Track and Field Hosts 23rd Annual Sun Angel Classic Saturday
April 9, 2002
This Week --
Arizona State track and field closes out its home schedule with the 23rd Annual Sun Angel Classic at Sun Angel Stadium, Saturday, April 13. Field events are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by running events at 4:30 p.m. PT. Scheduled to compete are some of the nation's top collegiate teams and athletes. This year's meet honoree is former ASU distance standout Chuck LaBenz, the first Sun Devil to break the four-minute mile barrier. Prior to the Sun Angel Classic, Saturday, ASU will also have athletes competing in the Mesa Classic at Riggs Stadium at Mesa Community College, Friday, April 12. Field events begin at 3 p.m., while running events follow at 5 p.m.
23rd Annual Sun Angel Classic --
The 2002 edition of the Sun Angel Classic will feature both collegiate and high school competition, welcoming athletes from some of the nation's top track and field programs. Among those schools joining ASU on the track will be Alabama (men), Arizona, Auburn, Colorado State, Florida, Louisiana State and USC. Ranked in the Trackwire 25 are USC (No. 1 women -- the defending NCAA outdoor champions, No. 17 men), LSU (No. 2 men and women), Auburn (No. 15 men, No. 18 women), Alabama (No. 12 men), Arizona (No. 13 women), Florida (No. 14 women, No. 21 men) and Arizona State (No. 21 women). The Tempe Relays, held Friday, April 12, will serve as the qualifying meet for the high school teams and individuals competing at Saturday's Sun Angel Classic. Prep athletes (both boys and girls) will compete in the 100m, the 1600m, the 4x100m, 4x400m and 4x800m races. Chuck LaBenz, ASU distance runner from 1967-70 is this year's Sun Angel Classic Meet honoree. Arizona head coach Dave Murray will also be honored. Murray, the coach of the Wildcat track and field program for 35 years, is retiring at the end of the 2002 season and Saturday's meet marks his last at Sun Angel Stadium. Results for the Sun Angel Classic will be available at www.thesundevils.com following the meet.
Sun Angel Participants --
ASU's top athletes competing at the Sun Angel Classic include All-American Lisa Aguilera (1500m), Brandon Strong (1500m), Juan Reyes (3000m), All-American David Wood (shot put/discus), Jodi Smith (high jump), Joni Smith (400m), Candida Coulson (400m hurdles), All-American Tiffany Greer (long jump/200m) and Trevell Quinley (long jump). Also included among this weekend's field are nine 2002 NCAA indoor champions and six 2001 NCAA outdoor champions: Angela Williams, USC (three-time NCAA 100m champion and 2002 NCAA 60m champ.), Muna Lee, LSU (2002 NCAA indoor 200m), Marian Barnett, LSU ('02 indoor 800m), Elva Goulbourne, Auburn ('02 indoor long jump), Nicole Toney, LSU ('02 indoor triple jump), Candice Scott, Florida ('02 indoor weight throw), Alleyne Francique, LSU ('02 indoor 400m), Ron Bramlett, Alabama ('01 outdoor 110m hurdles and '02 indoor 60m hurdles), Walter Davis, LSU ('01 outdoor and '02 indoor triple jump), Brianna Glenn, Arizona ('01 outdoor 200m) and Inga Stasiulionyte, USC ('01 javelin). Former Sun Devil Olympian Dwight Phillips will also be competing in the long jump and the 100m.
National Rankings --
The ASU women moved up from 25th to 21st in the latest Trackwire 25 released April 9. The women are in a four-way tie with Georgetown, Ohio State and North Carolina State with 13 points. ASU's men have not been ranked in the first two polls of the season. Trackwire's 25 is based on predictions for team standings at the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships hosted by Louisiana State in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, May 29, through Saturday, June 1.
Last Time On The Track --
ASU had five distance runners at the Stanford Invitational March 29-30, while the rest of the squad remained at home for the ASU Invitational, March 30. At Stanford, junior Fasil Bizuneh automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 10,000m, finishing fifth in a personal best 28:46.88 and improving upon his previous school record time. Earning provisional qualifying times and personal bests at Stanford were junior Brianna Torres in the women's 5,000m (sixth in 16:22.31) and redshirt freshman Juan Reyes in the men's 5,000m (12th in 13:57.52). Closer to home, junior Tiffany Greer won three individual events and was member to ASU's winning women's 4x100m relay team, leading the Sun Devils at the ASU Invitational. Greer won the long jump with a NCAA provisional qualifying leap of 20 feet, 7.75 inches, and also finished first in the 100m (11.61) and the 200m (23.88). The women's 4x100m team of freshman Porchea Carroll, Greer, freshman Cassandra Reed and junior Joni Smith clocked a provisional qualifying time of 45.07. As a team, the Sun Devils came away with 15 meet titles and 27 Pac-10 qualifying efforts, competing mainly against athletes from Oregon, Air Force and Colorado.
Sun Angel Honoree Chuck LaBenz --
Arizona State University is proud to recognize former distance standout Chuck LaBenz, who competed as a Sun Devil from 1967-70, as this year's meet honoree. LaBenz still holds ASU outdoor records in the 1500m (3:40.7) and the mile (3:56.9), both set in 1970. He was the first Sun Devil to break the four-minute barrier in the mile with his 1970 effort. LaBenz was the only ASU athlete to accomplish that feat until current senior Brandon Strong did so indoors this season. Strong clocked a time of 3:59.59 at the Husky Last Chance Qualifier in Seattle, Wash., March 2. Appropriately enough, Strong will be presenting LaBenz his award at the Sun Angel Classic.
NCAA Qualifiers --
ASU has turned in one NCAA automatic and seven provisional qualifying performances going into this weekend's meets. Junior Fasil Bizuneh leads the pack, ranking fourth in the nation in the 10,000m with an automatic qualifying time of 28:46.88. Junior Tiffany Greer, looking to continue her streak of five-straight All-America honors in the long jump, ranks fourth in the nation with her season best of 20 feet, 7.75 inches, a provisional qualifying mark. Junior Brianna Torres also holds a top-five ranking with her provisional time of 16:22.31 in the 5,000m, fifth-best in the nation. Additional qualifers for ASU include redshirt freshman Juan Reyes in the 5,000m (13:57.52, eighth), senior Candida Coulson in the 400m hurdles (58.80, 15th), women's 4x100m relay team (45.07, 18th) junior Vince Mosca in the shot put (59-0.75, 19th) and sophomore Sandy Orsund in the discus (164-0, 27th).
About The Sun Devil Coaches --
Greg Kraft is in his sixth year at the helm of the Arizona State track and field program. His tenure has produced 28 All-Americans, six All-American relay teams, 14 individual Pac-10 titles, five individual NCAA runner-up finishes and 29 first or second-team Pac-10 All-Academic selections. Kraft came to ASU in 1996 after serving as the head track and field coach at the University of South Carolina from 1989 to 1996. Kraft is assisted by distance coach Walt Drenth (sixth year), sprints and hurdles coach Darryl Anderson (sixth year), throws coach David Dumble (first year) and graduate assistant Louie Quintana (first year).
Up Next --
Next weekend the Sun Devils will compete at the Mt. Sac Relays, Friday, April 19, through Sunday, April 21, in Walnut, Calif.