Day 2 recap: Oregon's Keys wins closest Pac-12 decathlon; ASU's Pinnick takes heptathlon title
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Arizona State’s Keia Pinnick and Oregon’s Dakotah Keys were crowned winners of the heptathlon and decathlon, respectively, at the 2013 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships held at Cromwell Field at Loker Stadium on the campus of USC. Keys claimed his second-straight title, coming from behind to win the 2013 crown by just three points, the closest margin of victory in the 41-year history of the event.
Keys scored 8,001 points, the fifth-highest winning total in Pac-12 Championships history, to defeat 2011 Champion Jeremy Taiwo of Washington, who scored 7,998, the best second-place score in the history of the meet. The decathlon was first competed in 1973, back when the Conference was known as the Pac-8. Taiwo’s score was higher than five of the winning scores all-time.
“It feels really good. It didn’t start sinking in until a little bit ago. It was really stressful,” said Keys after his win. “I didn’t think anything would top what happened last year at home but this is probably one of the best memories with track and field that I have.”
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“Jeremy’s such a great competitor and I was really nervous about him being here,” he continued in reference to Taiwo. “I guess my training kicked in though. I’m just really excited.”
Keys was in third place through eight events, but a throw of 219-2/66.81m in the javelin catapulted him into the lead. The throw was nearly 26 feet further than the second-place distance. The leader after the first day of competition, Taiwo ran a personal best in the final event of the decathlon, winning the 1500-meter race in a time of 4:18.23. But Keys, who needed to finish within seven seconds of Taiwo, also ran a PR, crossing the finish line in a time of 4:25.76 to place fourth, but also hold on to first in the decathlon.
Finishing in third place in the decathlon was UCLA’s Dominic Giovannoni, who posted 7,634 points, teammate Marcus Nilsson was fourth with 7,498 and USC’s Viktor Fajoyomi placed fifth, scoring 7,299 points.
Keys also become the ninth repeat winner in the event. It is the sixth time in the last seven years a Duck has claimed the decathlon title.
Pinnick scored a career-best 5,801 points, nearly 200 points more than second-place finisher UCLA’s Tatum Souza, who tallied 5,624. In third place was Colorado's Abrianna Torres (5,357), followed by California's Jaci Powell (5,351) and Brianne Beemer from Colorado (5,238).
“I’ve come in second two years in a row and freshman year I was third. It’s my senior year and I was ready to win it this time. It feels good,” said Pinnick. “I was kind of beat up. During my shake out I hurt my hip and I recently recovered from a hamstring cramp which I felt yesterday during the 200 a little bit. So I came out here today and tried to get myself ahead as much as I could to make the 800 easier. I was able to pull through, PR’d big in javelin which made it a lot easier. I’m really excited.”
Pinnick, who was second in last year’s heptathlon competition, maintained the lead she built up after four events on day one. She won two of the three events competed on Sunday, taking a victory in the long jump (5.92m) then securing the heptathlon title with a win in the 800 meter (2:15.06) to close out the weekend. Powell claimed top honors in the javelin with a throw of 145-04/44.29m, the only event Pinnick did not win.
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Pinnick’s victory in the heptathlon is the fifth win in the event for ASU. It ties for the most heptathlon titles with Oregon and Washington State.
The running and field events will be competed next weekend, Saturday-Sunday, May 11-12, at Cromwell Field. Teams go into the next weekend with UCLA men leading with 11 points, followed by Oregon (10), Washington (8), USC (4), WSU (3), Arizona (2) and Colorado (1). On the women’s side, the Buffs are in the lead with 12 points, followed by UCLA with 11, ASU with 10, Cal with 5 and Arizona with 1.