Donovan Kilmartin lived up to his billing and Julie Pickler surpassed her star sister after Day 1 of the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Combined Event Championships at Cal’s Edwards Stadium.Kilmartin, representing Team Idaho, is the leader after five events of the decathlon championship with 3,949 points. Robert Bates, competing unattached, is second with 3,675 points.
Pickler, who finished third at the heptathlon championship last year, has 3,261 points after four events. She edged twin sister Diana Pickler, the defending junior national champion who has 3,249 points and stands in second place.
The junior decathlon and heptathlon conclude today just as the senior events, with a decathlon field that includes 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dan O’Brien, begin.
Kilmartin is the favorite to win the junior meet. The 18-year-old product of Meridian, Idaho, is the defending USA Track and Field Junior Olympic champion. He won last year’s USA junior Olympic competition with a national youth record score of 7,405. He also won last year’s USATF junior pole vault championship with a mark of 15 feet, seven inches, which he will try to defend at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships at Stanford this weekend.
The confident Kilmartin, who will be a senior at Eagle High School (Eagle, Idaho) next fall, says he hopes to reach the 7,550 mark in Berkeley. That means he will have to break the national high school record of 7,537, set by Craig Brigham in 1972, and his own personal record of 7,405. He is the only decathlete in the field who has already qualified for this year’s World Junior Championship in Jamaica, meaning he has reached the 7,050 mark. Kilmartin says he?s met or beaten his expected marks at Edwards. He won the 100-meter dash (11.17 seconds), the long jump (23 feet, 8 inches) and the high jump (6 feet, 9inches). He placed fifth in the shot put (40 feet, 7 inches) and third in the 400-meter dash (51.32 seconds).
“All my marks I’m hitting today,” he said. “I’m actually a little ahead of pace, because I went for a 52 in the 400, got a 51. In the high jump, I put up a 6-8, and I ended up going for 6-9. I lost some points in the shot put, but I picked them up in the 400 and the high jump. Right now, I?m standing pretty good.”
Julie Pickler won just one event, the 200-meter dash (25.07 seconds), while her twin sister, Diana, won the 100-meter dash (13.88 seconds). Vanderbilt’s Josie Hahn and South Carolina?s Chelsea tied to win the high jump (5 feet, 9 inches) and Amber Metoyer, representing the Boulder Track Club, won the shot put (44 feet, 4 inches).
Julie and Diana Pickler compete for the Texas Express club from Dallas and will attend Washington State in the fall.
Julie Pickler broke her old first day PR of 3,208. This is the first time the younger Pickler has led her sister after the first day of the event.
“She’s usually ahead of me on the first day,” Julie Pickler said, “but we’re usually within 20 points of each other.”
Julie Pickler, who is four minutes younger than her sister, hopes to place in the top two spots here tomorrow and break the 5,275 mark. She needs to do both to qualify for the World Junior Championship.
She has never beaten Diana in the heptathlon.
“As a competitor, you don’t want to lose to anybody,” Diana Pickler said. “But I just want to do well, because I have the (World qualifying) standard and sheneeds to get it. I hope she gets it.”