Pedergist wins crown despite error


PHILADELPHIA -- Despite mismeasuring his release point in the javelin -- a blunder that cost him 10 feet -- Mount St. Mary's Rob Pendergist won the college men's decathlon last night at the Penn Relays, rallying in the 1,500 meters to upset defending champion David Cook of Villanova.

Pendergist compiled 7,549 points to Cook's 7,492. Both scores represent provisional qualifiers for June's NCAA outdoor championships.

Pendergist's gaffe in the javelin dropped him to second place in the overall standings going into the 1,500 -- the final event -- and meant he had to better Cook's time by seven seconds to win the meet.

Pendergist placed third, yet he beat Cook's time by 14 seconds with a 4:21.34 clocking, his best this season.

"You have to dig down deep and get into a zone for that last event," said Pendergist, a graduate student. "You saw me look back at Cook [on the last lap], which you're not supposed to do. I had to know if he was fatigued and then lay the hammer down."

Cook, a redshirt junior, was running straight up -- a sign he was tired.

"I had breath left, but my legs weren't moving," Cook said.

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