May 14, 2006
Eugene, OR - Senior Chelsea Johnson capped off an impressive Pac-10 career in record-breaking fashion as she set a new collegiate record in the pole vault (15-1) to win on the final day of the 2006 Pac-10 Track & Field Championships. As a team, UCLA placed fourth overall with 103 points, while Arizona State won the meet with 154 points.
Johnson had already won the 2006 title, but moved the bar to 15-1, a new collegiate record. She just missed clearing the height on her first attempt, but cleared it on her second to break Florida State's Lacy Janson's collegiate record of 15-0.25. The bar was next moved to 15-3, which would be a new world-leading mark, but she did not clear the height. The mark of 15-1 also broke the Pac-10 meet record set by Becky Holliday in 2003 (14-6) and Pac-10 record (14-8), also set by Holliday in 2003. Johnson's clearance of 15-1 also gives her the third-best mark in the world this year.
This is the fifth time a Bruin has won the pole vault title in the nine years the meet has held the vault competition.
"I had a couple of down weeks in practice," said Johnson. "But last week were the best practices I've had in my life. My confidence was high coming into the meet. I was happy with 15-1, but not satisfied. I want 15-3 or higher. It's possible in the future because at 15-3 I felt my first and third attempts were good efforts. The conditions were perfect today. How could you not break a record?"
"I'm so happy to get the full amount of points for my team. That's usually what I'm most nervous about."
Also in the pole vault, junior Jacqueline Nguyen finished sixth with a jump of 13-3.50. Sophomores Elizabeth Woepse and Ingrid Kantola tied for 11th as both cleared 12-5.50, and sophomore Megan Jamerson was 15th, clearing 11-11.75.
Freshman Nicole Leach easily won the 400m hurdles in 57.27 to capture her first Pac-10 title as a Bruin. She also earned all-conference honors in the 400m, placing second in a time of 52.61. Sophomore DeShanta Harris finished sixth in the 400m hurdles, running 1:02.61.
UCLA has won the 400m hurdle title five times in the last six years and 10 out of the 20 in Pac-10 history. Leach is the fifth Bruin to win a 400m Pac-10 title.
"It's in me to go into every race thinking I can win," said Leach. "The last 150m is the most important because you want to set up with your rhythm and on the seventh hurdle take off and go."
Junior Ashley Caldwell had a big day on the track, running a new lifetime-best in the 1500m to finish fourth overall, running a regional qualifying time of 4:21.46. Caldwell also placed sixth in the 800m, running a season-best and regional qualifying time of 2:09.33.
Senior Dawn Harper had a tough day in the 100m hurdles as she was forced to slow down after the tape around her quad/hamstring began unraveling and hitting hurdles midway through the event. Harper was able to finish the race, but finished 17th in a time of 15.34.
Sophomore Jolanda Diego finished seventh in the 100m in a time of 11.63 and fifth in the 200m (23.78).
In the discus, junior Kamaiya Warren finished seventh overall, throwing 162-0.
Final Team Standings:
1. Arizona State, 154; 2. Stanford, 151.50; 3. USC, 112; 4. UCLA, 103; 5. Oregon, 97; 6. California, 76.50; 7. Washington, 41; 8. Washington State, 40; 9. Arizona, 37; 10. Oregon State, 4.