Ducks Score Big Points in Pac-10 Multi-events

Duck multi-event athletes had a huge weekend for the Ducks. Ashton Eaton won his first Pac-10 title as a sophomore and became the first Duck to win a Pac-10 Decathlon Championship since 2004 when Tommy Skipper (7589) won the title in his only attempt at the event as a collegian.

Brianne Theisen set a personal record (PR) again and just like her Pan Am Junior Championship, showed her competitive spirit in finishing second with a personal best in a championship meet for the second consecutive year.

Two big personal records by Alexey Shkuratov (6907) and Marshall Ackley (6866) put them in fourth and fifth. Both scored some unexpected points due to a 187-point PR for Schkuratov and a shocking 510-point PR for Ackley. Eaton (4069) was in a major battle of his own to win his first Pac-10 championship and give the Ducks ten big points. Eaton had been way off in his long jump performance and for the day (short 146 points from his Sac Elite performance) and his projected score (based on season best Decathlon) was 7646 while the fifth ranked collegian and third best collegiate performer at the Texas Relays. Washington State's Ricky Moody (4030), was just 126 points off his PR performance at those same relays and was projected to score 7661.

The first event of the second day was hand-timed. Eaton ran 13.9, Moody ran 14.2, Shkuratov ran 14.5, and Ackley ran 15.0. With the .24 second hand-timed conversion Eaton had a slight pr (14.21), Moody had a slight PR (14.55 PR at the Texas Relays). Shkuratov was just off his personal best but superior to his 2006 PR by 38 points in the Decathlon (15.05) but Ackley had a huge PR and was up another 147 points (16.53 decathlon PR from the Sacramento Elite, and 15.90 best time from last year). Eaton and Moody were tied for first at 4987 after six events. In the discus throw, Moody won the event (134-1) but was 17 feet short of his PR (151-10 at the Texas Relays) and best Decathlon performance, but was ahead with 5669. Eaton finished fifth with a throw of 113-7 and was less than two feet off his decathlon PR but was in second with 5543. Shkuratov was just seventh with a throw of 111-3 (off his PR of 124-5) but in his decathlon PR from two years ago he had major problems and had thrown just 83-4. This was a 167-point improvement. After he was 154 points behind the first day now Shkuratov was 51 points ahead. Ackley was 22 inches better (113-5) than his PR and decathlon PR best and was now 441 points above his two-day decathlon total best.

Ricky Moody was now well down due to the poor discus throw that put him another 100 plus-points short of his decathlon best. At the Texas Relays he had vaulted a PR 13-11 ¼ and Eaton had vaulted 14-9 for his best outdoor vault a 72-point difference. Moody would need another big PR and hope that Eaton would not PR or do worse to make a move because he had never broken five minutes for the 1,500 meters and Eaton had run 4:24.15 at Sacramento Elite which is a 278 point difference. Those two events would nullify his superior javelin PR. Moody could not reach his previous pr and vaulted 12-7 ½ while Eaton, who only vaulted 12-11 at last year's Pac-10 meet, won the vault with a decathlon PR (just off his personal PR of 16-0 ¾) of 15-11 and was now leading the competition with 6408 to 6245. Ackley nearly vaulted a PR (from high school it was 15-4) with a decathlon best of 15-3. Shukuratov improved on his two day decathlon PR with a vault of 13-11 ¼. Stanford's Josh Hustedt was in third and Shkuratov and Ackley were in fourth and fifth with Shkuratov over 300 points behind Hustedt.

Moody was 11 feet short of his best in the javelin throw and still won the event with a throw of 185-0 feet. Eaton, competing in his worst event still was close to his decathlon PR (148-6) and threw 145-4. Eaton was now behind with 6913 points to 6929 for Moody but was coming to one of his best events and legitimately, along with the pole vault, this was Moody's worst. In the 1,500 meters just a second was six points difference and Eaton had a 45 second advantage in PRs. Oregon's Eaton, Ackley and Shkuratov went 1, 2, 4 and Moody, close to his PR with a time of 5:09.80 was 25 seconds behind the winning time of Eaton, 4:44.48. Eaton had his first Pac-10 championship 7604 to 7395 for Moody with Hustedt at 7181 -- 19 points for Oregon was a good start to the competition.

In the women's heptathlon Arizona State's Jacquelyn Johnson ran away from the competition during the second day. When Nia Ali of USC withdrew, just 85 points behind the 3691 (76 points ahead of her PR which ended up being a school record 6143) point first day total of Johnson, the closest competitor was the PR first day total of Brianne Theisen at 3369 points, 322 points behind. Shevell Quinley, third at the NCAA indoor meet and a 5657 PR from this meet last year, and Shana Woods scored 5533 in 2006 were both off their PR performances but Theisen was 117 points ahead of her best and on pace to defeat everyone except Johnson.

Johnson had superior marks in the long jump and a PR in the javelin throw (moving to a sixth place ranking overall in the javelin), 20-8 and 159-1, respectively. Theisen was close to her previous long jump best at 19-5 ½ and had a PR in the javelin throw (144-8) for second in both events to solidify her position in second. Both were off in their 800-meter performances due to the weather and finished in PR marks. Johnson moved to third all-time among collegians at 6307 and Theisen finished second at 5765, way ahead of the third place performance of Woods at 5474.

Things continued to not go well for Kalindra McFadden of the Ducks. McFadden scored 5022 for eighth, 398 points off her best this year. A 14.67-run in the 100 hurdles was the only performance close to her best of 14.37 at the Mt SAC relays. She had a 5-4 ¼ in the high jump, 36-1 ¼ in the shot put, 26.15 in the 200 meters, 16-11 ½, 115-8 in the javelin throw, and 2:21.43 were all well off her bests. Unfortunately she has trouble in warm weather. Erin Funkhouser was just 20 points down the first day but made strides on the second day to get a pr performance at 4720 for a 12th place finish. Erin jumped 16-5 in the long jump, off what she has recently been jumping (17-3) but she recovered with a four foot PR at 124-9 in the javelin throw and was second in the 800 meters at 2:15.62 to set a PR ran at the Pac-10 meet last year.

Overall this was a great start for the men and women of the University of Oregon. The big pr by Theisen put her second as a collegian and improved her position as the second ranked Duck of all-time in the event. The women had scored nine points on a road that will likely lead the Duck women to their most points at the Pac-10 meet (outside of the 97 points scored in 2006) since 84 in 1998 and the Tom Heinonen-led Pac-10 runner-up team (144 points) of 1997. It is likely this team will surpass the score of 1998 and possible the score of 97 points in 2006. Eaton led a charge of three Decathletes that scored 19 points and will put pressure on contenders Arizona State, USC, UCLA, and Washington (all possibly over 100 points).

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