Jackie Poulson, a part of the Idaho State track and field program the past 12 years as a student-athlete and assistant coach, was killed Thursday night, the Pocatello school announced Friday.
She was the pride of our program, Idaho State head track and field coach Dave Nielsen said. She was like daughter to me. This is so untimely and tragic that I just dont know what else to say.
The Idaho State Journal reported that Poulson, 31, Michael Lance Hicks, 41, and Preston Keith Tarpley, 49, all of the Blackfoot area, died in an irrigation canal. A dog also died.
A news release from the Bingham County Sheriff said Poulson apparently entered the canal to get her dog when the two of them were electrocuted by a shorted out irrigation pump. At some point, Hicks and Tarpley entered the canal in an attempt to rescue Poulson and they too were electrocuted.
Poulson was going into her ninth year as an assistant coach where she assisted Nielsen in training multi-event athletes. Poulson was a two-time All-American and Big Sky champion in the heptathlon. She also served as the recruiting coordinator for the track and field team. She holds Idaho State records in the 400-meter hurdles.
She was a participant in the Olympic Trials in 2004 and has competed in the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and Italy. She also competed in the 2008 Olympic Trials taking eighth in the heptathlon.
Poulson is from American Falls, where she attended American Falls High. She earned her bachelors degree in mass communication from Idaho State in 2003, and was working on her masters in health education and getting her teachers certificate.
Jackie Poulson influenced the lives of so many of our student-athletes in such a positive manner, Idaho State Athletic Director Jeff Tingey said. She was a true Bengal and an example to us all.