Aberdeenshire athlete Alix Still was in commanding form when competing in her first heptathlon for almost four years in the Virginia Challenge meeting at Lannigan Field, Charlottesville.
The US-based 21-year-old Kemnay woman, who is a student at the University of Virginia, scored a personal best of 5,371 points to win the two-day competition.
The result lifts Still from 20th to seventh on the Scottish all-time best performers list, which is headed by Jayne Barnetson (Inverness Harriers), who holds the national record of 5,803 set when representing Great Britain in an international match in Kiev 32 years ago.
Still is the first athlete to break into the top-10 for almost 18 years and, with age on her side, she can look forward to progressing further up the standings in the years ahead.
She ended the first day of the Virginia competition in second position behind Lithuanian athlete Beatrice Juskeviciute after winning the 100m hurdles in a wind-assisted PB of 13.93secs and taking top spot in the high jump with a clearance of 1.64.
She also placed fifth in the shot put with a throw of 10.84.
The north-east athlete surged into the lead on day two with another series of fine performances.
She won the long jump, clearing 5.78, then set a PB of 32.03m for third position in the javelin before finishing off with another PB in the 800m race, in which she led home the field in 2:18.18.
Despite her success, Still believes she’s capable of much better before the end of the season.
She said: “It’s not the score I was looking for, but I have a lot of room for improvement.
“I didn’t feel on top of my game, which was hard for me as I’ve been feeling great in training and my competitions have been going well too.”
Still hopes to have another couple of pentathlon competitions before the end of the American college campaign.
She has the Atlantic Conference Championships at Raleigh, North Carolina, from May 13-15. If all goes well and she achieves a top 16 placing in the US student rankings, she’ll progress to the National Collegiate Championships at Eugene, Oregon, on June 9-12.
Meanwhile, George Evans (Inverness Harriers) extended his personal best for the hammer to 56.72m when competing in the Michael Johnson invitational meeting at Waco, Texas.
The Kansas University student, who is more of a shot and discus specialist, threw 56.72 to improve on the 55.24 he achieved at Columbia, Missouri, earlier in the month.
Another Inverness Harriers club member –discus thrower Kirsty Law, – continued her fine start to the outdoor season when competing much closer to home.
The two-time British champion scored an emphatic victory in the Loughborough open meeting when clearing 57.30.
This was her second best throw of the year behind the PB 58.82 set at Stretford a fortnight ago.