NCAA Track & Field Championships on Tap for ASU
June 6, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. - The final weekend of competition has arrived for the Arizona State track and field teams with its annual trip to the NCAA Championships, this year at Sacramento, Calif., June 11-14. California State at Sacramento will serve as the hosts for the national meet that will feature nine men and 11 women's entrants.
IN THE STARTING BLOCKS
Following a week off as well as the first NCAA regional championship meets ever contested, nine men and 10 women will compete for All-America honors. The men will participate in seven events with three entrants in the 400m dash while the women will battle for national honors in nine events with multiple entrants in both the 400m dash and the 5,000m run. The men are entered in the 4x400m relay while the women will run in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
IN THE RANKINGS
In the latest national rankings, the Sun Devil women find themselves a part of three polls while the men are apart of two. In the Trackshark.com rankings, the June 2 release has the women at 18th while the men are not ranked (as of May 20). The women are tied for 20th and the men tied for 17th by Trackwire.com while the teams stand 32nd and 24th, respectively, in the power rankings.
ENTERING ON TOP, LEAVING ...
Two Sun Devil entries come into the national meet with the fastest time this year. Lisa Aguilera, who set the school and conference record with her west-region-winning time of 9:46.30 in the 3,000m steeplechase, enters the meet at No. 1.
On the men's side, the 4x400m relay team of Seth Amoo, Lewis Banda, Jason Barton and Steve Fitch, enter the meet with the fastest time in the nation. Their mark of 3:02.81 was recorded in the finals of the Drake Relays as the Sun Devil quartet edged Baylor at the line by 0.01.
CLOSE TO HISTORY
With another stellar performance at the NCAA West Region Championships last weekend, Lisa Aguilera put herself in position to not only win her first national championship, but to break more records.
On May 5, Aguilera completed the 3,000m steeplechase race at home in 9:51.65 to set the Sun Angel Stadium, Arizona State and Pac-10 records. Her time also was the fastest in the nation at the time. At the regional meet, she bettered her time to win the regional title as she crossed the tape at 9:46.30. Aguilera's new time is 3.06 seconds off the current collegiate record and 4.36 off the American mark.
In the past month, two Sun Devils have put themselves onto the top of the awards podium with their performances at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Region Championships.
Tiffany Greer, the conference and West long jump champion, and Lisa Aguilera, the champ in the 3,000m steeplechase, could sweep the awards for their respective events with wins this weekend at the NCAA Championships.
All-America accolades are at stake this weekend as the Top 8 finishers in each event will earn the highly coveted honor. Heading into the meet, four Sun Devils bring in times/marks placing them in the Top 8, a place they would like to remain.
Several ASU student-athletes are on the outside looking in at the Top 8 and will have to step up their performances to score for the team. In the men's rankings, Vince Mosca is No. 10 in the shot put, Lewis Banda is No. 11 in the 400m dash and Fasil Bizuneh is No. 13 in the 10,000m run.
On the women's side, the 4x100m relay (Porchea Carroll, Tiffany Greer, Cassandra Reed, Kandace Tucker) is No. 11, the 4x400m relay (Reed, Tucker, Seneca Holmes, Joni Smith) stands at No. 12 and Reed is No. 15 in the 400m dash.
THEY ARE YOUR CHAMPIONS
For the first time in NCAA history, a regional championship meet was run at four locations with student-athletes needing to place in the Top 5 (individually) or Top 3 (relays) to advance to the national meet. In four events, the Sun Devils were able to lay claim to the first title offered.
For the women, Lisa Aguilera captured the first 3,000m steeplechase race while Tiffany Greer brought home gold in the long jump. The women's 4x100m relay team also won their race. On the men's side, Jason Barton took home the title in the 400m dash.
The first regional team titles went to UCLA for both the men and women while the Sun Devils took home sixth and fourth, respectively. In the men's race, the Bruins totaled 101 points to edge USC (92) for the title. Oregon (71), Stanford (69), BYU (67) and ASU (45) rounded out the Top 6.
The Bruin women ran away with the crown, accumulating 138 points with second place Stanford totaling 77. USC (76), ASU (55) and Oregon (48.5) rounding out the Top 5.
The Sun Devil men and women both put forth strong showings in the 400m events at the Pac-10 Championships over the weekend. In the open dash, Cassandra Reed and Lewis Banda won the women's and men's races, respectively, while teammates Joni Smith and Seth Amoo finished second, respectively.
In the 4x400m relay, the women placed second with a season best mark of 3:35.23 as Stanford held on to the close win while the men's team won the event for the third year in a row and remained undefeated this year.
DOMINANCE, PART II
Arizona State also continued its dominance in another event at the conference championships with Lisa Aguilera winning the 3,000m steeplechase event. The race has been contested just three times in Pac-10 history with a Sun Devil winning the event all three times. Kelly MacDonald captured the first title in 2001 with Aguilera taking home gold in the last two races, including this year.
THREE IN A ROW!
Owners of the top time in the nation this year, the Arizona State men's 4x400m relay team won the event at the Pac-10 Championships for the third year in a row. The quartet of Jason Barton, Seth Amoo, Steve Fitch and Lewis Banda claimed the title to join the UCLA relays of 1987-89 as the only relays to win the race three year in a row.
In the final standings of the 2003 Pac-10 Championship meet, the Sun Devil women placed third with the men securing fifth overall. On the women's side, UCLA took the team title with 155 points followed by Stanford (140) and ASU (109). The point total was the highest in program history for the women.
In the men's race, USC won the title at its home facility with 139 points to ease past Stanford (128), Oregon (127), UCLA (123) and ASU (82).
HIGH POINTS AND HIGH PRAISE
Since the start of Pac-10 competition for the ASU men (1979) and women (1987), one or two members of each team has posted more points than any of their teammates in the conference meet. Following some research, it was discovered that Dwight Phillips (26 points in 1999) and Maicel Malone (25 points in 1988) recorded the most points to earn Arizona State's Pac-10 Championship High Point Award. Each year, the track and field program will honor the high point winners on the team following the competition. This year, one woman and two men earned the team accolade for their performances in Los Angeles.
For the women, Tiffany Greer posted 16 points to take the honor for the second time in her career and in a row. Greer totaled 10 points for her win in the long jump, four for fifth place in the 100m dash and two for seventh in the 200m dash.
On the men's side, Lewis Banda and Seth Amoo each scored 20 points, or nearly half of the team's points combined (40 of 89), to earn the award. Banda, a true freshmen, earned 10 points for winning the 400m dash, six for being third in the 200m, 2.5 for combining to win the 4x400m relay and 1.5 for third in the 4x100m relay. Amoo, who also earned the same amount of points in the relays as Banda, earned points with runner-up finishes in both the 200m and 400m (eight each). The 20 points ties for the second-most in program history for the men.
IT'S A RECORD, AGAIN
Lisa Aguilera already set one school record earlier this year and figured she would go out in style with another added to her credentials at the annual Double Dual meet. Also the final home competition of her collegiate career, Aguilera ran a blazing 9:51.65 in the 3,000m steeplechase to set Pac-10 and Arizona State records while establishing the new standard for Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium. Her time also is the fastest in the nation both collegiately and post-collegiately and ranks as the third-fastest time by an American all-time.
The second record came two weeks earlier at the Mt. SAC Relays with Aguilera clocking a 15:53.28 to place 16th in a tough field of competitors consisting of both collegiate and professional athletes.
One similarity among the two records was both were formerly held by Kelly MacDonald, Aguilera's teammate. Another common thread, Aguilera broke both of MacDonald's times at the same venues she had previously set the standards.
For breaking the school and conference record, Lisa Aguilera was honored as the Pac-10 Female Runner of the Week for the week ending May 4. It was the first honor for any ASU track or field athlete in 2003.
Aguilera also learned Thursday that she has been selected by Arizona State as its female recipient of the Pac-10 Medal of Honor, bestowed annually to one male and one female student-athlete at each of the conference's member institutions. The honor marks the second year in a row that a female track athlete has earned the honor as Kelly MacDonald earned the distinction last year for the Sun Devils.
DISTANCE STEPPING UP
With the addition of Lisa Aguilera's school records in the women's 5,000m run and 3,000m steeplechase, three top marks have been recorded in distance events this year. Fasil Bizuneh rewrote his own top time in the men's 10,000m run at the end of March to notch the third record for ASU.
LAST TIME: NCAA WEST REGION
The Sun Devil women had a stellar meet with three victories on the way to a fourth-place finish at the first NCAA West Region Championships. The men, bolstered by one victory, finished the two-day meet in sixth place.
Victorious for the women were Tiffany Greer in the long jump, Lisa Aguilera in the 3,000m steeplechase and the quartet of Porchea Carroll, Greer, Cassandra Reed and Kandace Tucker in the 4x100m relay. Jason Barton was the lone male to win a title as he captured the 400m dash.
On the women's side, Greer, Aguilera, the 4x100m relay, Desiree Davila (5,000m), Sandra Orsund (discus) and Reed (400m) all earned automatic spots into the NCAA Championships. For the men, Barton, Seth Amoo (400m), Vince Mosca (shot put), Ryan Zimmerman (triple jump), Luiz Mello (100m dash), Jeff Dodge (800m) and the 4x400m relay team of Barton, Amoo, Steve Fitch and Dodge all punched their tickets to the national meet.
At the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, one individual and one relay team brought home All-American honors by placing among the Top 8 in the national meet.
Individually, Lisa Aguilera placed seventh in the 3,000m run in 9:18.80 to earn two team points for the women's team and tying them for 43rd overall.
On the men's side, the 4x400m relay team of Seth Amoo, Lewis Banda, Jason Barton and Steve Fitch combined to finish fifth in the nation with a time of 3:07.41. The team remained undefeated on the year by winning their heat, though they took fifth overall because the four teams in the final heat finished with better times.
IT'S A RECORD - PART TWO
Seth Amoo ran his first 200m race of the year at the Double Dual (Feb. 14) and used that performance to not only win the race and earn a provisional qualification time, he also reset his school record in the indoor event. Crossing the line at 21.01, Amoo bettered his previous mark of 21.19 that he established last year. Lewis Banda, who took third in the race, finished in a time of 21.19, tying the previous mark and moving into second on the all-time list.
HEAD COACH Greg Kraft
Greg Kraft is in his seventh year at the helm of the Sun Devil men's and women's track and field program. In his tenure in Tempe, including the 2003 season, 15 men and 20 women have garnered All-America honors, as well as one women's and seven men's relay teams. Ten men and 10 women's individual Pac-10 titles have been won, with four men's relays added to the mix. The most recent additions to the conference list includes Tiffany Greer, Lisa Aguilera, Lewis Banda and the men's 4x400m relay team. He also has overseen the cross country program in which two men and four women's All-American honors were achieved.