14 MAR 2010 General News Fayetteville, Arkansas

Eaton improves world indoor heptathlon record to 6499

Ashton Eaton on his way to a world indoor heptathlon record at the 2010 NCAA Championships (Randy Miyazaki)Ashton Eaton on his way to a world indoor heptathlon record at the 2010 NCAA Championships (Randy Miyazaki) © Copyright

Ashton Eaton set a world indoor record* of 6499 in winning the men’s heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville.

Eaton, defending the title he won a year ago, set heptathlon personal bests in every one of the seven heptathlon events to better the world indoor best of 6476 set by Dan O’Brien on this same weekend 17 years ago in Toronto at the 1993 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

The University of Oregon student clocked 6.71 in the 60m, leapt 7.73m in the long jump, threw 13.12m in the shot put, high jumped 2.11m, ran 7.86 in the 60m hurdles, cleared 5.10m in the pole vault and finished with 2:32.67 in the 1000m.

Another Oregon combined eventer, Brianne Theisen, won the women’s pentathlon. Her total of 4396 points puts her fourth on the all-time collegiate list behind Jacquelyn Johnson, Austra Skujyte, and Hyleas Fountain.

McCorory sets US 400m record

The women’s 400m, which had produced bland qualifying marks, produced two sizzling final sections and a national record. First, Keshia Baker of Oregon, who came into the meet with a best of 52.79, showed a strong, front-running style that didn’t fade over the final 50m, and powered through the finish line in 51.63.

Not to be outdone, in section two, defending champion Francena McCorory of Hampton stormed through the first 200m in 23.82 and finished unchallenged in 50.54 – not only a collegiate record, but a US record as well, erasing Diane Dixon’s 19-year-old standard of 50.64.

The men’s 400m was won pretty easily by Torrin Lawrence in 45.23.

In the short sprints, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) finished the double which is beginning to look like her property. On Friday she won the long jump with 6.87m; today she came from behind with a burst and a lean at the tape to edge Gabby Mayo of Texas A&M; both were timed in 7.18, with the nod going to Okagbare, 7.172 to 7.175 – a couple or three centimetres.

The men’s 60m was won by Floridian Jeff Demps, his time of 6.57 confirming his 6.56 of Friday when he led the qualifiers. Closest to Demps was Gerald Phiri in 6.60.

Both 60m hurdles winners had to come from behind. Defending champion Ronnie Ash of Oklahoma, who led Friday’s qualifiers with 7.55, recovered from a bad start to edge Booker Nunley of South Carolia, 7.56 to 7.58. Queen Harrison emerged from a crowd at the fourth barrier to beat her Virginia Tech teammate, Kristi Castlin, 7.95 to 8.01.

Taylor leaps to 17.18m

Standouts in the jumps today were Christian Taylor of Florida, with two world-class triple jumps (17.18m and 17.17m); Kylie Hutson of Indiana State, winner of the women’s pole vault for the third straight year, with a 4.50m clearance and Kimberly Williams of Florida State, who successfully defended her triple jump title with a winning leap of 13.95m.

In the men’s high jump Derek Drouin, a Canadian sophomore at Indiana University, had only one miss en route to a victorious 2.28m, which he followed with two close misses at 2.31m.

The middle distances were mostly slow, tactical races, but both 800m finals are worth noting. Phoebe Writght of Tennessee won the women’s race, leading all the way to win handily in 2:02.55. In the men’s 800m,  fast-closing US Olympian Andrew Wheating of Oregon overtook Penn State’s Ryan Foster in the home straight, only to be out-fast-finished by Virginia freshman Robbie Andrews, who won by 0.01 in 1:48.39.

The day’s two throws were won by Walter Henning of Louisiana State, who took the men’s weight throw with 23.56m, and Mariam Kevkishvili of Florida, who won her second straight women’s shot put title with a throw of 18.59m.

Finally, Texas A&M won the men’s 4x400m in 3:04.40.

Jim Dunaway for the IAAF

*Subject to usual ratification procedures