Freshman Tamara Diles Wins Pole Vault Summit

Jan. 12, 2002

RENO, Nev. -- Freshman Tamara Diles won the women's Elite competition at the 2002 Pole Vault Summit Friday night with a school record and NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 14-feet, 3 1/4 inches (4.35m).

Diles, a state champion pole vaulter and gymnast from Newport High in Bellevue, Wash., obliterated the WSU record of 13-3 (4.04m) set by Jeannette Martus in 2001 and Martus' top indoor mark of 12-7 1/2i (3.85m) also set last season.

The Pole Vault Summit is a two-day extravaganza of workshops and competition for vaulters and coaches held yearly at the Reno Hilton Hotel. The competition features seven indoor pole vault runways for 1,000 athletes to compete in 44 levels (high school through Olympians).

Last month, Diles opened her collegiate career with a clearance of 13-feet, 2 1/4 inches (4.02m) at the Long Beach Winter Carnival Meet, held at the Long Beach State campus (Dec. 8).

'Even though Stacy Dragila (Olympic champion - top mark 15-9 1/4) and Kellie Suttle (15-1) did not compete, there were several other women who have already cleared 15-feet in the competition here that Tamara defeated,' Coach jumps coach Kris Grimes said. 'She did a fantastic job and was the little star of the competition because of her age. It was the highlight of the competition and everyone down here was pretty excited.'


WSU Tracksters Break Open Indoor Season at Early Bird Open

CHENEY, Wash. -- Several newcomers had solid debuts in Cougar uniforms Saturday at the Eastern Washington University Early Bird Open Indoor Track and Field meet.

Bennie Chatman, a junior transfer from Houston, Texas, (Barton CC) won the 55m dash in a time of 6.39 seconds and Dione Cason, a freshman from Long Beach, Calif., won the 500m run in a time of 1:04.59.

In the abbreviated meet with limited WSU participants, the Cougars went one-two-three in the men's pole vault with Rick Collins first and Andy Kammenga second, both at a height of 15-5, and Justin Nikbakhsh-Tali third at 14-11. Nikbakhsh-Tali also finished fifth in the long jump at 22-8 1/2.

Steve Dwyer finished third but with a PR of 7.63 seconds in the 55m hurdles behind unattached runners Arend Watkins (7.26) and Dan O'Brien (7.56). Freshman Darion Powell was sixth (7.90).

Transfer Joel Gordon (CC Spokane) was second in the men's high jump with an identical mark with former teammate Howard Harrison (CCS), 6-6 3/4 (2.00m)

Tim Gehring finished third in the shot put at 51-8 1/4 (15.75m), behind Idaho's Joachim Olsen (Thorpe Fieldhouse record of 68-5 3/4 / 20.87m) and Simon Stewart (60-10 / 18.54m).

The Cougar women also had good results in the season opener. Sophomore Bree Skinner ran a lifetime-best of 7.25 and freshman Dalila Russell ran a 7.55 to finish one-two in the 55m dash.

Ellannee Richardson won the 55m hurdles in a time of 8.21 after running an 8.16 in the prelims. Randi Smith second in a time of 8.23 while Whitney Evans was fourth at 8.59 after clocking in at 8.49 in the prelims.

Briana Willis won the high jump with a leap of 5-5 (1.65m) and Richardson was the runner-up at 5-3 (1.60m).

Sophomore Karla McGee won the pole vault with a height equal to the Thorpe Fieldhouse record of 11-11 3/4 (3.65m) set by former Cougar Jeannette Martus last year.

In the throws, Shannon Rance showed she was not suffering from a sophomore slump with a PR and winning shot put mark of 47-0 1/4 (14.33m). Freshman Marie Muai (Tacoma) was second in the shot at 43-0 1/4 (14.11m). Sammy Jo Missel, a freshman from Mead, Wash., placed seventh in the 20# weight throw with a toss of 44-9 (13.64m).

Quotes from Cougar Coach Rick Sloan:'Bennie Chatman looked good running. We have to work on his start a little bit but I think he is going to be a good sprinter for us. Dione Cason was a pleasant surprise. He ran very strongly in the men's 500m. He beat a good runner in David Stoddard (EWU) and its exciting for us to have Dione perform for us there. Steve Dwyer ran nearly two-tenths of a second under his lifetime best in the hurdles and that is a very good start for him. Justin Nikbakhsh-Tali's 22-8 in the long jump was a pleasant surprise and unexpected.

'On the women's side, Tamara Diles winning the pole vault down at Reno in the elite section with a 14-4 is absolutely remarkable. She's vaulted twice now in a Cougar uniform and has improved over her high school mark over a foot each time. We can't wait for her to jump again and see how high she'll go. She will be a person who will be contending on the national scene, I'm sure.

'Bree Skinner ran a lifetime best in the 55m prelims and then improved on that time in the final. We need her to be our short sprinter and its great for her to get off to a good early start. Good opening times for Ellannee and Randi but I know they'll do better than that in later competitions.

'Shannon Rance had a good throw to start the season and it was further than she threw all of last indoor season. That is a good indication that she will have good throws coming the rest of the indoor season and into the outdoor season.

'We only competed with the kids who came back to campus early (WSU's spring semester begins Jan. 14) and got some training in. We are looking forward to having everybody out and going next weekend and see where we stand from there.'

WSU competes in the 15th Annual Jerry Martin Invitational, Jan. 19, at Cheney.

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