BERKELEY, Calif. -- Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen successfully defended their Pac-10 decathlon and heptathlon titles, respectively, Saturday at Edwards Stadium, as Oregon jumped out to an early lead in the 2010 Pac-10 Track & Field Championships.
The Ducks also counted points from Marshall Ackley’s third-place finish in the decathlon and Erin Funkhouser’s fifth-place showing in the heptathlon.
Eaton scored a legal-best 8,154 points to become just the third man to win three Pac-10 decathlon titles, joining Mike Ramos of Washington (1983-84, ‘86) and Craig Brigham of Oregon (1973-75). The senior from Bend, Ore., has previously twice surpassed 8,154 points, but both came with over the legal limit winds allowable for records.
Jeremey Taiwo of Washington was second with 7,521 points, 633 back of Eaton, with Ackley third at 7,331 points and California’s Michael Morrison fourth at 7,218 points.
"It’s extremely difficult and impressive to win three consecutive Pac-10 titles," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "Ashton will go down as one of the best student-athletes ever in Pac-10 history - not just track and field - and that’s really saying something."
On Saturday, Eaton won the 110 meter hurdles in a decathlon-best 13.79 into a headwind. He also won the discus at 138-9 and the pole vault with another decathlon PR, 16-10.75. With the victory in hand, Eaton cruised in his last two events, throwing 162-11 in the javelin and running 4:39.97 in the 1,500 meters.
Overall, he won seven of the 10 events in falling just 22 points shy of Pedro daSilva’s legal school record of 8,176 points. Still, Eaton’s score from the weekend was his ninth straight decathlon scoring more than 8,000 points and moved him to No. 4 on the Pac-10 career list.
At next week’s Pac-10 Track and Field Championships, the Men of Oregon will begin with 14 points, followed by Washington with eight and California with six.
Theisen was just as impressive in scoring 5,917 points to win the heptathlon by nearly 500 points over UCLA’s Ryann Krais, who scored 5,426 points. Arizona State teammates Keia Pinnick (5,219 points) and Samantha Henderson (5,126 points) were third and fourth, respectively. Funkhouser was fifth with 5,061 points.
After building a commanding lead on Friday, Theisen salted away the victory by winning the javelin with a throw of 134-11. The junior from Humboldt, Sask., also jumped 18-7 in the long jump and ran 2:15.13 in the 800 meters.
She became just the second Duck to win back to back league heptathlon titles, joining Kelly Blair (1993-94).
"Brianne was equally successful in defending her title and doing everything we hoped she would accomplish this weekend," said Lananna.
While there was little suspense in Eaton and Theisen defending their titles, the Ducks received critical performances from Ackley and Funkhouser as both the men and women look to defend their team Pac-10 titles.
Funkhouser, the senior from Grass Valley, Ore., saved the best performance of her career for the Pac-10 meet. An eighth-place finisher in the heptathlon in 2008, Funkhouser who set PRs in all four events on Saturday, was second in the javelin at 124-0 on Saturday and fifth in the 800 meters at 2:16.06. She also went 17-6 in the long jump.
That resulted in a heptathlon PR by 180 points as Funkhouser exceeded 5,000 points for the first time in her career,
"Erin Funkhouser is a great example of a determined kid sticking with it for four years and finally going over 5,000 points," said Lananna. "Those are very important team points and I couldn’t be happier for a terrific home-grown Oregon product."
The Oregon women will enter next week’s Pac-10 competition with 14 points, three better than second-place Arizona State.
Ackley erased any lingering early-season struggles in his third place finish in the decathlon. Saturday, he was third in the 110 hurdles in a decathlon PR of 14.81.
The senior from Nyssa, Ore., was also second in the javelin with a throw of 174-3, third in the pole vault at 15-7, fourth in the discus at 120-0 and fourth in the 1,500 meters 4:28.21.
"Marshal is a great competitor," said Lananna. "He has represented Oregon with great pride throughout his career. He is the consummate team competitor and I’m very proud of him."
His score ranked 17th in the nation this season as Ackley hopes to have earned his second straight trip to the NCAA Championships.
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