Outdoor Season Opens with Bill Sawyer Meet

March 3, 2005

Heat Sheets for the 2005 Bill Sawyer Invitational can be found here.

TEMPE, Ariz. - A mix of indoor and outdoor competitions await the Arizona State University track and field teams this weekend as members of the team will travel to one of three indoor last chance meets while the remainder of the team will remain in Tempe to open the outdoor season with the Bill Sawyer Invitational. All four meets will be conducted Saturday.

Saturday marks the first outdoor meet of the season for the Sun Devils as they are set to play host to the Bill Sawyer Invitational. The field events start at 8 a.m. with the women's hammer throw while the running events open at 11 a.m. with the women's 100m hurdles.

Several community colleges from around the state will be on hand, including Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Gateway, Yavapai and Phoenix. Individual entrants, including former Sun Devil athletes, also will be on hand to compete.

The indoor meets at Washington, Notre Dame and Iowa State mark the final time a student-athlete can attempt to qualify for or improve their standing in the NCAA order lists that determine the participants in the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, slated for March 10-12 in Fayetteville, Ark.

The indoor meet at Washington will play host to the pole vaulters and throwers on the Sun Devil roster while Iowa State will welcome the sprinters and jumpers. Notre Dame will see the mid-distance and distance runners come calling at its meet.

Last year, the men's 4x400m relay team of Jason Barton, Steve Fitch, Seth Amoo and Domenik Peterson tore up the track in Ames as the quartet recorded an NCAA indoor collegiate record by winning the event in 3:03.43. Barton, Amoo and Peterson return this season and, with the addition of Olympian Lewis Banda, the relay has a solid chance at perhaps bettering that mark.

Domenik Peterson has had a very productive indoor season so far in 2005. His time of 20.74 in the 200m dash is the ninth-fastest in the nation right now while his 400m time of 45.82 is the third-best among collegiate athletes. Both of those times have earned him an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships next weekend.

Peterson is not the only Sun Devil guaranteed a ticket to Fayetteville next weekend. On the women's side, Amy Hastings will represent ASU as she will compete in the 5,000m run. She currently sits eighth on the national list.

The women's pole vault for ASU this season has not only become a game of going-one-better between teammates Angela Tavlarides and Cara Walker, it also has turned the Sun Devil record book into a weekly changing tote board.

At the start of last season, no ASU woman had ever cleared 12-feet in competition. Enter Tavlarides who cleared the mark every meet she participated in, ending the season with the school record at 3.66m. This season, Walker transferred in from San Diego State and the bar has literally climbed to new heights each week.

In 2005, Tavlarides improved the record to 3.81m before Walker followed two weeks later with a clearance of 3.86m. Last weekend in Seattle, Tavlarides reclaimed the top spot by becoming the first Sun Devil woman to clear both 4-meters and 13-feet as she finished fourth in the meet at 4.03m (13-02.75). By clearing the record height, Tavlarides has provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time in her ASU career.

Amy Hastings made ASU history this fall as she became the first Sun Devil harrier, male or female, to win the Pac-10 individual cross country championship. She added to her historical attributes by breaking her own indoor 5,000m time last weekend in Seattle, finishing fourth in the race at 16:05.83.

Not only do several current members of the Sun Devil roster hold marks that place them among the best in the collegiate ranks, those same marks rank them among the best in the world.

For the men, Domenik Peterson sits eighth in the world at 20.74 in the 200m dash while Seth Amoo ranks 13th at 20.95. Jason Barton rounds out the men at 14th in the 400m dash at 46.58. For the women, Amy Hastings sits 11th in the 5,000m run at 16:05.83.

Currently on the roster but competing unattached this indoor season, Jessica Pressley's throw of 21.23m in the weight throw places her seventh in the world.

Last season, Seth Amoo helped the men's 4x400m relay set the NCAA collegiate national record in the indoor version of the race as he and his teammates clocked a 3:03.43 at the Iowa State Last Chance meet. Last weekend, Amoo, the former school record holder in the 200m dash, set a national record on his own by finishing second in the 200m at the Holiday Inn Team Invitational in 20.95. The time made him the first representative of Ghana to run under 21 seconds, giving the senior the national record.

On Jan. 29, while the team was not competing, junior All-American and 2004 Olympian Lewis Banda returned to his native Zimbabwe where he was honored as the nation's Sportsman of the Year. Banda, the two-time defending Pac-10 champion at 400m, finished ninth at the Summer Olympiad after helping the Sun Devil men to a tie for 10th at the national meet and anchoring the 2004 NCAA runner-up 4x100m relay team.

The quartet of Kelvin Love, Jason Barton, Seth Amoo and Domenik Peterson won the 4x400m relay at the Mountain T Invitational two weeks ago in 3:06.96 to record the third-fastest time in ASU history.

Looking over the men's record book for the indoor season, several impressive things standout. One of those is the men's 4x400m relay of Jason Barton, Steve Fitch, Seth Amoo and Domenik Peterson, who stand No. 1 on the lists with a collegiate record 3:03.43. Looking at all five of the top times for the relay event, one name keeps appearing: Jason Barton. In his four years in Tempe, Barton has helped his teammates record the fastest times around while securing All-America honors and conference championships.

At the shorter indoor sprints, Porchea Carroll and Kandace Tucker are making sure to scribe their names in the ASU record books as each holds a position in the Top 5 on both the 60m dash and the 200m dash. In the short sprint, Carroll is tied for the school record (7.39) while Tucker sits fourth overall. The 200m event sees Tucker in second while Carroll is third. Both of their 200m times were recorded last weekend at the Mountain T Invite.

Two freshmen men have added their names to the Top 5 lists following two meets with Marquis Profit ranking fourth in the 60m hurdles and Kelvin Love ranking third in the 200m dash. Both men attained their Top 5 marks at the Mountain T Invite.

The men's 200m dash record section looks almost like a shortened version of the team roster as all five ranks are currently occupied by student-athletes on the 2005 team roster. Domenik Peterson leads the group at 20.57 set last year while finishing fourth at the NCAA meet.

Seth Amoo (20.95) and Lewis Banda (21.19) are second and fourth, respectively. The marks by Amoo and Banda are the oldest on the current list as both were achieved in the 2003 season.

The remaining two marks were both attained in Flagstaff two weeks ago with Kelvin Love (21.15) and Steven Koehnemann (21.24) sitting third and fifth, respectively.

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.

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.

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.

The 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships are on deck for the Sun Devils and will be conducted March 10-12 in Fayetteville, Ark. The University of Arkansas will serve as host.

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