Darion Powell Fourth After First Day of NCAA Decathlon

June 11, 2003

PULLMAN, Wash. -- The Washington State University competitors tasted success and a bitter failure Wednesday during the first day of the NCAA Div. I Men's and Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships at A.G. Spanos Sports Complex on the Sacramento State campus.

Darion Powell, a redshirt freshman from Kirkland, Wash., scored a lifetime-best 3,968 points in the first five events for fourth place in the decathlon. His 11.22 seconds in the 100m dash was 10th fastest among the 26 competitors and he followed up with a long jump non-wind aided PR of 7.12m/22-4 1/2, sixth-longest on the day. Powell had the fifth-best shot put heave at 14.15m/46-5 1/4 and PRd in the high jump at 1.93m/6-4, which was tied for eighth. He finished the first day with a PR time of 49.53 in the 400m, 13th best clocking in the event Wednesday. The reigning Pac-10 Champion, Oregon's Santiago Lorenzo, had to be carted off the competition field during the long jump and did not return for the last three events of the day. Stephen Harris, a senior at Tennessee, was the first-day leader with 4,229 points.

'I wanted to get over 4,000 points. The weather bothered me a little bit but compared to where I am (in the standings), my point total is solid,' Powell said.

Competitors in the early afternoon events had blue skies and temperatures in the 80s but the early evening brought 15 to 20 mile per hour winds and dropped the temperature to a cool 60 degrees.

Second-day events for the decathlon are the 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and the 1500m run.

Cougar men's team captain Eric Dudley won his heat of the men's 400m intermediate hurdles and his time of 50.02 was third fastest in the prelims. The All-American senior from Bellingham, Wash., will race in the semifinals Thursday at 6:15 p.m. In his last trip to the NCAA Championships, the 2001 meet held in Eugene, Dudley finished fifth in the intermediate hurdles.

Anna Blue, a senior from Olympia, Wash., finished third in the second heat of the women's 5000m prelims with at time of 16:19.74 and will race in the Saturday evening final. Blue's school record time of 16:14.55 was the seventh-fastest coming into the national meet.

Senior sprinter Bennie Chatman ended his Cougar collegiate career almost in the starting blocks. Chatman, from Houston, Texas, stopped racing after 30 yards of the men's 100m dash prelims. A pulled hamstring, the bane of Cougar sprinters this year, was the culprit and Chatman could not complete the fourth heat prelim. It was disappointing end to his career after running a PR time of 10.12w this spring, fourth-fastest nationally.

'I felt my right calf cramp up when I was warming up and felt my hamstring tighten up in the practice run right before the race,' Chatman said.

Monique Jessie, a junior from Compton, Calif., did not advance to the semifinals in the women's intermediate hurdles after running a time of 59.73 in the prelims. Sixteen of the 28 competitors qualified for Thursday's next round, but Jessie's time was 21st overall. She will run a leg of the women's 4x400m relay in the Thursday night prelims.

In addition to Powell's decathlon and Dudley's semifinal hurdles races Thursday, Washington State colors will also be worn by Whitney Evans in the high jump and Bree Skinner in the triple jump qualifying rounds, Tiffany Giles in the prelims of the women's 400m dash, and the women's 4x400m relay.

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