Thursday, April 22, 2010

Diana Pickler cruises to Drake Relays heptathlon title; incoming Husky freshman Katie Flood wins prep 3000...

DES MOINES, Iowa--Washington State University graduate and two-time World Championships team member Diana Pickler (left/photo by Paul Merca) won the two-day heptathlon competition at the Drake Relays Thursday.

Pickler, a Beijing Olympian, who led after day one with a score of 3585 points, recorded the best heptathlon mark by an American this spring with 6,040 points. It ranks as the second best in world, just trailing the mark of 6,086 points by Canada's Ruky Abdulai at Mt. SAC Relays last Saturday.

Pickler won all three events on the final day, capturing the long jump at 20 feet 1.75 inches, the javelin at 135-9, while winning the 800 in 2:16.73.

"That makes it fun, the history of the Drake Relays, to be on the board," said Pickler, who was 11th in the 2009 World Championships. "I was shooting for that going into the 800, so it made it exciting. I'm honored to get that and kind of move forward from here."

It marked the third straight year the Drake Relays heptathlon mark has been broken. Olympian Jacquelyn Johnson set the 2009 record of 6,020 points bettering the previous meet record of 5,788 points by Fiona Asigbee from Columbia, Mo., in 2008.

Meanwhile, incoming University of Washington freshman Katie Flood of Dowling Catholic in Des Moines ran the fastest high school outdoor girls' 3,000 time in the United States this year of 9:43.39, bettering previous the 2010 prep best of 9:45.71 by Emily Lipari, Roslyn, N.Y.

It also was a Drake Relays record, bettering her mark of 9:44.96 set as a sophomore in 2007.

Flood became just the third high school athlete in Drake Relays history to win an event four times, joining Debbie Carroll of Collins, who won the 100 yard dash from 1971-74 and Abby Emsick from Lewis Central of Council Bluffs who won discus from 1999-2002.



In her last appearance at Drake Stadium, Flood ran the nation's top high school girls time in the 1500 at 4:31.38 April 10 at the Jim Duncan Invitational.

"When I hit that one last lap mark, I was feeling pretty tired," said Flood, who was clocked in 69 seconds in her last lap. "But I thought there was one more and I'd just put it all out there.

"The Drake Relays is my favorite meet," said Flood. "The state meet is kind of the most important for us as high school athletes, but I really like running here."

Competition resumes Friday at the Drake Relays. For more information, please visit godrakebulldogs.com.

NOTE: Drake University and the Drake Relays contributed to this report.

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