Sunday, May 5, 2013

Taiwo finishes second in Pac-12 decathlon in the closest competition in conference history...

LOS ANGELES--Three points.

That was the difference between Washington's Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo courtesy winning his second conference Pac-12 decathlon title and Oregon's Dakotah Keys successfully defending his crown.

In the closest decathlon competition in Pac-12 history, Keys prevailed with a final score of 8001 to Taiwo's 7998 as the conference multi-event competition concluded Sunday at Cromwell Field at Loker Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern California.

Taiwo held the lead all through the second day until the penultimate event, the javelin, where Keys threw a huge PR of 219-2 (66.81m), making up what had been a sizeable gap and taking a lead of 54 points into the final 1,500-meter run. Taiwo had a history of much faster times in the final race, but Keys had the advantage of knowing how close he needed to stay on Taiwo's heels.

Entering day two, Taiwo held a 4200-4030 advantage over Keys, but he chipped away at the lead, beating Taiwo in the hurdles (14.60 to 14.74), and the pole vault (16-0 3/4 4.90m to 15-9 4.80m).

In the discus, Taiwo threw 133-8 (40.75m), while Keys answered with a toss of 117-1 (35.69m).

It was the javelin that turned the tide, as Keys launched the spear a personal best of 219-2 (66.81m), while Taiwo could only throw 158-7 (48.34m), which was a 277-point swing, and put the pressure on the Husky senior to run the 1500 at least 8.15 seconds faster than Keys.

Taiwo, who is a better 1500 runner than Keys, managed a near PR time of 4:18.23, but Keys hung on to finish in 4:25.76, losing by 7.53 seconds and 51 points.

Taiwo's final score is a higher tally than 34 of the 39 winning scores in conference history, and the best second-place score ever recorded. He also moves to No. 3 in school history, trailing NCAA Champion Mike Ramos (8,322; former NCAA record) and Steve Erickson (8,063).

Taiwo said afterwards that a knee issue plagued him this weekend and at times he didn't think he'd be able to push through it. He did not have any individual event PRs this weekend, aside for an outdoor shot put personal best, but it was his most consistent performance from start to finish.

His final score is the fourth best collegiate score, and will get him a spot in the NCAA championships next month in Eugene.  It will also garner him a place in the USA championships in Des Moines, Iowa.  Taiwo is two points short of the IAAF world championships B standard, and 202 points short of the A standard.

Washington State's Spencer Wordell finished sixth with a final score of 7278, while UW freshman Josh Gordon was 12th at 6331.

In the heptathlon, Washington's Shelby Williams did not start the 800 meters.
She long jumped 16-4 ½ (4.99m) to start the day and then threw 81-3 (24.78m) in the javelin, putting her in 10th place heading into the final event.

Arizona State's Keia Pinnick won the Pac-12 heptathlon title with a final score of 5801 points.

In San Diego, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle finished second in the Re-Run San Diego one mile run at Balboa Stadium, running 4:28.90 to winner Susan Kuijken's 4:27.13.

UW alum Katie Mackey was third in the race at 4:30.60.

In the men's mile, Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara was second in a time of 4:04.71 behind Paul Robinson from Ireland's 4:04.35.

In the men's 800, Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek finished fourth in a time of 1:47.26, as US Olympian Duane Solomon won in 1:46.54.

In Waco, Texas, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle won her second Big 12 triple jump title, as she jumped 44-7 (13.59m) to help the Kansas Jayhawks win another conference title.

Finally at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix meet in Tokyo, UW alum Brad Walker failed to clear a height in the pole vault, as Japan's Seito Yamamoto won with a modest mark of 18-0 1/2 (5.50m).

NOTE:  The University of Washington sports information office, and the Pac-12 Conference contributed to this report.

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