USATF Women’s Heptathlon — Many Lead Changes

Erica Bougard was in the lead after events 1, 2, 4 & 7; Williams was on top after 3, 5 & 6. (KEVIN MORRIS)

EACH TIME that Erica Bougard and Kendell Williams have met on U.S. soil in the heptathlon at least one of them has PRed. The last time—at the ’17 USATF—both did. The PR streak continued this year as the rivalry produced possibly their most exciting competition yet, even though the result was not as close as the 7-point margin 2 years ago.

Both were easily the only two Americans with the WC standard of 6300—Bougard with her 6725 PR from Götzis last year, Williams with a 6412 from the Austrian meet this May, when she topped Bougard by 38. The race for 3rd—likely with a score less than the WC Q—looked up for grabs but potentially high enough to garner the U.S. a third berth in Doha. The fireworks started early and even weather wasn’t able to hold back the heat these two generate in a competition.

100 Hurdles
Bougard (12.78 PR) and Williams (12.84) got things off to a hot start, running side-by-side as the only ones to go sub-13. That gave a 9-point lead to Bougard. Michelle Atherley was next fastest at 13.08. Also PRing was Chari Hawkins (13.17).

High Jump
A lengthy weather delay added more than an hour and a half of waiting time which may have cooled things off a bit, but Bougard—ranked No. 7 among U.S. high jumpers the last two years—led the way with a clean record through 6-2 (1.88), missing only while being unsuccessful at 6-3¼ (1.91). Williams was the only other to jump 6-feet, scaling an =outdoor best 6-¾ (1.85) on her final attempt. Bougard’s lead thus grew to 48 points as both she and Williams were on PR pace.

Shot
There would be no runaway. Williams, the better thrower, heaved an outdoor best 44-0 (13.41) on her final attempt and took the lead by 8 points over Bougard, whose 41-3 (12.57) was more than a foot off her PR. Annie Kunz was tops at 46-4 (14.12), and Hawkins had the second-best effort of her life at 42-11½ (13.09) and remained in 3rd.

200
Headwinds doused the fireworks as far as big scores were concerned, but Bougard ran 23.80 in lane 3 to take the Day 1 lead by just 3 points over Williams, who ran 23.91. The only PR came from Hawkins (24.42).

Long Jump
The wind gave back here, to the delight of athletes and fans. In round 1, Williams—ranked No. 5 in the U.S. last year—stretched a PR 22-¼ (6.71). Two jumpers later, Bougard spanned 20-11¼ (6.38). Round 2 really got hot as Williams leaped a windy 22-5 (6.83). Bougard improved with a windy 21-5¼/6.53. Neither improved in round 3, though Bougard likely did but for a board foul. Williams now led by 95 points.

Javelin
No one saw this one coming. Bougard, historically a low-130 thrower, opened at 138-1 (42.08) and followed with PRs of 147-11 (45.08) and 150-3 (45.80). Williams reached 145-4 (44.31) on her final throw, some 7ft short of her PR. Williams’ lead was now down to 66. Hawkins took control of 3rd by 56 points over Kunz.

800
Williams’ 66-point lead equated to 4-5 seconds in the 800. Bougard, a 2:08 runner, was alone in front and ran a controlled 2:12.41, winning by 6 seconds. Williams, with a 2:15 best, stayed close as long as she could but faded to 2:20.92. Bougard won with 6663, 53 up on Williams’ PR of 6610. It was her first victory since ’15 over Williams, who leads the overall head-to-head 7–3 in a rivalry that began in 2012. Hawkins won the overall battle for 3rd with Kunz, 6230–6153, PRs for both.

Said Bougard, “Kendell really pushes me. She came to compete and so did I. She is one of my biggest competitors and I love the way she pushes me, so when she popped off a 6.80, I said I could too. She’s a great long jumper. The hurdles and the high jump is my money event.”


USATF WOMEN’S HEPTATHLON RESULTS

(July 27–28)

1. Erica Bougard (Nik) 6663 (AL) (non-JJK: x, 7 A)

(12.78, 6-2/1.88, 41-3/12.57, 23.80 [3937–1], 21-5¼/6.53w, 150-3/45.80, 2:12.41 [2726]);

2. Kendell Williams (Nik) 6610 PR (4, x A) (non-JJK: 4, 9 A)

(12.84, 6-¾/1.85, 44-0/13.41, 23.91 [3934–2], 22-5/6.83w, 145-4/44.31, 2:20.92 [2676]);

3. Chari Hawkins (On) 6230 PR

(13.17, 5-10½/1.79, 42-11½/13.09, 24.42 [3739–3], 20-6½/6.26, 140-7/42.87, 2:18.85 [2491]);

4. Annie Kunz (CVE) 6153 PR

(13.51, 5-9¼/1.76, 46-4/14.12, 24.35 [3726–4], 20-9¾/6.34w, 128-9/39.24, 2:20.40 [2427]);

5. Emilyn Dearman (unat) 5945 PR

(13.37, 5-9¼/1.76, 43-3/13.18, 24.82 [3639–6], 19-8¾/6.01w, 110-6/33.69, 2:14.05 [2306]);

6. Riley Cooks (OisFalcTC) 5932

(13.48, 5-5¾/1.67, 44-8¼/13.62, 24.61 [3563–8], 19-7/5.97, 144-2/43.95, 2:22.81 [2369]);

7. Michelle Atherley (Mia) 5931

(13.08, 5-8/1.73, 40-11¾/12.49, 24.21 [3658–5], 19-8/5.99, 116-5/35.48, 2:18.39 [2273]);

8. Lindsay Schwartz (ABEO) 5921

(13.33, 5-5¾/1.67, 43-5¾/13.25, 24.25 [3594–7], 19-2½/5.85, 126-1/38.45, 2:15.53 [2327]);

9. Kendall Gustafson (unat) 5914

(14.14, 5-9¼/1.76, 44-¾/13.43, 25.36 [3497–10], 19-8/5.99w, 143-11/43.87, 2:19.60 [2417]);

10. Jordan Gray (Kenn) 5903 PR

(13.80, 5-5¾/1.67, 45-9/13.94, 24.98 [3504–9], 20-9¾/6.34, 127-7/38.90, 2:21.95 [2399]);

11. Ashtin Zamzow (Tx) 5875

(13.77, 5-5¾/1.67, 42-3½/12.89, 25.17 [3420–13], 18-10/5.74w, 157-8/48.06, 2:17.27 [2455]);

12. Hope Bender (SBTC) 5824

(13.78, 5-5¾/1.67, 40-7/12.37, 24.27 [3469–11], 19-6¼/5.95, 123-4/37.59, 2:14.49 [2355]);

13. Allison Halverson (AreteE) 5796

(13.32, 5-3¼/1.61, 33-8¾/10.28, 24.22 [3332–15], 19-9/6.02w, 134-8/41.05, 2:13.01 [2464]);

14. Alissa Brooks-Johnson (unat) 5753

(13.86, 5-7/1.70, 41-6½/12.66, 25.14 [3432–12], 19-2/5.84w, 131-7/40.10, 2:17.99 [2321]);

15. Lauren Taubert (KsSt) 5500

(13.79, 5-7/1.70, 36-1¼/11.00, 24.83 [3360–14], 18-4½/5.60w, 93-6/28.50, 2:10.13 [2140]);

16. Erinn Beattie (UCD) 5478

(14.21, 5-9¼/1.76, 36-3½/11.06, 25.95 [3278–16], 18-8¾/5.71w, 108-0/32.92, 2:14.05 [2200]).

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