MOSCOW — Former Cal Poly star Sharon Day was the women’s heptathlon favorite entering the track and field world championships.
One bad showing in the long jump Tuesday, however, not only took away Day’s chances to win but any chance at a top-three finish and a medal.
Day finished sixth with 6,407 points after completing the final three events of the two-day, seven-event competition Tuesday.
Day’s score was her second-best heptathlon total ever and her sixth-place finish was the first time she was in the top 10 at a world championships or Olympic games.
But expectations were much higher as well.
Day entered the competition riding a PR performance of 6,550 points at the U.S. national meet in June. That was the second-best score in the world this year, and the best score of anyone competing in Moscow.
Day was in third place after Monday’s first day.
In Tuesday’s first event, the long jump, Day had a best of 19 feet to score 786 points. That placed her 25th in the event, and most of the top competitors jumped 20 feet or better, gaining 100 or more points on Day.
“It’s definitely a roller coaster ride,” Day said in a USA Track and Field news release. “There are lots of ups, lots of downs, and you hope there are more ups than downs, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.
“I kind of knew that I kind of flushed my score down the toilet with my long jump. It was really unfortunate, but I had a great javelin and I PRed by three seconds in the 800, so I can’t complain there. It just makes me hungrier for two years from now.”
Day had a PR of 154-8 in the javelin and 2 minutes, 8.94 seconds in the 800, but that wasn’t enough to get her back on track after the long jump.
Ukraine’s Ganna Melnichenko won the heptathlon with 6,586 points, 56 better than Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton, whose husband of one month, Ashton Eaton, captured decathlon gold two days earlier. He also won the Olympic title in London.
Both Eatons are coached by former Atascadero resident Harry Marra.
“I’ve always watched (my husband) get his medals and think, ‘I wonder what that feels like?’ ” said Theisen Eaton. “Now I’m getting a little taste of it.”
Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands was third (6,477), Germany’s Claudia Rath (6,462) was fourth and Great Britain’s Kataria Johnson-Thompson was fifth (6,449).