Feb. 22, 2013
Schedule of Events | Live Results | Photo Gallery-Day One
Fayetteville, Ark. - Sophomore Morgan Whitson was the first Tiger to land on the podium at the SEC Championships, coming out of day one with a seventh-place finish in the pentathlon. Fellow-sophomores Katrine Haarklau and Tim Gilman also saw action today, laying down impressive performances in the pentathlon and heptathlon, respectively.
"We did well. Typical with combined events, some events aren't going to go your way and some you're going to do well at," said Coach Dan Lefever, currently in his 11th year with the Tigers as the combined events coach and third year as Associate Head Coach. "You just got to take it one event at a time and keep fighting. I'm really pleased and saw that [today]."
En route to her top eight finish, Whitson put down two new indoor PR marks, culminating in a huge pentathlon best of 3,828 points. This tops her previous top mark of 3,656 by 172 points and puts her into the current national rankings at No. 27. First up in the pentathlon competition was the 60m hurdles, where both Whitson and Haarklau bested their previous top marks, finishing in 9.25 and 8.85, respectively.
Next up was the high jump, Whitson's strongest event out of the five and her second PR of the day. She made quick business of the first seven heights, passing two and hitting the rest on the first attempt. The next three bars were made on final attempts, with Whitson finishing at 1.72m (5-7.75). Although missing her career PR by 0.02m (0-0.75), it tops her indoor best by 0.04m (0-1.50). This was also enough to bump her into ninth-place and a position to score, a spot which she took advantage of with a win in the shot put and PR-tying performance of 5.43m (17-9.75) in the long jump. She entered the 800m at seventh-place, a position she would maintain at the event's finish.
"I didn't really think about that before my event, that we are the first event to finish. But I'm honored and really excited," said Whitson of her All-SEC finish. "I've been kind of struggling with high jump this season, but it came together this meet, and I'm really excited about that. I had some season PRs, [and now] just have to keep working hard and stay focused."
Haarklau also saw a couple new PR marks after the 60m hurdles, starting with the long jump where she overtook her previous top mark of 5.00m (16-4.75) on her final attempt, measured in at 5.23m (17-2). Finally in the 800m, Haarklau, a pole vault specialist, paced to a four-second PR of 2:22.17. Ranked 14th going into the race, this fourth-place performance was enough to push her into an 11th overall finish.
For Gilman in the heptathlon, events will continue tomorrow with the 60m hurdles, pole vault, and 1,000m run. He will enter day two of competition in ninth-place, and a shot to join Whitson on the scoreboard. Gilman finished the first four events with a couple PRs of his own, extending his long jump best to 6.09m (19-11.75) and his shot put best to 12.86m (42-2.25) on his final throw. The day ended with the high jump, and a near miss for a third PR, with Gilman finishing 0.01m (0-0.5) shy at 1.86m (6-1.25).
"He's just got to have three solid events," said Lefever of Gilman going into day two of the heptathlon. "He has to come out and have a good hurdle time, and he's a pole vaulter, that's the event he's done the longest, so I think he's ready to make a move there and he'll need to. Just have to give it all you got when you get on the track for the 1000m."
The Tigers will be looking to add more All-SEC performances tomorrow, with a full day of events. For the latest on your Tigers, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.