First Day Pac-10 Track & Field Championships Tough for Cougars

May 13, 2006

EUGENE, Ore. -- Washington State University's track and field teams came to the University of Oregon's Hayward Field Saturday for the 2006 Pac-10 Track & Field Championships, Presented by 76 ProClean Gasolines, without their leading men's sprinter and one-third of the squad weakened with a stomach virus.

The WSU women came into this weekend with nine points from Julie Pickler's second and Kate Miller's eighth place finishes last weekend in the heptathlon. After Saturday's events, the WSU women's team is in sixth place with 14 points as the Arizona State women lead with 82.5 points. Arizona leads the men's team standings with 53.5 points while the Cougar men's team is ninth with six points.

'That flu-bug kind of decimated us to some extent but the people who are competitors put that behind them for the short period of time they had to compete and brought themselves up and got the effort and did the job,' WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. 'Our hope is that tomorrow, with the events we have coming up, we can get out there and compete well and score some more points.'

Saturday's scoring started when Cougar sophomore McKinnon Hanson cleared a lifetime-best and NCAA Regional Qualifier women's high jump bar of 5-feet, 8 3/4 inches (1.75m) to finish sixth. Senior Robin Mikesh cleared 5-7 on her final attempt but missed all three attempts at 5-8 3/4 (1.75m), and did not defend her 2005 Pac-10 high jump title as she finished in a three-way tie for 10th.

Eighth place finishes were provided by senior Jenna Dean in the women's javelin with a throw of 141-4 (43.09m), and sophomore Collier Lawrence in the 3000m steeplechase as she ran a PR and NCAA RQ time of 10 minutes, 28.48 seconds.

WSU's men registered on the scoreboard when junior Jon Jeffreys threw the javelin 214-6 (65.39m) which was the third best throw after the first three attempts but dropped to fifth place in the final standings. Redshirt-freshman Phil MacArthur threw the hammer 186-1 (56.72m) for seventh place.

The Cougar men faired better in the trials Saturday in spite of WSU's leading sprinter, senior James McSwain, not making the trip to Eugene as he is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered April 29, and plans to race at the NCAA West Regional meet at the end of the month. In the men's 100m dash, Jaycee Robertson ran a time of 10.38 and Justin Woods clocked in at 10.59, fifth and eighth-fastest times in the prelims and both advance to the final. Woods also qualified for the men's 200m dash final with a prelim time of 21.15, sixth-fastest of the prelims. Robertson ran a time of 21.60 (13th) and will not run the 200m Sunday.

John Cassleman will race in the men's 400m hurdles final after clocking in the third-fastest prelim time of 51.98. In the same event, WSU's Josh Leyk finished 13th (54.25) and Eric Nygard was 15th in a season-best time of 56.32, but both seniors have run their last collegiate race.

The women's 4x100m relay team of Nicole Hatcher, La Shawnda Porter, Diana Pickler and Catie Schuetzle qualified for the final with a prelim time of 46.75, seventh on the day.

Diana Pickler ran a 100m hurdles prelim time of 13.69 seconds, a season-best and just .01 seconds off her lifetime-best and had the eight-best time of the prelims to advance. Katie Miller's time of 14.16 in the same race was ninth in the prelims and did not advance. In the women's intermediate hurdles, freshman Sara Trané ran a PR of 1:01.07, fifth-fastest in the prelims and will race in the Sunday final.

Competing but not scoring Saturday were Tyson Byers, pole vault (16-0 3/4, t15th), Ryan Scott, javelin (season-best 196-5, 12th), Phil Hinrichs, 3000m steeplechase (9:47.72, 14th), Mike Heidt, 10,000m (did not finish), Kayle Peterson, steeplechase (11:00.37, 11th), Meghan Leonard, steeplechase (11:17.05, 15th), and Jessica Zita, shot put (36-1 1/4, 11th).

The following Cougar women raced in the prelims but did not qualify for Sunday finals: Karen DeMartini, 1500m (PR time of 4:37.11, 14th), Brandi Probasco-Canda, 400m dash (55.70, 10th), La Shawnda Porter, 100m dash (11.90, 12th) and 200m dash (24.16, 10th), Nicole Hatcher, 200m dash (24.85, 17th), and Lorraine King, 400m hurdles (1:07.29, 17th). Cougar men not advancing to Sunday finals included Robert Williams, 110m hurdles (14.56w, 11th), and Justin Chambers, 800m (season-best 1:53.63, 12th).

The Pac-10 Track & Field Championships continue Sunday, May 14.

COUGAR HEAD COACH Rick Sloan QUOTES:'Looking at the bright spots in today's performances, it was a great job by McKinnon Hanson with a lifetime best and regional qualifying mark. She did a nice job of competing. Collier Lawrence did a nice job of competing with a lifetime best and regional qualifying time in the steeplechase. Nice work by both of them.

'I thought La Shawnda Porter ran well even though she is not in the finals tomorrow (except on the 400m relay) and has run consistently good times over the last three or four weeks, dropping down in the 11s (seconds in the 100m) and low 24s (seconds in the 200m). That is exciting for the future.

'Katie Miller didn't make the final but ran a strong 100m hurdles race for somebody who was hit pretty hard by the flu. Diana Pickler ran close to her lifetime best, coming back after that ankle sprain. It was a terrific job by Diana and Katie.

'Jon Jeffreys did a good job with his fifth-place finish in the javelin at 214 and I can see him throwing in the 220s in the future.

'Phil MacArthur was close to his lifetime best and did a good job of competing to get us two points in the hammer.

'Poor Tyson Byers made his opening bar on a light pole and switched to a little bit bigger pole but we were trying to manage his competition and get a regional qualifying mark to extend the season and let his leg heal up and make more progress but there were so many vaulters today (24) and it was so long between vaults that it was hard for him to stay warmed up and keep his leg working. In practice he's been able to do it because he can go at his own pace but today every attempt was like starting all over again and the leg cramped, the twinge began and that was the end of his year. Not a good year for Tyson because of his injury from the very start to the very end.

'On the track, good 100m times with two guys in the finals - Justin and Jaycee - good runs for both those guys. Great job by Justin coming back in the 200m and being a freshman in the final of the Pac-10 100m and 200m races. That is pretty good performance for a freshman that started working with us in January of this year.

'John Cassleman was another guy hit by the flu-bug and he did a good job of competing through this temporary illness.

'Robert Williams was running a very good 110m hurdles race and I thought he might win that heat but his trail leg or something got his back spasmed-up and so he's out of the meet now and he won't even run on our 4x100m relay now. He still came within 2/100s second of making the final but even if he had he would not have been able to run.

'Sara Trané got a lifetime best in the 400m hurdles but not quite a regional qualifier but we're saving that for tomorrow. She did a great job of staying on stride, hitting her stride pattern all the way through and kept her momentum going running right down to the end. That was our intention in bringing her. We didn't think that was a real strong event in the Pac-10 and so she will be in there battling tomorrow.'

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