Burrell, Pappas Win U.S. Heptathlon, Decathlon Titles
June 20, 2002
Tom Pappas and Shelia Burrell held on to their first day leads to post victories at the USA Senior Combined Event National Championships Thursday at Cal's Edwards Stadium.
Nike's Burrell won four of seven events, including the long jump and javelin today, to post a stadium record 6299 points. The Indiana Invaders' DeeDee Nathan, who trailed Burrell by only 11 points after day one, finished second with 5995 points. Nathan was the two-time defending U.S. heptathlon champion
The top six spots remained unchanged from the first day of competition. Kim Schiemenz placed third with 5840, GiGi Miller was fourth at 5821, Fibo Track Club's Meredith Davis was fifth with 5594 and Sheffield Elite's Lindsay Taylor was sixth with 5562.
Burrell started the second day with a PR of 21-6.75 in the long jump, which was about a foot and a half better than any other athlete. She then won the javelin by almost nine feet with a heave of 148-3 and wrapped up the heptathlon with a second-place showing in the 800m (2:16.32).
'I'm really pleased with my long jump,' said Burrell, who finished second in the hepathlon at the U.S. championships the last two years. 'That's a PR for me. I wanted to get at least 6.50 (meters). The long jump actually helped me get back up to where I wanted to be. The last time I won USAs was in 1999, and that was the year DeDee (Nathan) no heighted (the high jump). That was the year she was leading. It always seems the U.S. championships elude me. I'm always a happy second-place finisher, the happiest third-place finisher.
'I'm never going to score 7292 like Jackie (Joyner-Kersey) did. But in the United States my intention is to no matter what is to go out there and be the next great American heptathlete, to represent the United States in the heptathlon. So what does winning the U.S. championship mean? It's another stepping stone onto things that are to come, so I'm happy.'
Pappas didn't win any events today but was steady en route to a stadium record 8398 points and his second U.S. decathlon title. He didn't complete the decathlon at the 2001 U.S. championships due to a shoulder injury. The fifth-place 2000 Olympic finisher's best events today were the 110mH (13.97, 978 points) and the pole vault (16-4.75, 910).
'There were a lot of mental mistakes,' said Pappas, 'and technically I wasn't there, but I think the physical part was pretty good.'
Azuza Pacific's Bryan Clay grabbed second place with a personal best of 8230 points, and last year's runner-up Phil McMullen of Nike took third with 7934 after starting the day in ninth. Former Cal star Bevan Hart, who competes for the Army's World Class Athlete Program, placed eighth with 7530 points.
Hart won the 2000 NCAA decathlon title but only began seriously training for this meet earlier this year due to his training with the Army. Entering the championship, Hart was shooting for a top seven finish, which would have earned him a spot in the upcoming U.S.-Germany meet. An elbow injury in the javelin - one of his better events -- slowed him down today. He did post a decathlon PR in the 110mH (14.85).
'It was a little sore when I took my first warm-up throw,' said Hart, who tallied only 601 points for his throw of 166-10 in the javelin. 'It kind of popped, and I knew I was in trouble. We wrapped it pretty tight, but as soon as I took my first throw, I knew I wouldn't come close to even my average marks. I wanted at least 7700 to 7900. My fitness just isn't there yet as you could see in the running events.'
After posting no points in the 400m yesterday, 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dan O'Brien came back today to win the discus (175-10) and the javelin (211-6). Despite also not running the 1500m, he placed 10th overall with 6904 points.
Senior Heptathlon (final):
1. Shelia Burrell (Nike) 6299, 2. DeDee Nathan (Indiana Invaders) 5995, 3. GiGi Miller (Unattached) 5821, 4. Meredith Davis (Fibo Track Club) 5594, 5. Meredith Davis (Fibo Track Club) 5594, 6. Lindsay Taylor (Sheffield Elite) 5562, 7. Tacita Bass (South Carolina) 5465, 8. Aja Frary (Nike) 5461, 9. Hyleas Fountain (Barton Community College) 5136, 10. Robin Unger (Beach Track Club) 4748, 11. Heather Sterlin (Coti) 3178.
Senior Decathlon (final):
1. Tom Pappas (adidas) 8398, 2. Bryan Clay (Azuza Pacific) 8230, 3. Phil McMullen (Nike) 7934, 4. Chad Smith (Unattached) 7914, 5. Stephen Moore (Unattached) 7793, 6. Joe Cebulski (Bell Athletics) 7748, 7. Stephen Harris (University of Tennessee) 7712, 8. Bevan Hart (U.S. Army) 7530, 9. Paul Terek (Michigan State) 7445, 10. Dan O'Brien (Ace-Racing Team) 6904, 11. Kip Janvrin (K and K Track Club) 6861, 12. David Pope (High Output Sports) 6821, 13. James Cook (Unattached) 6760.