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Herd's Jules in 5th at NCAAs

Jun. 06, 2013 @ 11:50 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Marshall University's Vanessa Jules sits in fifth place after day one of the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Jules compiled 3,527 points in the four events on day one and stayed among the leaders of the 24 competitors throughout with consistent efforts.

Marshall's record-breaking track and field standout started off strong by breaking the Herd's school record with 13.39 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles -- good enough for fifth place overall and 1,066 points.

Jules followed that by earning top honors in her flight in the high jump with a top mark of 1.75 meters. At the time, it moved her to third overall at the time.

In shot put, Jules finished 17th out of the 24 competitors with a top throw of 11.21 meters, but she did not falter much at the time, slipping only back to fourth place.

The final event of the day was the 200-meter dash and Jules finished in 24.47 seconds, which was eighth overall.

Arizona State's Keia Pinnick won the 200-meter dash with a 23.60 and jumped Jules to finish in fourth place with 3,530 on day one.

The overall leader after day one was Arkansas' Makeba Alcide, who finished with 3,685 points. Mississippi State's Erica Bougard (3,581 points) and Kansas' Lindsay Vollmer (3,569 points) were second and third respectively.

The heptathlon gets back underway at 12:30 p.m. p.m. on Friday with the long jump before ending with the javelin throw and 800-meter run.

Jules' record-breaking performance for Marshall came one day after teammate Crystal Walker recorded the school's highest finish ever in the long jump on Wednesday night.

Walker placed fifth with a school-record leap of 21-feet, 1/2-inch (6.41 meters).

She achieved All-American honors and topped the performance of Marshall's only other women's track All-American, Erin Compton, who had an eighth-place finish in the shot put in 2003.

"It feels awesome," Walker said. "My goal coming in to the meet was to make the finals. I was out there just enjoying myself."

Walker anticipates her teammate having similar success.

'"She (Jules) asked me 'Is the trophy heavy?' I said 'You're going to find out in a few days,'" Walker said.

Walker, a senior from Dallas, set the school record on her third jump to get into the finals. She fouled on two consecutive jumps in the finals before going 20-5 1/4 (6.23 meters) on her final attempt.

She finished .01 meters out of third place. Lorraine Ugen from TCU won with a mark of 22-feet, 2.5 inches (6.77 meters).

"I was prepared," Walker said. "I did have a good week of practice but overall when you get here it's not about who was ranked where, but if you show up that day.

"I just did what I knew I could do."

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