Sun Devil Track & Field Opens 2005 Saturday

Jan. 18, 2005

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TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University track and field teams open the 2005 indoor season this weekend as the Sun Devils travel north to Flagstaff for the annual Double Dual with Arizona and Northern Arizona. The meet is set for Saturday inside of NAU's JL Walkup Skydome.

  The scored team meet will feature three teams, all hailing from the Grand Canyon State. Arizona State, Arizona and Northern Arizona will each field men's and women's teams for the annual intrastate battle for bragging rites.

  For the second year in a row, both the Sun Devil men and women swept their in-state rivals in the meet held Jan. 31, 2004. The women handed Arizona a 133.5-108 defeat while also downing Northern Arizona, 133.5-62.5. On the men's side, ASU defeated UA, 121-103, and NAU, 121-84.

  Each year since 1990 (1991 for the women), the Sun Devils, Wildcats and Lumberjacks have met in Flagstaff for the indoor version of the Double Dual. On the men's side, Arizona State leads the series with Arizona, 8-7-0, but trail Northern Arizona, 6-8-1. The women lead the all-time standings with NAU, 11-4-0, but trail UA in a series of streaks, 5-9-0. The Sun Devil women won the first three duals before the Wildcats won eight in a row. After an ASU win in 2000, the Wildcats took two in a row before the Sun Devils captured the last two.

AMONG THE TOP IN THE NATION released its first rankings of the 2005 indoor season Jan. 11 with both the Sun Devil men and women garnering a place among the Top 25 in the nation. On the men's side, Arizona State is ranked 11th while its opponents this weekend, Arizona and Northern Arizona, sit 15th and unranked, respectively. The Sun Devil women also enter the season ranked 11th with UA sitting 17th and NAU tied for 24th.

  Arizona State was represented by one current and two former student-athletes at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Lewis Banda, who is the lone current runner, competed for Zimbabwe in the 400m dash and finished in ninth place, one spot shy of making the finals on the largest stage of athletics.

  Although Banda fared well, one former athlete stole the spotlight. Dwight Phillips, the world leader in the long jump for the entire year, did not disappoint as he won the gold medal on his first jump of the competition. His win was the 10th gold medal won by a Sun Devil track and field athlete and also marked the third Summer Olympiad in a row that a former ASU standout returned home with gold after Nick Hysong won the pole vault in 2000 and Maicel Malone helped the 4x400m relay win in Atlanta in 1996.

  The final 2004 Olympian with ASU ties was Michael Campbell. Representing Jamaica, Campbell ran in the 4x400m relay, but his team was disqualified in the first round of competition.

  No Sun Devil had brought home a nation title since 1996. No woman had done so since 1992. That all changed when true freshman Jacquelyn Johnson went to Austin, Texas, and won the NCAA heptathlon crown. Johnson showed why she was touted as one of the premier athletes in the nation as she finished first at the outdoor national meet in the heptathlon, second in the national indoor pentathlon and added conference championships in both the heptathlon and the high jump. Johnson will not compete during the indoor season this year as she also plays for Charlie Turner Thorne and the Sun Devil women's basketball team.

  Including the 2004 cross country season, the Sun Devil track and field program will see 11 of its student-athletes return to the track this season following a 2004 season in which they collectively earned 13 All-America honors.

  On the indoor track, the entire men's 4x400m relay of Seth Amoo, Lewis Banda, Jason Barton and Domenik Peterson, as well individual awards from Barton (400m) and Peterson (200m), return to the lineup while the women bring back Amy Hastings (5,000m) and Jacquelyn Johnson (pentathlon), although Johnson will redshirt the indoor season.

  Outdoors, Amoo, Banda, Barton, Peterson and Steven Koehnemann each return following a stellar spring that saw awards earned in both relays, as well as individual awards from Banda and Barton, both in the 400m. The women's 4x400m relay returns, minus one runner. Christina Hardeman, Cassandra Reed and Kandace Tucker were members of the relay while the third leg, Marcia Smith, graduated. Johnson also returns after garnering the national honor in the heptathlon.

  A trio of cross country runners with All-America honors return to the track this year, including two-time award honoree Hastings. She is joined by Desiree Davila and Aaron Aguayo.

  The Sun Devil coaching staff saw several changes during the offseason with two brand new and one not-so-new coach being added to the roster. The 'not-so-new' coach is Louie Quintana. Hired to replace Walt Drenth, who left for Michigan State, Quintana will oversee the mid-distance and distance runners while also serving as the head coach of the cross country program. Quintana has been with the program for three years already, one as an assistant, one as a graduate student and one as a volunteer assistant coach.

  The two new additions to the roster are Dion Miller and Terry Winston. Miller, coming to Tempe from Washington, will oversee the women's sprinters, relays and hurdlers while Winston will over the same on the men's side after moving on from Virginia Tech. Both men will take over for Darryl Anderson, who left to assume the duties of head coach at TCU.

  Amy Hastings accomplished a feat that no other Sun Devil cross country student-athlete, male or female, had in school history: win a conference title. Hastings led the women to a runner-up team finish as she won the Pac-10 championship crown, and earning the first conference gold of any kind for the program as neither the men nor women have won a team title either.

  The cross country team put together its finest season in school history this past fall, culminating with the men finishing eighth and the women ninth at the NCAA Championships. Amy Hastings and Aaron Aguayo led the charge at nationals as both earned All-America honors.

  The final meet of the 2004 season was the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held June 9-11, in Austin, Texas. A total of 18 student-athletes (eight men and 10 women) represented the Sun Devils with the men totaling 22 points to finish tied for 10th place while the women accumulated 12 points to end the season 22nd.

  On the women's side, Jacquelyn Johnson led the way by winning the heptathlon national title, becoming the first Sun Devil since 1996 to claim an individual NCAA crown. Marcia Smith, Kandace Tucker, Cassandra Reed and Christina Hardeman combined to finish seventh in the finals of the 4x400m relay to earn All-American accolades. Rounding out the women's participants were the 4x100m relay of Porchea Carroll, Reed, Smith and Tucker, Desiree Davila (5,000m), Amy Hastings (3K steeple), Sandra Orsund (discus), Julia Pedersen (shot put and discus), Reed (400m) and Tucker (200m).

  Lewis Banda led the men's charge as he earned All-America status in the 400m dash (fourth place), 4x100m relay (second place) and the 4x400m relay (fourth place). The 4x100m relay team of Banda, Seth Amoo, Steven Koehnemann and Domenik Peterson turned a lot of heads as the quartet nearly chased down Florida State, finishing a close second to the Seminoles to earn All-America honors. Aaron Aguayo (3K steeple), Joshua Kinnaman (decathlon) and Trevell Quinley (long jump) also represented the men.

  Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium became the home of the Sun Devils at the open of the 1976 season. In the 28 years the track has been open, it has played host to seven conference championship meets and, on April 16, will welcome athletes to the 26th annual Sun Angel Classic presented by Coca-Cola.

  A pair of two-day indoor meets await the Sun Devils next weekend. Many of the team's members will head to Boise, Idaho, for the Invitational for the two-day event running Jan. 27-28. Several individuals will make a return trip to Flagstaff Jan. 28-29 for the NAU Multi-Events meet (pentathlon and heptathlon).

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