ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Erica Bougard won her second straight pentathlon title Friday on the opening day of the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships.
Bougard had a five-event total of 4,760 points to edge Kendell Williams by 252 points. The winner fell short of Sharon Day-Monroe’s U.S. record of 4,805 set in Albuquerque in 2014.
”I definitely came here and my goal was to beat the American record,” Bougard said. ”I came close but I didn’t quite get there because my long jump (20 feet, 4 inches) didn’t quite go as planned. Everything else I set a goal for myself and I passed my goals. I wanted to do that in all my events so when I got to the 800, I wouldn’t have to be all out.”
She finished the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 13.77 seconds – needing 2:10 to break Day Monroe’s mark.
”For everything else, I had three PBs (personal bests in the hurdles, high jump and shot put), which is great,” Bougard said. ”So I’m looking at it as a win even though I didn’t break the record. I didn’t break the goal I set, but it’s good.”
And besting training partner Williams was a satisfying feat.
”Kendell and I train together so we compete against each other every day in practice to get better,” Bougard said. ”When she came here I was super stoked about it because in college she would always beat me. In college she was always No. 1 and I wanted to know what that feels like so in practice I’m always going full force all the time just so I can keep up with her.”
Although the competition didn’t go as planned, Williams said it was good competing against Bougard again.
”We’ve been competing against each other for so long, ever since I was in my last year of high school, we were on a world junior team way back when,” Williams said. ”And then we were both in SEC (Williams at Georgia and Bougard at Mississippi State) a lot of times competing against each other. We both have similar strengths. It definitely is fun to be in practice and push each other in the blocks or high jump one after the other. We are very friendly with each other. We’re actually roommates at the training center.”
Williams’ brother, Devon Williams, also competed in the multis Friday, leading the heptathlon with 3,252 points, just ahead of Jeremy Taiwo at 3,216. The remaining events will be decided Saturday.
”I’m not really happy with my performance (Friday),” he said. ”I got off to a good start in the 60 meters, but after that most of the events were pretty average or below average. But I’m out here just having fun, nothing to lose. I’m just trying to win a national championship. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing to me now. However I get it done is how I get it done.”