May 11, 2003
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Washington State's Ellannee Richardson won her third Pacific-10 Conference heptathlon championship Sunday at the Combined-Events Meet at USC's Katherine B. Loker Stadium.
Richardson, a redshirt senior from Gladstone, Ore., finished the seven-event competition with 5,766 points which bettered her national-leading and NCAA Automatic Qualifier total of 5,701 points, scored in March at the UC Multi-Events Meet. A three-time heptathlon All-American, Richardson holds the school record of 5,821 points, accumulated at last year's conference meet. She is listed third in this year's Track & Field News United States heptathlon rankings, and the top collegian.
Stanford's Lillian Bush finished second in the heptathlon with 5,519 points, followed by Abby Andrus from Oregon with 5,303 points. WSU freshman Diana Pickler (Sasche, Texas) finished fourth with 5,254 points and junior Louise Akesson (Lyckeby, Sweden) finished eighth with 4,347 points. Pickler bettered her NCAA Provisional Qualifying mark by 134 points.
Oregon's Santiago Lorenzo captured his second Pac-10 Decathlon title (2001) with an NCAA AQ total of 7,564 points. WSU redshirt freshman Darion Powell (Kirkland, Wash.) was second with an NCAA PQ and lifetime-best of 7,386 points. Cougar junior David Turpin (Oakhurst, Calif.) finished eighth with a PR of 6,826 points.
Richardson had reached a personal-best first day total of 3,430 points Saturday, but had to battle gusty winds in the final three events Sunday. She had the top mark among the nine competitors in the javelin of 135-feet, 7-inches (41.33m), but finished third in both the long jump, at 18-8 1/2w (5.70m), and in the 800m run (2:15.62).
"Overall I was fairly happy with this weekend," Richardson said Sunday evening. "I have some weak spots in there. I had a strong first day and kind of struggled somewhat today. I was having problems getting on the board in the long jump and the javelin wasn't quite where I wanted it to be. Hopefully it will come in the next meet. I'm trying fine tune things and the next month will be spent focusing on the national meet. I'll pick and choose some events to compete in at the Regional Meet, depending on where I need work."
At the Pac-10 Championships next weekend, Richardson will run the 100m hurdles, 200m and both relays for the Cougars. A fierce competitor, Richardson has competed in at least five events on the second weekend of the Pac-10s for the past three years.
"I'm very proud of Ellannee Richardson and what she has been able to do for four Pac-10 seasons," Head Coach Rick Sloan said. "From a second her first year to the person who was the national champion that year (Tracye Lawyer, Stanford), and then coming back with three Pac-10 titles in a row. Three great scores. She always puts up good numbers. I don't think she was one-hundred percent on top of her game this weekend but I know that she will be at the national championships and I think she is going to do some great things there."
Pickler leaped 18-5 1/4 for a three-way tie at fourth in the long jump, was a runner up to Richardson in the javelin with a throw of 124-0, and ran the 800m in 2:35.65 (seventh). Akesson reached 16-8 1/2w for seventh in the long jump, threw the javelin 83-9 for ninth, and finished the 800m in a time of 2:26.88 (fifth).
Powell led the 11 decathlon competitors after the first day and had a solid start in the first two events Sunday, winning the 110m hurdles in 14.76 seconds, and the discus with a toss of 141-2 (43.02m). Powell's pole vault clearance at 12-11 1/2 (3.95m) was below his PR of 13-9 1/4 and tied for ninth in the event. Next, he finished second in the javelin with a throw of 169-9 (51.74m), and then ran the 1500m in a PR time of 4:50.00 (seventh).
"I felt okay about my first day but my second day was kind of poor for me," Powell said. "I haven't been able to practice the pole vault for the past month and a half so I couldn't really find my step and get my pole but I'm going to work on that in the next few weeks. Lack of practice and my legs were just tired. I think I used up my energy for the first day getting pumped up for every event."
Turpin finished 11th in the high hurdles (16.56), seventh in the discus (117-7), tied for sixth in the pole vault (PR 13-7 1/4), third in the javelin (PR 167-7), and fourth in the 1500m (4:39.93). His final total was 606 points ahead of his previous PR total of 6,220.
The Washington State women lead in the team standings after one event with 16 points followed by Stanford with 12 points. Oregon leads the men's team standings after one event with 19 points followed by WSU's nine points.
"Anything we come out of the heptathlon, decathlon gives us a little step up and a head start," Sloan said. "I think we are in good shape going in but we are going to have to compete very hard next weekend to get some good things done."
The Pac-10 Track & Field Championships continue next Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18, on the USC campus in Los Angeles.