds, second-fastest among the 16 competitors. She was just 1/4 inch off her high jump PR after clearing a height of 5-feet, 11 1/4 inches (1.81m) which was the highest clearance overall. Her shot put throw of 38-8 3/4 (11.80m) was a PR and the 11th-farthest. After three events, Diana Pickler trailed Johnson by only four points but after leaping to the top mark in the long jump at 19-5 1/2 (5.93m), she overtook the pentathlon lead by 38 points.
In the final event of the five-event competition, Diana Pickler ran a PR time in the 800m of 2-minutes, 20.09 seconds, which was eighth fastest of the day, while Johnson ran 2:13.52 to lead the pack and claim the title.
"Diana a strong hurdles race and her time of 8.35 seconds equals her third-fastest time ever," Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "She came back with a great high jump and cleared 5-11 1/4 by a large margin and I thought she might jump another bar or two higher. She had good attempts but just couldn't get over the bar at 1.84m (6-0 1/2). She threw her best shot put ever with her final throw and after the long jump Diana had the 38 point lead which is about a 2.5 second lead (in the 800m run). Diana ran a good race but Jackie went out put the hammer down and charged to the lead and ran a time of 2:13.52, and just put it away. Last year Julie had the lead going into the 800m race and Jackie came out and ran it down and this year she came out and competed well again. She is a tough cookie to beat."
Julie Pickler ran a 60m hurdles time of 8.72, high jumped 5-7 3/4 (1.72m), threw the shot 36-1 1/2 (11.01m), long jumped 18-9 1/4 (5.72m) and ran an 800m time of 2:19.03. Julie Pickler was the runner-up in the 2006 NCAA pentathlon with the previous school record of 4,267 points.
"I thought Julie was ready and she thought she was ready and warming up for the hurdles she looked good," Sloan said. "But the race was a little off and she had to work the whole time in the high jump. She never found the handle in the shot put. In the long jump Julie improved with each jump but didn't get to 19-feet. She went out and ran the 800m hard in 2:19.03, but the other people behind her in the points also ran fast so she remained in ninth place."
Diana Pickler's second place finish gave WSU eight team points, tied at 27th. Arizona State won the women's team title. Tyson Byers' third place finish in the men's pole vault Friday was six team points, tied for 32nd. Wisconsin won the men's team title.
Four Cougs started the outdoor season this weekend. At the Sasquatch Mini Meet hosted by Spokane Community College, WSU's McKenzie Garberg won the women's hammer with an NCAA Regional Qualifying mark of 179-feet, 5 inches (54.69m). In the men's hammer, Phil MacArthur took second place with a toss of 170-10 (52.08m), while Chase Mancuso finished third with a PR throw of 170-1, and Vic Asher's PR of 142-8 was eighth.
The rest of the Washington State track and field team members will compete in their first outdoor meet of the 2007 season Friday and Saturday, March 16-17, at the Baldy Castillo Invitational at Tempe, Ariz.