McDowell, a junior, earned the Lady Razorbacks their first points of the Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships on Friday by winning the women's pentathlon with an NCAA automatic qualifying score of 4,076 points.
McDowell, a junior, set school pentathlon records in the 60-meters hurdles (8.44 seconds) and the shot put (45 feet and 8 inches) and posted personal pentathlon bests in all five events at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Overall, McDowell was 65 points off the school record in the pentathlon.
"Coach (Lance) Harter describes the pentathlon as having five boyfriends and last year he said I cheated on two of them," McDowell said. "This year, I think I did all five some justice."
McDowell had about an 18-second cushion over second and third place heading into the last event -- the 800. She stayed back for 650 meters before finishing with a strong kick to guarantee her the conference title.
"I told myself that I had four good events before the 800," McDowell said. "I said, 'Let's not lose it in the 800.' I tried to hold on and do whatever I could to hold onto my position."
After winning the 60 hurdles, McDowell fell to fourth after the high jump, where she posted a personal best jump of 5-03.75, as Vanderbilt's Josie Hahn skied to the lead.
Hahn ended up finishing second in the event.
McDowell came right back to reclaim the lead after the shot put and finished second in the long jump to total 3,403 points -- 191 ahead of second place.
"It is always nice to start out with the lead," Harter said. "It is a great way to start the weekend. Hopefully, this will set an example for all the other troops starting tomorrow. We are hoping to cash in tomorrow."
After one event, the Lady Razorbacks are tied with Georgia at 10 points. Vanderbilt is in third with eight points.
On the men's side, Jimmy Duke set personal bests in the 60 meters and the shot put in the men's heptathlon.
Duke sits in 10th place in the heptathlon with 2,679 points and three events remaining today beginning at 2 p.m.
Auburn's Maurice Smith leads the event with 3,382, followed by a pair of Tennessee Volunteers Jangy Addy and Kevin Yeager with 3,208 and 3,136, respectively.
Duke, an energetic 5-6, 155-pound junior from Ballwin, Mo., ran a 7.23 in the 60, winning his heat and finishing sixth overall with 802 points.
After a disappointing long jump, where he finished 10th, Duke set another personal best in one of his weakest events, the shot put, with a throw of 37 feet, 3.75 inches, good enough for 11th.
"I thought the momentum I had through the 60 would carry into the long jump because it has a lot of speed also," Duke said. "I just couldn't get on the board. Unfortunately, they don't mark it where you take off, they mark it from the yellow line on the board.
"I had one good shot. The other two weren't real good. I am real inconsistent right now."
He finished the day with a ninth-place finish in the high jump.
Duke's strongest events come today with the pole vault and the 1000 meters.
Duke didn't enter this weekend's heptathlon with thoughts of winning the deeply talented event. All that was expected of him was to set a competitive tone for the Razorbacks and score some points.
"This is definitely not his best day. He's out there trying to high jump and he's 5-6," said field events coach Dick Booth. "He's trying to throw the shot and he's 155 pounds. That is just not his deal, but pole vaulting is his deal and he can run the 1000."
Booth said he would be satisfied if Duke gathered four points, or finished in fifth place for the Razorbacks in the heptathlon.
He is currently 426 points out of fifth place.
McDowell Wins Pentathlon
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