June 8, 2007
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Washington State University's Julie Pickler was the runner-up in the heptathlon while Matt Lamb finished sixth it the men's discus and McKenzie Garberg was eighth in the women's discus at the NCAA Div. I Track & Field Championships at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex Friday.
Julie Pickler, a senior from Sachse, Texas, scored a lifetime-best 5,831 points for second place and her fifth All-America certificate. Jackie Johnson scored 5,984 points for the heptathlon win, her second consecutive and third NCAA hept title for the Arizona State junior. Julie Pickler had started the day in seventh place and remained there after the long jump competition but moved to fifth place after the javelin and then to second with her 800m run. Jillian Drouin, a junior from Syracuse, finished third, just nine points behind Julie Pickler.
In a surprising move, WSU senior and Julie's twin sister, Diana Pickler, continued with her heptathlon competition Friday in spite of her disqualification in the 200m Thursday which dropped her from first place to 25th place in the standings after four events. Diana Pickler finished 24th with 4,926 points.
"This hept had everything in it - in the hurdles I was happy to be under 14 (seconds), in the high jump I had a PR, shot didn't go that great and the 200 was horrible, long jump was a season-best, javelin was a little under a PR and then my 800 was great," Julie Pickler said. "It had more positives but they weren't fabulous marks. When you are kind of near your best it turns out to be a great score. That is funny about the hept. I was happy with the end result, a PR. I can't ask for anything better. You hope to get better in each meet."
Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan said, "Julie has struggled for the better part of the year since she had the procedure done on her foot she's never quite found her stride and only recently, at the Pac-10 Championships and again here. She's still not where she wants to be but she's finally starting to come around and this was a big PR for her today. I think what needs to be understood is that she had to wrestle the fact that her twin sister was disqualified and they are very, very close. But Julie did a great job with focusing on her performance. I was really proud of the way she pulled herself up today."
In the first event of the heptathlon's second day, Diana Pickler long jumped 19-6 3/4 (5.96m), sixth-best of the competition, and Julie Pickler long jumped a season-best leap of 19-6 1/4w (5.95m) which was seventh-best among the heptathletes.
Julie Pickler threw the javelin 130-4 (39.74m), just four inches off her lifetime-best throw, and the eighth-best throw of the day. Diana Pickler threw the javelin 128-10 (39.26m), about 15-feet below her PR and ninth-best of the day but moved it her up to 23rd place.
In the 800m race, Julie Pickler, running with the leaders in the second section, ran a time of 2:16.66, just 61/100s of a second off her PR time, and third-best time of entire field. Diana Pickler ran a time of 2:28.38, well off her PR time of 2:19.08.
Commenting on her decision to compete Friday, Diana Pickler said, "It (the disqualification Thursday) was so emotional at first that I didn't think about it (continuing to compete) and then we knew if I came out and finished the second day, it would just make me stronger and be more of a learning experience for me. We (Coach Sloan) didn't talk about it until later when we got back to the hotel. I was in a state of shock and not talking for awhile. After I calmed down, I was able to talk about things we realized that to go and sit in the stands would be way worse. I'm also going to be there for Julie but to sit up there isn't right. I worked so hard for this I knew I had to come out and compete."
When asked about her sister's Friday efforts, Julie Pickler said, "It affected me a lot. I was in tears this morning with her. I know she was really crushed but I felt as crushed as she was. For her to go out and do it meant so much to me, I just couldn't imagine no having her out there. I know she had a rough time but I think she did it a lot for me. It says so much about who she is and what kind of athlete she is. It took a lot to not only finish her college hept but to be there for me. It was sad but she is moving on and looking to the positive."
Lamb, a sophomore from Emmett, Idaho, repeated as an All-American with his sixth-place finish in the men's discus final in spite of being in a great deal of pain. Lamb's throw of 196-9 (59.98m) is just under his PR of 198-5 (60.47m) thrown at the NCAA West Regionals two weeks ago. His best throw Friday came on his fifth attempt although he opened the day with a throw of 196-1 (59.76m). BYU senior Niklas Arrehenius won with a throw of 206-2 (62.84m).
"It was good coming out here today and throwing 59.98, that was a lot better than I expected," Lamb said. "I saw a doctor yesterday and he said I'd strained my SI (sacroiliac) joint and my lumbar is out of alignment so I was in a lot of pain in the prelims and barely got in the final but coming out here and doing that well was better than I expected. Yesterday it took me 30 minutes to get out of bed and another 10 to crawl to the bathroom so being able to come out here and throw today was just a blessing."
Cougar Associate Coach and throws coach Debra Farwell said, "Matt was very close to a lifetime best and yesterday he couldn't even get out of bed. I was really concerned that we were going to leave here today with a very poor effort but worked really hard on getting some stretch and some flexibility with some anti-inflamatories on board. He just did everything he could yesterday to get mentally ready. He started feeling better last night and opened up today with a big throw and then came back in the finals with a throw that improved that. It's funny, he finished sixth here this year with a throw that was seven-feet further than last year when he finished third. It was a very competitive group. I'm really proud of his effort especially since yesterday he could barely get out of bed."
A controversy with the electronic measuring devices in the women's discus final had Garberg, a junior from Benton City, Wash.) moved from eighth place to second place and finally back to eighth place with a throw of 168-0 (51.20m). Garberg was one of 12 throwers to advance to Friday's competition and on her third throw moved into eighth place with a throw of 168-0 (51.20m). The top nine women went on to throw three additional attempts. On Garberg's fourth attempt of the day, she was given a mark of 168-0 (51.20m) again and the officials thought they might have been reading a previous throw so they went to re-measure Garberg's attempt but the official had already moved the field marker. On the re-measurement it was determined the mark was 180-8 (55.07m), moving Garberg from eighth to second place. It was reported that coaches from Arizona State and Kansas filed protests over the re-measurement and the officials examined a video tape to make a clarification. Garberg's fourth attempt was then "vacated" from the records since no proper measurement could be verified. California's Kelechi Anyanwu won the women's discus with a throw of 188-11 (57.58m).
"My effort today wasn't half as good as Wednesday's," Garberg said. "I was a little flat to start with but to be an All-American, I wasn't even supposed to make it this far with all my throws. To come in eighth, I'll take it. This was my first time here. I can now say I belong in a group of elites as an All-American. I'm very proud of how I ended up. Switching from second to this, I still have my certificate, I still have my award, so it's okay. I'll take that for this year but next year I want to come back with a vengeance."
"Unfortunately they took a throw away from McKenzie and she didn't get another legal throw and that's not good but she wasn't given a throw that she probably didn't really deserve. I can sleep better that that happened. That move from eighth to second affected a lot of people. She did a good job today after coming out a little flat. She did a great job in the third round to get a throw off to get her into the final. She finished eighth, she's All-American, she got a plaque, she got on the awards stand, she got a point for the Cougs, I'm proud as heck of her."
Moreno Zapata (sophomore, Lakewood, Wash.) leaped 50-3 1/2 (15.33m) in the men's triple jump prelims which was 20th overall and only the top 12 advanced to the final. This was the second-longest non-wind-aided triple jump for Zapata in his two years at WSU.
John Cassleman, senior from Pullman, Wash., did not advance to the men's 400m hurdles final after running a time of 51.91 seconds in the semifinals which was 15th overall.
There is no more competition for the Cougars at the 2007 NCAA Championships. The women's team ended Friday with nine points and the men's team had the three points.
At the end of the day, Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan commented on the Cougars. "When I sat and talked to Diana Pickler last night at the hotel, we talked about the alternatives of not competing and staying at the hotel, sitting in the stands and watching her sister compete or putting on the uniform on and competing. Being on the field and competing was the easiest thing but she really struggled with it and just the emotions of having your insides ripped out. It showed in her performance today that nothing was really at stake anymore. She did a nice job. She long jumped at 19-6, javelin wasn't very good for her because she has been throwing very well. The entire time she was done with the javelin she struggled back and forth with whether to run the 800m or not. I think she's very happy with the decision to compete today and even more so to runt he 800m and close out her collegiate career with a finishing score and put closure to the Washington State part of her career."
Regarding women's discus conclusion "It is what's right. I talked to Mike Maynard on the rules committee. It played out right. Mac did a great job at this meet and you can't take away from what she did by that one throw or that one blunder by the officials. She did very well to get into the final and she competed well in the final. I'm really proud of the job she did here and I'm looking forward to next year, she's going to be a great thrower for us."
Regarding Matt Lamb's effort, "Yesterday when he woke up there was a question as to whether he could walk let alone throw a discus. He was in so much pain, he was incompacitated. Myra Tara, our trainer, got him into see doctors and with the muscle relaxers and ice and stim yesterday and even this morning, and really worked hard on him. He came out today and took all six of his throws. Matt always competes well at the national championships and he threw nearly eight feet further than he threw last year and went from third to sixth, that is how much more competitive it was. For him to come out and do what he did in this meet, maybe the second-longest throw of his life, under the circumstances with his back that is a terrific testament to his competitiveness."
Overall, "I don't know if I expected McKenzie (to be an All-American). That is why it was such a great job. She was quite a ways down that list and for her to finish eighth in the competition; that is terrific. I don't put anything past Matt. I think that when he steps into the ring, anything can happen and it did here. Maybe we could have had four All-Americans with Diana in there. But we were hoping maybe John Cassleman could get it together and get himself into the final and have a shot to repeat as an All-American there. It was available for Drew Ulrick to get into the second day but he didn't throw quite far enough.
"We had some good performances and we were close in some areas. Moreno Zapata did a nice job. I thought Robert Williams did a really nice job with two races under 14 seconds, two lifetime-bests, legal wind. That is what this meet was for, for some of these people to gain the experience and to try and get into the next round or the next day of competition. Come out of here a little bit better than when you came in. Some of the marks don't show that but I think a lot of people gained valuable experience and these same people coming back next year to go to nationals will do a better job for us."