Cougar Track & Field Sends Five To NCAA Championships

March 8, 2005

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NCAA INDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Five members of the Washington State University track and field teams will be competing at the NCAA Div. I Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday, March 11-12, at the Randal Tyson Track Center at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville...WSU's men competing are Tyson Byers in the pole vault, and Darion Powell in the heptathlon...three women will represent the Cougars as Tamara Diles will pole vault, and Diana Pickler and Julie Pickler will compete in the pentathlon...results will be posted at,

RETURN NCAA INDOOR TRIPS: Tamara Diles (2002, 3rd pole vault) and Diana Pickler (2004, 12th pentathlon) are NCAA Indoor Champs repeaters.

MISSED BY AN INCH: Senior pole vaulter Paul Nicoletti (Snohomish) was one of two men at 5.32m/17-5 1/2, 18th best on the national list...the NCAA invited 17 men's pole vaulters to compete with the cutoff at 5.35m/17-6 1/2.

LAST YEAR AT NCAA MEET: Three Cougar men earned All-American status - Matt Mason, sixth in the long jump, Danny Wolf, 10th in the 3000m and Tim Gehring finished 13th in the shot put...Diana Pickler finished 12th in the pentathlon with 3,786 points...WSU's men scored three points (T50th).

ABOUT THE COUGAR COACHES: Head coach Rick Sloan is in his 32nd season with the Cougar track program; 11th year as a head coach, 10th year as mentor to the combined men's and women's program...he is joined by associate coach Debra Farwell, and assistant coaches Jason Drake (Head Coach Cross Country), Kris Grimes, Mark Macdonald, and Ellannee Richardson...volunteer coaches are Michael Friedberg, Matt McGee and Andrea Thornton.

(Converted to Pacific Standard Times)
Friday, March 11
7:00 a.m. Men's Heptathlon (60m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump) - Darion Powell
3:35 p.m. Men's Pole Vault - Tyson Byers
Saturday, March 12
9:00 a.m. Men's Heptathlon (60m hurdles, pole vault, 1000m run) - Darion Powell
9:30 a.m. Women's Pentathlon - Diana Pickler, Julie Pickler
3:30 p.m. Women's Pole Vault - Tamara Diles

NATIONAL POLLS: The Washington State women's team is ranked 23rd (10 points) in the Trackwire 25 for Women (3/8/05)...Tennessee and Stanford are first and second with 45 and 44 points respectively...WSU's men are not ranked...Arkansas' men is first with 55 points...available online since the 1997 season, the Trackwire 25 projects a hypothetical score for the NCAA meet, factoring in injury reports and other variables supported by information gathered from coaches and NCAA-qualifying competitions across the country...this projection is generated by scoring the Dandy Dozen, a power ranking of the top 12 athletes and relay squads in each NCAA the Men's Dandy Dozen for March 8, Tyson Byers is ranked seventh in the pole vault and Darion Powell is eighth in the the current Women's Dandy Dozen, Tamara Diles is ranked fifth in the pole vault while in the pentathlon, Diana Pickler is third and Julie Pickler is not the Team Power Rankings (3/8/04), a unique system of ranking teams on the basis of quality of athletic performance, team depth, and dual meet scoring potential, the WSU men are 21st and the Cougar women are 21st.

* = Automatic, # = Provisional (National Standing)
Women: High Jump Robin Mikesh # 1.78m / 5-10 (T26th)
Pole Vault Tamara Diles # 4.17m / 13-8 1/4 (T8th)
Pentathlon Diana Pickler * 4086 points (4th)
Julie Pickler # 3999 points (13th)
Katie Miller # 3804 points (31st)
Men: 60m Dash James McSwain # 6.72 (T23rd)
Pole Vault Tyson Byers # 5.37m / 17-7 1/4 (T10th)
Paul Nicoletti # 5.32m/ 17-5 1/2 (T18th)
Triple Jump Jamil Smith # 15.65m / 51-4 1/4 (T24th)
Heptathlon Darion Powell # 5631 points (5th)

Tyson Byers, RS-Sophomore, Spokane Valley, Wash. (T10th out of 17 pole vault competitors)

  • PR of 17-7 1/4 (5.37m) at 2005 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships Feb. 26 at Seattle
  • 17-7 1/4 (5.37m) is third-best in Cougar all-time history and top mark for American at WSU
  • best vault by Washington native at WSU since 1976
  • started 2005 indoor season late after suffering broken jaw in mid-December
  • first competition Feb. 5 at Husker Invite (Lincoln, Neb.)
  • soared to PR of 17-5 (5.31m) at Holiday Inn Invite Feb. 12 at Nampa, Idaho
  • cleared 17-1 as high school senior in 2002
  • redshirt during 2004 indoor season due to a hamstring injury

    Tamara Diles - All-American - RS-Junior, Bellevue, Wash. (T8th out of 17 pole vault competitors)

  • reached NCAA PQ of 4.17m/13-8 1/4 at the MPSF Championships Feb. 25 at Seattle
  • cleared best women's collegiate bar at 2005 Pole Vault Summit at 4.15m/13-7 1/4
  • finished third at 2002 NCAA Indoor Champs with clearance of 4.25m/13-11 1/4
  • broke the school record winning the 2002 Pole Vault Summit (Reno) at 4.35m/14-3 1/4
  • first collegiate competition set freshman school record of 4.02m/13-2 1/4 (Long Beach, Calif., 2001)

    Diana Pickler, RS-Sophomore, Sachse, Texas (4th out of 17 pentathlon competitors)

  • NCAA PQ in the pentathlon was school record 4,086 points to win 2005 MPSF Championships
  • also won high jump at same MPSF meet
  • 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships 12th in pentathlon (3,786 points) with sprained ankle
  • 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships 27th in heptathlon (4,586 points) after falling in 800m race
  • redshirt for 2004 outdoor season after foot injury
  • heptathlon total of 5,354 points (2003) is fifth best in WSU all-time list

    Julie Pickler, RS-Sophomore, Sachse, Texas (13th out of 17 pentathlon competitors)

  • finished second in pentathlon to sister Diana at 2005 MPSF Championships with NCAA PQ 3,999 points
  • first trip to any NCAA Championship competition
  • missed 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships by one point in the heptathlon (5,135 points)
  • heptathlon total of 5,135 points (2004) is ninth best on WSU all-time list

    Darion Powell - All-American - Junior, Kirkland, Wash. (5th out of 15 heptathlon competitors)

  • scored NCAA AQ and school record 5,631 points in heptathlon at Cougar Indoor Jan. 29, Pullman
  • finished second at 2005 MPSF Championships with 5,482 points Feb. 26, Seattle
  • 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships fourth place in decathlon (7,511 points)
  • decathlon total of 7,511 points is sixth best on WSU all-time list