Evans, Richardson Runners-ups at NCAA Track & Field Championships

May 30, 2002

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Washington State's Whitney Evans and Ellannee Richardson both had second place finishes Thursday in the second day's events at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, giving WSU 16 points in the women's team standings.

Evans, a redshirt junior from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, earned her sixth All-America certificate with her second place finish in the women's high jump. Evans cleared 5-feet, 10 1/2 inches (1.79m) on her first attempt but missed all three attempts at 6-0 (1.83m). UCLA's Darnesha Griffith cleared 6-0 on her second try to win the event, making the national outdoor meet results reflect the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships of Griffith first and Evans runner-up. Evans had some revenge by winning the Pac-10 title while Griffith finished third two weeks ago.

Richardson, a redshirt junior from Gladstone, Ore., scored 5,709 points in the seven events and was the runner-up in two of the three events contested Thursday. The two-time Pac-10 heptathlon champion started the day in fourth place but could not make up the lead of the defending champion, Kansas State senior Austra Skujyte, who finished with 6,061 points. South Carolina senior Tacita Bass claimed third place with 5,622 points. Fifteen of the nineteen declared entries finished the heptathlon.

Richardson was the leader going into the 2002 national meet with the WSU school record 5,821 points after finishing fourth in the heptathlon at both the 2001 and 1999 NCAA Championships.

Thursday, Richardson began the day with a 18-feet, 10 1/2 inches (5.75m) long jump, seventh-best among the 17 competitors. Her javelin throw of 138-10 (42.33m) was second only to Skujyte's 149-11 and vaulted Richardson from fourth to second in the heptathlon standings but 449 points behind Skujyte going into the 800m. Richardson led the second heat of the 800m run from the starting gun to her finishing time of 2 minutes, 14.78 seconds. Only Dartmouth's Shaina Damm had a faster time, 2:14.28, from the first heat.

Anson Henry (senior, Pickering, Ontario, Canada) ran the fourth fastest time in the three preliminary heats to advance to the Friday semi-finals of the men's 100m dash. Henry, who holds the WSU record of 10.17 seconds, ran a time of 10.23 Thursday night to join 15 other competitors in the semi-finals. Tennessee sophomore Justin Gatlin led all runners with a time of 10.15, running in the same third heat as Henry. Gatlin won the NCAA Indoor Championships 60m and 200m titles last March while Henry finished third in the 60m. WSU's Anthony Buchanan (sophomore, Spokane, Wash.) did not finish, pulling up with hamstring pain in the third heat.

In addition to Henry competing in the 100m dash semifinals Friday, WSU's Anna Blue will race in the final of the women's 5,000m.

Quotes from Whitney Evans:
How was competing this year different from last year? 'The biggest difference was that it was not a very good height but I ended up with the same placing (as indoors) so I can't really complain but I am not very happy with how I actually jumped.'

On her preparation for the NCAAs because of her sore knee: 'Mostly, all I could do was prepare mentally. I had to get myself in the right frame of mind and hope that my body held up to do it.'

On her plans for summer: 'Mostly I'm going to rehab this summer and maybe compete at the Canadian nationals (June 21 in Edmonton) and that will probably be about it.'

Quotes from Ellannee Richardson:
On her first day's results: 'I was kind of disappointed after my first day. I was hoping to do better in the high jump and shot put but I knew I just had to come back and try and pull it out in the second day.'

Was there pressure going into the second day? 'Yeah, more so from myself though. I knew I definitely needed to move up. I'd been fourth the last two times I'd been at the (national championships) and didn't want to be there again.'

On the second day performances: 'The last jump in the long jump was so close (to not being foul) it was disappointing too because it was a big one. I think the javelin is one of my strongest events but I was really upset after my long jump so I went into the javelin trying to get points back, which I did but it still wasn't where it could have been.'

Strategy going into the 800m race: 'I knew in order for me to move down I would have to lose by four or more seconds so I was just going out there to run hard and see what I could do. I knew I had to keep Tacita Bass behind me for sure. She was the biggest factor.'

Did Eugene (site of the 2001 NCAA Championships) flash in your mind? 'It really did because I had the same problem last year when I kind of had a poor first day and then had to come back in the second. I sure came into that same predicament this time around. It's a bad event (800m) to have it come down to but I knew I had to run well.'

What about next year? 'Hopefully I can keep moving up the ladder. Next year it's definitely possible to improve and maybe be number one so that's what I'm going to work toward. I think this year I've improved significantly in my events across the board, it's just they didn't all come together today. I know in the long run my shot put needs to come up and probably my high jump too. I think everything else needs improvement but I'm not real disappointed with it.'

Quotes from Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan:
About Ellannee Richardson in the heptathlon: 'Ellannee had two good long jumps but it looked like she was reaching a little bit to get on the board so I moved her up six inches for her last jump but I should have moved her up 5 3/4 or 5 7/8 inches. She did everything exactly right and she hit it and had to be close to 20-feet in distance. They couldn't even show how much she fouled by so it was a very, very small margin.

'She came back and didn't throw particularly well but got second in the javelin and second in the 800m overall. She did a great job of competing her way into second place and ultimately finishing there. As we have come to expect from Ellannee, we always get a very competitive effort. And this was not exception. She came out both days, competed very hard, and kept her composure.'

About Whitney Evans in the women's high jump: 'Whitney barely missed 6-0 on her last try. The jump at 5-10 1/2 was a beautiful jump and she cleared it by a huge margin and I thought if she could just stay in that groove...but that is where the lack of practice shows. You get just a little bit of inconsistency and she let her approach slide down too deep and she really had to fight it and still almost made it. There's another great competitive effort from Whitney because she has not taken one jump in practice in the last six weeks. The only time she's done any take offs in the last six weeks was at the Pac-10 Championships and she won it. For her to come out and put together a second place at the national championships is unbelievable. It just shows what your will and mental preparation will do for you.'

About Anson Henry and Anthony Buchanan in the men's 100m dash prelims: 'Anson had a real strong run, running even until Gatlin pulled away from him at the end. Anson felt very good about it and he's running strongly and he's very confident to come out and race in the semis and progress on. It's just too bad about Anthony. He was going pretty good for a while and then it (the hamstring) grabbed on him and he stood up and tried to get back on it again but it grabbed again and he went down. He was about 70 meters into the race and was still racing in the pack when he pulled up.'

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