Saturday, March 13, 2010

Washington's Katie Follett second in NCAA indoor mile; Oregon's Eaton sets heptathlon WR...

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas--Washington senior Katie Follett finished second in the women's mile at the NCAA indoor track & field championships at the Randal Tyson Track Complex on the campus of the University of Arkansas.

Follett took the lead early, and tried to slow the pace down and make it a tactical race. However, Florida's Charlotte Browning took command of the race after the 800 mark and gradually pulled away from the field.

The senior dropped to third behind Florida State's Pilar McShine, but was able to reel her in on the final straightaway, and clock 4:36.39, behind Browning's 4:35.66. McShine's bronze medal winning time was 4:37.20, just ahead of Pac-10 rival and Oregon freshman Jordan Hasay, who ran 4:38.29.

Hasay's teammate Anne Kesselring finished sixth in 4:40.39.

The big buzz at the NCAA championships was Oregon senior Ashton Eaton (left/photo by Paul Merca), who broke the world record in the heptathlon, scoring 6499 points to eclipse fellow Oregon native Dan O'Brien's world record score of 6476, set at the 1993 IAAF world indoor championships in Toronto.

Eaton entered day two of the two-day heptathlon competition with a score of 3561, but opened with a facility record time of 7.77 in the 60 hurdles, worth 1040 points.

In the pole vault, he jumped 16-8 3/4 (5.10m), worth 941 points, and slightly below his personal best of 17-3 (5.26m).

Going into the final event, Eaton needed to run the 1000 meters in 2:34.58, almost 4 seconds under his personal best of 2:38.02.

And run he did.

Eaton set the record in dramatic fashion, running a personal-best of 2 minutes, 32.67 seconds in the 1,000 meters to finish with a total of 6,499 points in the heptathlon. Eaton's total broke the previous mark of 6,476 points, set on the same weekend in 1993 by Dan O'Brien.

Eaton's record-setting performance came much to the delight of the crowd at the Randal Tyson Track Center, which became increasingly charged as the track announcer repeatedly updated the Oregon senior's status. He was on pace from the get-go, staying easily within the 31-second per-lap pace outlined by coaches before the race.

That was for the first three laps.

"Then the last 400 is the last 400. It's go," Eaton said with a smile. "I heard 1:32, right on pace, and I was like, 'Alright.'"

Eaton let loose with a short celebratory yell as a television camera closed in on him a few meters after the finish line, but was calm and composed - at least outwardly - as he answered questions from a pack of reporters after posing for a picture in front of a scoreboard displaying his world-record mark. When pressed to express what he was feeling, though, Eaton conceded some post-race butterflies.

"I feel nervous, I guess," he said with a laugh.

Afterwards, the new record holder was asked how he felt, to which he replied, "I don't know. I've never had one before."

In the men's high jump, Washington State senior Trent Arrivey finished a disappointing 13th, jumping 7-0 1/4 (2.14m).

Arizona sophomore Abdi Hassan, formerly from Nathan Hale HS, finished tenth in the men's mile, running 4:05.36.

Washington's Mel Lawrence finished out of the top eight, finishing ninth in the women's 3000 meters, running 9:14.53.

Complete results from the NCAA Division I indoor track & field championships can be accessed here.

NOTE: The NCAA contributed to this report.

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