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U.S. National Champion Pickler To Challenge Drake Relays Heptathlon Mark

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: April 19, 2010
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Diana Pickler
Courtesy: Drake Athletics
DES MOINES, IOWA – For the third straight year, a record is expected to be set in the heptathlon when the two-day event kicks off the 101st running of the Drake Relays Wednesday.


Reigning U.S. national champion Diana Pickler should challenge the Drake Relays record of 6,020 set last year by 2008 U.S. Olympian Jacquelyn Johnson, who toppled the previous the Drake Relays heptathlon record of 5,788 points set by Fiona Asigbee in 2008.


Pickler, who competed in the 2008 Olympics, owns a personal best of 6,290 points en route to winning the 2009 U.S. Championship in Eugene, Ore. She would go on to finish 11th in the 2009 World Championships.


Pickler opened this year by winning the U.S. National Pentathlon Championship March 6 in Bloomington, Ind., with 4,544 points.


She has been ranked nationally in the United States since her junior year at Washington State in 2006. She was ranked No. 1 in 2007 and No. 2 last year. She was second at the 2007 U.S. Championship and finished third in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.


The first day of competition, featuring the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200, will start at 12 p.m. Wednesday at Drake Stadium. It concludes Thursday, starting at 10:30 a.m. with the long jump, javelin and 800.


The 14-person field also includes what is believed to be the youngest competitor ever entered in a Drake Relays invitational event.


Thirteen-year-old Shaina Burns, who attends seventh grade in Prior Lake, Minn., has high jumped 5 feet 6 inches.


Kent State sophomore Diana Dumitrescu, who finished third in the 2009 Drake Relays, will return. She won the Romanian national championship in 2007 and has scored a personal best of 5,455 points in 2008. The defending Mid-American Conference champion was eighth in the pentathlon at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship and placed 15th in the heptathlon at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championship.


Northern Iowa sophomore Olimpia Novak set a personal mark of 5,325 points en route to a fifth-place finish at the Texas Relays April 1. A native of Rawicz, Poland, Novak is a two-time Missouri Valley Conference pentathlon champion and finished second in the 2008 MVC heptathlon.


Tulsa junior Lydia Chamberlin, a native of Sixhills, England, is a training partner of Jessica Ennis, who is ranked No. 1 in the world after winning the 2009 World Championship.


Other heptathlon entrants include Alexis Brown, a senior at Western Michigan; Leah Kay, a senior at Concordia-Moorhead; Brianna LeRoy, sophomore, Utah; Abigail Lewis, senior, Oklahoma Baptist; Crystal Schiernbeck, junior, South Dakota; and Brianna Steel, junior, Tulsa.


Drake freshman Briana Isom-Brummer (St. Louis, Mo.) will compete in her first heptathlon after placing seventh in the pentathlon at the 2010 MVC Indoor meet. Ohio State sophomore Ashley Galbraith and Tulsa freshman Carolin Imhof also will be making their debut in the heptathlon.


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