Cougar Tyson Byers Over 17-feet in Pole Vault at WSU Open Meet

April 2, 2005

Complete Results

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State's Tyson Byers won the men's pole vault with an NCAA Regional Qualifying and outdoor collegiate PR mark of 17-feet, 3/4 inch (5.20m) at the WSU Open Outdoor Track & Field Meet Saturday at Mooberry Track.

Byers' mark was the best outdoor pole vault mark by a Cougar since 1994 when Brian Zieser finished fourth in the Pac-10 Championships at Pullman with the bar at an identical height of 17-0 3/4. Byers' soared 17-7 1/4 during the 2005 indoor season.

While several Cougars reached PRs at this meet, only Rachel Bertholf joined Byers with an NCAA RQ. The senior women's captain improved her javelin mark to 158-9 (48.40) in a meet that was nearly a WSU-Idaho dual meet with several events cancelled due to lack of competitors.

'There are little rivalries within the Cougar team and Idaho brought over some good people and there was a good level of competition,' WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. 'This weekend is a transition weekend for us. We were at Stanford last weekend, going hard and then we train for a while through this meet and then get back to work at the Brutus Hamilton next week followed by Mt. SAC and then we're right into it (Husky dual and championship season). While this was a bit of a breather for us, but we still had some very good performances.'

Darion Powell, second in the men's pole vault, improved his PR by over a foot with a clearance at 14-11 (4.55m). The junior decathlete also won the 110m hurdles in a time of 14.59 seconds in addition to placing fourth in the javelin with a toss of 193-9 (59.07m) with just four attempts. Freshman Jon Jeffreys improved his WSU best mark with a throw of 197-4 (60.14m), the top collegiate mark of the day, behind former WSU All-American Curt Borland (214-9/65.46m) and former Cougar Pac-10 scorer and current volunteer assistant coach Matt McGee (197-11/60.33m).

Jenna Dean won the women's javelin with a toss of 159-2 (48.51m), an NCAA RQ but not an improvement over her season-opening school record throw of 169-7. Idaho's Manuela Kurrat was second in the javelin (159-1) followed by Bertholf.

Freshman Jessica Zita won the women's shot put with a PR of 43-2 1/2 (13.17m) and finished second in the discus on a judge's decision after tossing a PR of 139-0 (42.36m), the same distance as Idaho's Jane Demme.

The Cougar men sprinters fared well, dropping times in the dashes but missing out on a 4x100m relay season-best. Jaycee Robertson won the 100m (10.82 seconds) and was second in the 200m (21.61). James McSwain won the 200m (21.52) with Martin Boston third (21.94) and Jarrell Nelson fourth (21.11) after being a runner-up in the 100m (10.98). That group missed on a stick-pass (out of the passing sector) in the short relay so was disqualified in that event. The WSU women's 4x100m relay also suffered a DQ after the final pass between heptathletes Diana Pickler and Julie Pickler saw the baton hit the ground.

Eric Nygard won the men's 400m hurdles with a season-best time of 53.56 and ran the final leg of the men's 4x400m relay which finished second (3:22.12).

Coach Sloan comments post-meet:'Good performances today from our javelin throwers. Jon Jeffreys is still learning how to throw the javelin but he's over 197-feet now. Powell came off two weeks of hard training after not going to Stanford and his legs are tired but he still had a good javelin throw. The guys did well but the women did even better. Jenna backed up her school record and Rachel getting a lifetime best. Both of them had a good series of throws and they are showing consistency so that's encouraging.

'Powell had a solid day, clearing 14-11 in the pole vault after his leg strength is completely gone. But he made the right adjustments, used the right pole and had good hip height over the bar at 15-5 two times, over the bar completely but came down on it (the bar) just because he couldn't get in on it. With fresh legs and a little tailwind at Texas, he should jump 15-6 to 16-feet. First hurdle race since the indoor season and he met the objective of staying up, run smooth and not hit hurdles and he waddled his way through it to 14.59 seconds in a slight headwind. Good day for him. If he takes three to four days rest and gets his legs back, he should do well at the Texas decathlon.

'I was real happy with Tyson Byers jumping into a decent headwind, clearing 5.20m and his last try at 17-8 1/2 was all the way over but just didn't have enough pole movement and speed up on top to get through it. Good jumping.

Happy to see Drew Ulrick, in spite of a little pectoral strain, threw over 170-feet again in the men's discus so he is starting to get comfortable and consistent.

'Jessica Zita had a fairly good day with marks close to her best in the shot put and had a PR in the discus throw. It is encouraging to have freshmen and sophomores out competing and doing good things for us.

'Phil Hinrichs moved up to the mile, ran 4:01 and he was very competitive in that race. He's going to be a very good steeplechaser so it was good to see him come out and do that.

The men's sprinters ran so-so times in the 100m dash into a headwind, but they all came back and ran the 200m well. Jaycee Robertson is starting to drop his times down now. First time for Martin Boston outdoors under 22 seconds. Eric Nygard's intermediate hurdles at 53.56 is starting to get pretty solid and he ran a 48-second leg on the relay. I don't think he's too far away from running some real good times.

'John Cassleman is a very talented individual and a very competitive individual and watching him going down the backstretch in the 800m today, you think he's `done' and he just keeps coming after it. This training-type race is good for his physical and mental strength and his confidence. He can come back into the hurdles race at Cal and we could see a 51-second race because he's ready to go but he has to quit catching his lead leg on the hurdles.

'Not a great time but just to have Danny Wolf back on the track and racing is good. Now if he can move forward without any steps backwards, I think we'll have him ready. Coach Drake is doing a good job of managing Danny's workouts and he needs to be ready for the conference meet. He's a gamer. John Cassleman is a gamer. Brandon Brownell is a gamer. Brandon can limp and moan and groan all the way through his practice but puts the uniform on and is a tough, strong guy who competes. Danny's that way too and does a great job every time so we need to keep him moving forward.'

WSU's combined events specialists Diana Pickler, Julie Pickler, Katie Miller and Darion Powell compete this week at the Texas Relays heptathlon and decathlon events April 6-7, at Austin. The rest of the Cougar team will compete at the Brutus Hamilton Invite April 8-9, at Berkeley.

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