Theisen sets collegiate record in pentathlon at NCAA Indoor Track and Field championships

By Chris Duncan
Associated Press
Friday, March 11, 2011; 10:55 PM

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Oregon's Brianne Theisen broke her own collegiate record Friday in winning the pentathlon for the second straight year on the opening day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field championships.

The 5-foot-8 junior from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, earned 4,540 points, beating Nebraska's Chantae McMillan and Maryland's Kiani Profit, who tied for second with 4,396. Profit also finished second last year.

Iona's Leonard Korir set an NCAA meet record in the men's 5,000 meters, winning in 13 minutes, 26.01 seconds. LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan, the Southeastern Conference 200 champion, won the NCAA title in 22.85.

Defending champion Oregon had 26 points after the first day to lead the women's team standings. Texas (23) was second and LSU (19) was third. Florida State and BYU shared the men's team lead with 24 points each.

Theisen won last year with 4,396 points, helping the Ducks capture the women's team title. She just set the collegiate pentathlon record - 4,507 points - at the University of Washington Invitational in January.

As a result, she felt unusually anxious Friday, wanting to improve on both last year's effort and her performance in Seattle earlier this year.

"I normally don't focus on past performances," she said. "but it was really hard because there were so many people going, 'Oh, you're going to break the record again.' It was this weird thing where I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to break it. That was making me look really nervous, and I was really nervous."

On top of that, Theisen strained back muscles two weeks ago after a marathon study session at a coffee shop, and coped with flareups as she competed on Friday.

"I had lot of inner fights with myself," she said.

Theisen fell behind in the first event, as West Virginia's Chelsea Carrier edged her in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.29. Theisen finished in 8.35 seconds, matching her personal-best time.

Theisen took the overall lead when she was the only athlete to clear 5-11 1/4 in the high jump. She flew over the bar at 6-0 1/2 to set an NCAA indoor and collegiate record.

Theisen failed to get over the bar in three attempts at 6-1 1/2, and shook her head in disappointment after her final try.

"I felt there were a lot of ups and downs today, really stressful," she said. "Normally, I don't feel that much pressure going into a meet. Today, it was this weird thing, I was having this fight with myself, putting pressure on myself."

She also got some pressure from her competitors.

Nebraska senior Chantae McMillan, in 10th place after two events, surged to third after winning the shot at 47-9 3/4 feet. Theisen was fifth at 40-7 1/2 and maintained her overall lead.

McMillan won the long jump in 20-9 1/4 to close the gap to Theisen's lead to 35 points with only the 800 remaining. Theisen and Carrier were second in the long jump, with leaps of 19-6 3/4.

Theisen trailed only Profit at the halfway mark in the 800, while McMillan was far back in fourth. Profit finished the race in 2:09.67, an NCAA meet and collegiate record. Theisen crossed the line in a personal-best 2:11.82.

"Kiani Profit ran perfectly for me," Theisen said. "She didn't slow down and she took off with 200 to go - it was the most perfect race."

Kansas State junior Mantas Silkauskas leads the men heptathlon with three events left on Saturday morning. Silkauskas won the 60 in 6.78 seconds and the long jump with a best leap of 25-1 1/4.

Washington's Scott Roth won the pole vault (18 1/2 feet), and Oklahoma's Rakieem Salaam won the men's 200 (20.41).

Indiana State's Felisha Johnson won the women's weight throw (74-5 1/2) and Tori Bowie, from Southern Miss, won the long jump (21-4 3/4).

Tennessee's Jackie Areson won the women's 5,000 in 16:04.16. Villanova won the women's medley relay in 10:52.52, and BYU won the men's event in 9:29.28.

BYU's Leif Arrhenius won the shot put (65-4 1/4), upsetting favorite Mason Finley, of Kansas, who finished second (64-9 3/4).

Arizona's Brigetta Barrett won the women's high jump (6-2 3/4) and Florida State's Ngonidzashe Makusha took the men's long jump (26-8 1/2).

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