Richardson Repeats as Pac-10 Hepthatlon Champion

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State's Ellannee Richardson repeated as the heptathlon champion Sunday under sunny skies and warm temperatures at the Pacific-10 Conference Track & Field Championships Combined Events at Mooberry Track on the WSU Pullman campus. WSU's Cicely Clinkenbeard finished third in the heptathlon while Cougar Steve Dwyer took third in the decathlon.

Richardson, a redshirt junior from Gladstone, Ore., and a two-time All-American in this event, reached 5,281 points, one more than her school record and NCAA-leading 5,280 points from the UC Multi Events (Berkeley) last March. She finished behind teammate Clinkenbeard in the long jump, but won both the javelin and the 800m. Richardson long jumped 18-10 (5.74m), threw the javelin 149-3 (45.49m), and ran a season-best time of 2 minute, 14.22 seconds in the 800m.

'I had an okay second day. My long jump wasn't where I wanted it to be but I came back with a strong javelin and strong 800 meters,' Richardson said. 'I knew going into the 800 meters that I was in range of the school record so I just had to go out there and compete. I came around the turn and got out (in front) but then I saw the Stanford girl (Hodari) come up from behind so had to kick it into another gear to finish. I'm shooting to break 6000 points at the NCAAs. This weekend went well but I had a couple of events (long jump and shot put) that kind of set me back. Hopefully, at the NCAAs, it will all come together. A lot of it is mental and that is the way I go through the events.'

Clinkenbeard, a senior from Okanogan, finished just 42 points behind second place Missy Vanek, an All-American heptathlete from California. Clinkenbeard's total of 5,459 points is fourth best in WSU history and an NCAA Provisional Qualifying mark (currently eighth) that will probably get her into the NCAA Championships. Vanek scored 5,498 points for second and Cal's Shawna Adkins was fourth with 5,259 points. Fifth through tenth were: Jenny Kenyon (Oregon) 5,169, Lillian Bush (Stanford) 5,117, Spring Harris (USC) 4,790, Ahimsa Hodari (Stanford) 4,625, Amanda Underwood (Arizona) 4,230, and Chanel Young (USC) 3,797.

Clinkenbeard began the day with a personal-best in the long jump of 19-11 3/4 (6.09m), which put her in second place. She threw the javelin 137-1 (41.78m) and ran a lifetime-best 800m time of 2:23.48. Clinkenbeard, an All-American triple jumper, finished third in the heptathlon in 2000 but redshirted last season.

'I was surprised to be in second place today because Missy is such a good heptathlete,' Clinkenbeard said. 'I'm not that disappointed with third place but disappointed I couldn't stay within that four seconds to get her in the 800 meters.'

Dwyer, a senior from Redmond, Wash., scored 7,197 points in the ten events. Oregon's Billy Pappas won with 7,532 points, an NCAA Automatic Qualifier. Russell Silvers, USC, finished second with 7,254 points. The remaining competitors in fourth through 11 place were: Shelton Davis (USC) 7,122, Jason Slye (Oregon) 6,996, Jason Gatewood (California) 6,809, Octavius Gillespie (UCLA) 6,765, Anthony Agbasi (USC) 6,723, Jake Horner (Oregon) 6,587, Andrea Phillips (UCLA) 6,464, and Ryan Tell Hendren (USC) 6,006.

The third place finish is better than Dwyer's 1999 and 2000 fourth-place Pac-10 finishes, but his point total of 7,229 from the UC Multi-Events (Berkeley) in March is still his personal best. Sunday, was second in the 110m hurdles (14.92), fourth in the discus with a season-best 118-0 (35.96m), third in the pole vault at 15-1 (4.60m), fourth in the javelin with his lifetime-best toss of 174-6 (53.20m), and third in the 1500m run with a time of 4:41.10.

'Another lifetime best for Ellannee, broke her record by one point,' Cougar coach Rick Sloan said. 'She's so stinkin' competitive and so tough. I was very pleased with Cicely too. She had a really good day today and the 2:23 in the 800 meters surprised me. We're training her more as a triple jumper and to come out and run, that was all heart.'

'A good job by Steve,' Sloan said. 'He's had this lower leg problem and he has had to rest for the past three weeks and he hasn't been able to train on the track at all. We've done all the training up in the weight room on the versaclimber and things like that trying to maintain his fitness. So a lot of the events he did yesterday and today, it's the first time he's done them in over three weeks. It's a great individual effort on his part to accomplish what he did here over the past two days.'

Pappas won the hurdles (14.80) and discus (133-11/40.81m) while Duck teammate Slye took the pole vault (16-4 3/4/5.00m). Gillespie (UCLA) won the javelin with a heave of 198-7 (60.54m) and USC's Davis won the 1500m (4:31.28).

'I'm very happy,' Pappas said. 'The 1500 meters is probably my weakest event, but I gave it my all. I think the hot weather drained me a little bit and taking a lot of high jumps and pole vault (attempts) took a lot out of my legs. So many things can go wrong, every event, but I stayed positive and worked on my confidence so I am happy with how it turned out. (Before the NCAAs) I'm going to do some speed training since my 100 meters is really hurting me and that's probably going to help in the 400 meters as well and actually everything like the long jump and pole vault as well. Probably work on the high jump. Next week I'll concentrate on hurdles since I'm coming back next week to hurdle here.'

In women's team standings after the heptathlon, WSU leads with 16 points, followed by California's 13, Stanford and Oregon have 4 points, and USC is fifth with 2 points. The men's post-decathlon standings show Oregon and USC tied with 14 points, WSU third with 6 points, California with 3 points and UCLA fifth with 2 points.

'Having the lead going into the Pac-10s is definitely a confidence builder for everyone else and we can go out and perform really well as a team,' Richardson said.

The Pacific-10 Conference Track & Field Championships resume Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, at Mooberry Track on the Washington State University campus.

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