Iuel Wins Pac-12 Heptathlon, Fajoyomi 2nd In Decathlon
May 11, 2014
PULLMAN, WASH. - Freshman Amalie Iuel became the first Trojan to win the heptathlon since 1996 and senior Viktor Fajoyomi placed second and junior Jemal Williams sixth in the decathlon on the final day of the Pac-12 Multi-Events Championships hosted by Washington State in Pullman, Wash. today (May 11). Fajoyomi (8) and Williams (3) earned the USC men's team 11 points and a second-place standing and Iuel earned the Trojan women 10 points and a first-place standing after one event of the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships. The remaining 20 events will be contested May 17-18 at the Mooberry Track & Field Complex in Pullman.
"The Trojan multi-event athletes had a phenomenal showing this weekend at the Pac-12 Multi-Events Championships," stated USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "After coming off a huge meet against UCLA and taking finals all week they really showed up and put some major team points on the board. Amalie (Iuel) has had an amazing freshman campaign and is only just beginning to tap into her talent as a multis athlete and hurdler. Coach Shumpert (Berry) has put a lot of time into these athletes and has done a marvelous job of preparing them for the conference championships. I am extremely excited and proud of Viktor (Fajoyomi) for his second place finish. He and Jemal (Williams) had multiple PRs during the competition even with unfavorable winds and cold temperatures. It's always nice to see a senior have a great final conference meet. These performances have put us in position to go into Pullman and finish the job next week. We are looking forward to more outstanding marks and times next week."
Iuel finished the two-day competition with 5,378 points to become the first Trojan woman to win the event since Nicole Haynes in 1996 and her point total moved her into seventh place on USC's all-time list. Iuel is also believed to be the first freshman to win the conference heptathlon since Jackie Johnson of ASU in 2004.
"It actually went a lot better than expected," said the modest Iuel when asked whether she expected to do so well. "I came in expecting a lot of PRs and a better score than last time. Last time I scored 4870-ish, so I definitely bettered my score."
When asked about if she felt there was a turning point in the meet for her she said, "Definitely. The 200 meters last night was the event I was most happy about. Last time I ran a 25.1 and so I was hoping for 24-high and then I ran a 24.4 which I was really happy about."
Iuel had a solid start to the second day by placing fourth in the long jump with a mark of 18-3/5.56m (+0.3) to earn 717 points. She nailed her best jump in her final attempt, gaining nearly a foot and some valuable points. She remained in third place, but Arizona's Amber Passalaqua took over the multi-events lead with a jump of 18-11.25 as UCLA's Alexis Walker long jumped just 17-1, so after five events, Passalaqua had 3,969 points, Walker 3,965 and Iuel 3,903 points.
Iuel then competed in the javelin throw and had a PR of 98-5.00/30.00m in her first attempt and then improved to 99-8.00/30.38 in her second attempt. Again she saved her best for last with a PR of 110-5/33.67m to finish seventh in the event and earn 546 points. The results of the javelin throw tightened the overall competition up as Passalaqua was fifth and Walker 10th in the event, so with one event remaining Iuel moved into second place, 86 points behind the leader Passalaqua, with Walker dropping into sixth place.
Being so close and not to be denied, Iuel then stormed to victory in the 800m race with a PR of 2:12.43 to win the event by more than two and a half seconds and gain 929 points and finish with 5,378 points. That result along with Passalaqua's sixth-place finish secured the 2014 Pac-12 heptathlon title for Iuel. Alissa Brooks-Johnson who was second in the event, actually finished second overall with 5,325 points and Passalaqua took third with 5,313 points.
"I knew I was in the top three (heading to the final event)," said the freshman from Norway. "I knew the people and knew who I had to look out for and try to stick with so I did that and it worked."
Iuel's heptathlon point total also moves her into 25th place in the country entering this weekend's action.
Fajoyomi was leading the competition most of the way, but struggles in the javelin throw did him in and he had to settle for second place with a PR of 7,489 points which bettered his fourth-place standing on USC's all-time list in the event. Williams finished in sixth place with a PR of 7,034 points, just outside the USC top 10 . Still, Fajoyomi had five legal PRs, one wind-aided PR and matched a PR in another event during the two-day competition. Fajoyomi moved into 11th place on the NCAA descending order list in the decathlon entering this weekend's action.
Fajoyomi started the second day off in first place with 4,181 points, 217 over the two-time defending champion Dakotah Keys of Oregon who had erased a 170-point Day 1 deficit last season in capturing the Pac-12 decathlon title. Keys is known as very strong javelin thrower and pole vaulter, two of the final three events scheduled today.
Fajoyomi won the first event of the day the men's 110m HH with a PR of 14.52 (+0.9) to earn 908 points. Right behind him was Keys who earned 892 points in the event. Williams had a time of 15.33 (+0.9) to earn 810 points and move into seventh place.
The next event was the discus throw and Fajoyomi had another personal best with a throw of 133-3/40.61m to place third and earn 677 points. Right behind him was Williams who had a throw of 131-4/40.04m to take fourth and earn 665 points. Following the seventh event of the competition, Fajoyomi was in first place, 315 points ahead of Keys. Williams remained in seventh place
Fajoyomi entered the pole vault competition at 13-5.25/4.10m and cleared it in his second attempt. The next bar was 13-9.25/4.20m which would match his PR. He missed on his first two attempts, but cleared the height on his final attempt, but that would be his final height so he finished eighth in the event and earned 673 points. Keys and Williams had not entered the competition yet. Williams ended up clearing 14-9/4.50m. but missed at 15-1 which would have been a PR. He finished second in the event and earned 760 points. Keys would go on to clear 15-5 to earn 819 points and cut Fajoyomi's lead nearly in half.
The javelin throw, the ninth event, basically decided the competition. Fajoyomi had fouls on his first two throws while Keys launched his best mark of 207-6 in his first attempt which ultimately earned him 787 points. Fajoyomi had to play it safe in his final throw to assure he did not end up with zero points and his mark at 124-3/37.87 was 10th in the event and good for 411 points. As a result of this, Fajoyomi fell into second place, 207 points behind Keys. Williams had a PR of 147-5/44.95m to finish eighth in the event and earn 514 points. He would enter the final event in eighth place.
With the outcome basically decided, Fajoyomi ran a 4:46.59 time in the 1500m race which was sixth overall and earned him 639 points. Keys ran 4:30.06 to place third, earn 744 points and clinch his third consecutive Pac-12 decathlon title. Williams finished strong with a time of 4:29.75 which was second in the event, earned him 746 points and moved him into a sixth-place finish with 7,034 points. He was just one point behind the fifth-place finisher and 47 behind the fourth-place finisher.
Both Fajoyomi and Williams improved over last season's finishes at the Pac-12 Mulit-Events Championships when Fajoyomi placed fifth and Williams 10th.