AUSTIN, Texas - Arizona State freshman Jacquelyn Johnson used a burst of energy down the stretch of the 800 meters to win the heptathlon Thursday at the NCAA track and field championships.
The 19-year-old from Yuma, Ariz., edged defending champion Hyleas Fountain of Georgia, who held a slim lead going into the 800, the last of the heptathlon's seven events.
Johnson finished with 5,807 points, 204 more than her previous best. She had personal bests in the 100-meter hurdles, javelin and 800. Fountain, bothered by a sore right hamstring, was second with 5,785.
Johnson is the first freshman to win the event since Sheila Tarr of UNLV in 1984.
With the 800 remaining, Fountain led Johnson by 21 points. Johnson had to beat Fountain by 2.4 seconds to win. She finished in 2 minutes, 19.60 seconds - 3.22 seconds ahead of Fountain's 2:22.82.
The freshman's winning surge began as she completed her final turn.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't know how far she was behind me," Johnson said, "but I just knew I had to go, so I just went. I got that last bit of energy. I was like 'I'm almost done. Let's just get out there. You're gonna hurt, so just hurt.' "
In the women's 100-meter preliminaries, Lauryn Williams of Miami won her heat in a wind-aided 10.94 seconds, the fastest time under any conditions in the world this year.
In the men's 100, Marc Burns of Auburn led all qualifiers with a wind-aided 9.99 seconds. Tyson Gay of Arkansas won his heat in a wind-aided 10.01.
The games committee rejected an appeal to the disqualification of the Texas women's 400-meter relay team for using an improper exchange zone marker while winning its heat Wednesday.
With Texas out, UCLA moved on to the finals.
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