Sunday, June 10, 2018

Brooks-Johnson drives to sixth place finish in heptathlon on final day of NCAA championships in soggy Eugene...

EUGENE—Washington State senior Alissa Brooks-Johnson (left/photo by Howard Lao) captured a sixth place finish in the two-day, seven-event heptathlon Saturday at the NCAA track and field championships, under cool temperatures, tricky winds, and occasional driving rain at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Brooks-Johnson, who started the day in 11th place with 3419 points, finished with 5,789 points, a mere five points behind fifth place. Wisconsin senior Georgia Ellenwood, a native of Langley, British Columbia won the heptathlon with 6,146 points.

Brooks-Johnson long jumped 18-9.25 (5.72m) while running into a 4.0 meters per second headwind. Her long jump was the 12th-farthest of the day. She then threw the javelin 140-7 (42.87m), which was a season best, and the 12th best on the day.

Entering the 800, she was in eighth place. She ran the 800m in a time of 2 minutes 15.69 seconds, the fifth-fastest time of the event, to garner enough points to move up to sixth place.

WSU head coach Wayne Phipps said afterwards, "A gutsy performance by Alissa today! She has battled with pneumonia for a few weeks and for her to compete at that level this weekend was amazing. At one point during the competition she was all the way back in 17th but she continued to compete hard and was rewarded with back-to-back first team All-America honors."

Brooks-Johnson said, “The two-day heptathlon competition wasn't what I had envisioned for myself, performance-wise. The toughest event I had was definitely the high jump. Hurdles and the 200m were also tough but high jump is such a mental game for me. I felt very confident leading up to day one of the heptathlon, however fell a little short. Once I started the heptathlon, I knew it was going to be more of a mental grind then anything. I am proud of myself for pushing through any weakness and doubt I had during the competition. Even though my marks and times weren't what I had expected, I am very proud of my season and accomplishments."

In the women’s 5000 meters, Washington senior Amy-Eloise Neale (above/photo by Paul Merca) finished fifth, running a time of 15:44.41, as Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer took the national title in 15:41.58.

After being in the front early in the race, she was stuck on the inside in the middle of the pack, with little room to maneuver and cover any surges.

When the pace finally did go with a thousand meters remaining, Neale had to make up ground on the leaders.

At the bell, she was in tenth, but found enough room to catch five runners in the last 400, clocking 66.78 on the last lap.

“I was prepared for anything. I was prepared for it to go out slow since it was hailing during our warm-up, but i was also prepared for it to go out at 15:15 pace. So I was keeping my options open and was mentally prepared for anything,” said Neale, a resident of Snohomish.

“But I got stuck on the rail a little bit too long and struggled to get out, which was unfortunate. So over that last mile when the pace really started picking up, I just wasn't quite close enough to respond properly. I was hoping to give it a shot to win, so I'm a little disappointed in that respect, but it was great to have a last opportunity to represent Washington and it's always fun to run here at Hayward Field.”

Former University of Washington standout Charlotte Prouse, who scored in this meet two years ago as a freshman for the Huskies, finished second in the 3000 steeplechase, running a personal best of 9:45.45, as Boise State's Allie Ostrander won in 9:39.28.

Results from day 4 of the NCAA championships are available here.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Oregon, Washington State University, and the University of Washington contributed to this report. 

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