Brooks-Johnson earns All-America honors; finishing 6th in heptat - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Brooks-Johnson earns All-America honors; finishing 6th in heptathlon at NCAA Track & Field Championships

EUGENE, Ore. -- Washington State’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson overcame a strong national field and deplorable weather conditions to capture sixth place in the heptathlon Saturday at the NCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.

Brooks-Johnson, a redshirt junior from Doty, Wash., and two-time Pac-12 Champion, ended the first day’s four events in 12th position with 3,251 points. Saturday she had solid performances in the final three events to score a season-best 5,658 points and claim a scoring position and All-America honors. Georgia’s Kendell Williams won with 6,265 points.

Brooks-Johnson fouled her first and third long jump attempts but soared to a lifetime-best distance of 19-feet 2 1/2 inches (5.85m) on her second attempt which allotted her 804 points and moved her up to ninth-place.

In the javelin, which was halted briefly when the driving rain turned to hail, Brooks-Johnson threw a season-best distance of 145-0 (44.21m) in her first attempt, just under her PR mark if 146-10 (44.75m). She followed up with a pair of solid throws of 142-5 and 139-0. She tallied 748 points to move up to sixth place in the heptathlon standings.

Three hours later, in the best weather conditions of all seven heptathlon events, Brooks-Johnson showed her strength with an 800-meters time of 2 minutes 17.70 seconds, seventh-fastest of the remaining 18 competitors, to ensure her sixth-place scoring standing and All-America honor.

“My first day I was having a hard time getting things going, the weather was against us from the start but I stayed motivated and my events started coming along!” Brooks-Johnson said. “Day two I knew I had to start strong. I opened day two with a long jump PR and carried that momentum into javelin where I was close to a lifetime PR on my first throw. I moved into sixth after javelin and knew I was in contention to be first team All-America. The 800 has always been a strong event for me and I just went out and ran my race and battled all the way through the finish line.”

Brooks-Johnson, coming off a medical redshirt season in 2016, won the 2015 Pac-12 heptathlon title with a lifetime-best total of 5,803 points, which is fourth-best in WSU’s all-time records. She scored 5,638 points in winning the 2017 Pac-12 title. At the 2015 NCAA Championships she earned honorable mention All-America accolades with her 18th-place finish in the heptathlon and 23rd-place finish in the 400m hurdles.

“I have a lot to work on but that's something that will never end,” Brooks-Johnson said. “I'm excited with this year’s finish and I'm planning on using this momentum to go big next year. It's a bitter sweet moment because I'm proud of my effort but I know my potential, and I feel I am still far from it.”

With the sixth-place finish by Brooks-Johnson, the WSU women’s team gained three points and finished tied for 52nd in team standings. Oregon won the women’s team title.

“We had a very good meet with one first team All-American and two second team All-Americans’” Wayne Phipps, WSU’s Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, said. “CJ Allen and Brock Eager competed very well in what ended up being one of the most competitive 400m hurdles and hammer throw competitions, respectively, in the history of the NCAAs. CJ ran the fastest time ever not to make the final. Alissa was amazing. She was very sick last week and battled hard the entire two days. Conditions effected the overall point totals but the way Alissa competed was so impressive! We knew her second day was her best day of the two and she performed extremely well in all three second day events to move from 12th to sixth and only five points out of fifth.”

This concludes the 2016-17 collegiate track and field/cross country seasons for WSU but several Cougars alums are expected to compete in the USATF Outdoor Championships June 22-24 in Sacramento.

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