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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 13, 2010

Track and field: Oregon heptathlete sets world record

AP Sports Writer

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. Ashton Eaton's teammates tried to keep quiet as he approached a world record in the heptathlon as if the Oregon senior was somehow unaware of how close he was to Dan O'Brien's mark.

"I think everybody thought I didn't know. At least my teammates were trying to be like, 'Shhh, don't tell,'" Eaton said. "I was like, 'Come on, you know something like that.'"

Eaton broke O'Brien's 17-year-old mark Saturday at the NCAA indoor track and field championships, finishing the seven-sport event with 6,499 points. With the crowd on its feet urging him on, Eaton surpassed the old record of 6,476 by running a personal best in the 1,000 meters.

Eaton finished the 1,000 in 2 minutes, 32.67 seconds, nearly two seconds faster than needed for the world mark. His previous career best was 2:38.02.

"I didn't think I was going to have what it took to get it," Eaton said. "I was like ... 'I guess I'm just going to run as fast as I can.'"

Eaton's performance wasn't quite enough to lift Oregon to the team title, which went to Florida. Oregon did win the women's title, although the top performance of the night was probably by Hampton's Francena McCorory, who set an American record of 50.54 in the 400.

"I just kind of got to the 200 and just dropped the hammer and pressed it," she said. "When I got to the 300, I was like 'go, go, go' in my head."

Georgia's Torrin Lawrence won impressively in the men's 400 in 45.23.

Florida's Jeff Demps, who also plays football for the Gators, won the 60 in 6.57, and Texas-El Paso's Blessing Okagbare took the women's race in 7.172 three thousandths of a second ahead of Texas A&M's Gabby Mayo.

Lee Emanuel of New Mexico won the men's mile in 3:59.26, and Charlotte Browning of Florida won the women's race in 4:35.66.

Oklahoma's Ronnie Ash took the 60 hurdles title in 7.56, and Queen Quedith Harrison led a 1-2 finish for Virginia Tech on the women's side, finishing in 7.95.

Walter Henning of LSU took the weight throw with a toss of 77 feet, 3 inches, and Derek Drouin of Indiana won the high jump at 7-5.

Brianne Theisen of Oregon won the pentathlon with 4,396 points.

Duke's Curtis Beach finished 12th in the heptathlon, but he ran the 1,000 in 2:27.88, which is believed to be the fastest anyone in the world has run a heptathlon 1,000.

The heptathlon includes the 60, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 hurdles, pole vault and 1,000. Eaton was the meet's top performer in four of the first five sports Friday and Saturday, putting himself in a position to make a run at O'Brien's record.