ASU Set to Host 28th Sun Angel Classic this Weekend
April 11, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University track and field program will compete in three different meets this weekend, including its third home meet of the season, with the first action slated to start Wednesday afternoon. ASU will play host to the 28th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola on Friday and Saturday this week inside Sun Angel Stadium will members of the team will also compete at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. (Wednesday through Friday) with others heading to the Mesa Classic (Friday).
The Trackwire.com Top 25 was released for the first time this outdoor season on Monday with the Sun Devils finding themselves highly regarded on both the women's and men's lists. Based upon projected individual/relay finishes at the NCAA Championships, the Trackwire rankings have the Arizona State women ranked No. 1 while their male counterparts enter the season ranked No. 7.
With the release of the Trackwire rankings, the Sun Devil women will look to go wire-to-wire as the top ranked team in the nation after doing so during the indoor season.
The USTFCCCA also recently released its first outdoor national team rankings of the season with both Sun Devil squads earning a place on the lists. As it did during the indoor season, the coaches' poll has the Arizona State women in the No. 1 position while the men are making their debut on the lists this season, coming in at No. 19.
Looking through the Trackwire team rankings, this weekend's Sun Angel Classic will feature several highly regarded teams competing against one another in Tempe. On the women's side, No. 1 Arizona State will face competitors from No. 2 LSU, No. 8 Aubrun, No. 19 Florida and No. 22 Colorado while the No. 7 Sun Devil men will face competition from No. 2 Auburn and No. 10 LSU. Other teams set to compete this weekend include Air Force, Alabama (men), Boise State, Central Arizona, Colorado State, Dartmouth (men), Minnesota (men), Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado (men).
Along with the teams slated to compete, several stellar unattached/post-collegiate are also entered into the meet this weekend. Some of those individuals include former Sun Devils Nick Hysong (2000 Olympic Gold Medalist in the pole vault), Seth Amoo (seven-time All-American), Lewis Banda (2004 Olympian for Zimbabwe) and Vince Mosca as well as Xavier Carter (former LSU sprinter that won four NCAA titles last year) and John Godina (U.S. Olympian in the shot put).
The 28th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola will be held on two days with the women's and men's hammer throw being contested Friday night starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday will begin at 1 p.m. with the pole vault with running events slated for 5 p.m.
The Sun Angel event, as usual, will have many more events contested than a normal Arizona State home meet and that is because nine events for the high school girls and nine events for the high school boys will be conducted on the track. Those running events will serve as the finals of the Tempe Wynn/Zucco Relays that will be held Thursday at near-by Tempe High School.
Hugh Morrison, a long-time track and field coach and official in the Valley of the Sun, has been selected as the meet honoree for the 28th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola. Morrison was a long time high school coach at Alhambra HS and continues to aid the sport of athletics as an official at various levels of competition. Morrison has also been inducted into the Arizona Track/Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Two individual events will also hold an honor beginning this year as the men's 200m dash will be named in memory of Tom Jones while the boy's 4x400m relay will carry the name of Willie Jones Jr. Tom Jones was a former Sun Devil head coach (1988-92) before building the Florida women's program into a national power. Last month, Tom lost a long-standing battle with cancer. The 200m dash is being named for Tom since he was the NCAA 220y champion in 1966 as well as the Pac-10 champion that same season. Willie Jones Jr. served as the head coach of the Phoenix College program before passing away last May because of lymphoma. A student-athlete at Mesa CC before coming to ASU, Willie earned All-America honors in 1981 with the Sun Devils' 4x100m relay and also was a three-time Pac-10 champion, helping win the 4x100m relay in 1980 and 1982 as well as the mile relay in 1982. The boy's 4x400m relay is being named in honor of Willie because of his success in the relays as both an athlete and coach at the high school and collegiate levels. Both men have been and will continue to be missed by all track and field fans.
'OF THE YEAR' AWARDS
A pair of Sun Devils earned year-end awards from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) last week as Head Coach Greg Kraft was named the 2007 MPSF Women's Indoor Coach of the Year while Sarah Stevens, the national champion in the indoor shot put, was selected as the 2007 MPSF Women's Athlete of the Year. Both awards are the first for a Sun Devil in those respective categories and came by a vote of the league's coaches.
Latosha Wallace remains a fixture on the world Top 20 lists in a pair of events, making her the only Sun Devil to hold that distinction currently. Wallace holds the third-fastest time in the 400m hurdles at 57.37 and also is ranked 14th overall in the 400m dash at 52.49. Her hurdle time also is the third-best in the collegiate ranks this year while her open quarter time ranks as the fourth-best among NCAA runners.
ON THE WORLD LISTS
According to those same world lists, Wallace is not the only Sun Devil (current and/or former) that appears in the Top 20. On the women's lists, April Kubishta's clearance of 4.20m is tied for the fifth-highest in the world so far this year while Amy Hastings' time of 15:50.19 in the 5,000m run is the 15th-best. For the men, Kyle Alcorn's time of 8:41.45 in the 3,000m steeplechase is the highest ranking right now as he sits 13th in the world. Kelvin Love Jr. (20.73) and Domenik Peterson (20.74) are 17th and 18th, respectively, on the 200m lists while Aaron Aguayo ranks 20th in the 1,500m run at 3:43.17.
According to the latest (April 10) NCAA descending order lists, only one mark turned in by an Arizona State athlete ranks as the best in the nation right now as April Kubishta continues to lead the women's pole vault with her clearance of 4.20m.
NCAA TOP 5
Despite having just one mark lead the nation currently, three men's marks and six women's marks rank among the Top 5 nationally. For the men, Kyle Alcorn's time of 8:41.45 in the 3,000m steeplechase is No. 2 while both Kelvin Love Jr. (20.73) and Aaron Aguayo (3:43.17) are ranked fifth in the 200m dash and 1,500m run, respectively. For the women, Amy Hastings (15:50.19) and Sarah Stevens (56.39m) are second in the 5,000m run and discus, respectively, while Latosha Wallace ranks third in the 400m hurdles (57.37) and fourth in the 400m dash (52.49). Jessica Pressley (54.70m in the discus) and Stevens (65.43m in the hammer) both hold the fifth-best tosses in their respective events.
Five women and five men all are projected to place among the Top 8 (scoring positions) at the NCAA Championships, including three women and one man projected to score in multiple events, according to the Dandy Dozen released by Trackwire. For the women, Sarah Stevens is first in the shot put, second in the discus and fifth in the hammer while fellow thrower Jessica Pressley is first in the discus and third in the shot put. Amy Hastings rounds out the double-scorers for the women as she is ranked fourth in both the 5,000m and 10,000m runs. Also ranked in the Top 8 for the women are Jacquelyn Johnson, who sits first in the heptathlon as a two-time champion, and Latosha Wallace, who is ranked sixth in the 400m hurdles. On the men's side, thrower Ryan Whiting is ranked second in the shot put and fifth in the discus to pace his team with four others ranked in the Top 8 to support the freshman. Aaron Aguayo is slated to finish as the national runner-up in the 3,000m steeplechase while Joshua Kinnaman is ranked fifth in the decathlon. Matt Turner is ranked seventh in the long jump while Brad Roth is ranked eighth in the javelin.
MORE ON THE DOZEN
A trio of Sun Devils also hold a special distinction according the Dandy Dozen. On the track, only two women are ranked in the Top 12 in both the 5,000m and 10,000m runs as Amy Hastings is ranked fourth in both and Texas A&M's Sally Kipyego is ranked first in both. In the field, only two women are ranked in the Top 12 in the shot put, discus and hammer events with those two women being Sun Devils Sarah Stevens (first, second and fifth, respectively) and Jessica Pressley (third, first and ninth, respectively).
Over the weekend of March 9-10, the ASU women scored 38 points and captured their first national team crown by winning the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The title, the first for the University since the women's golf team in 1998, is the second in track and field history at ASU after the men captured the 1977 outdoor crown under the direction of legendary Sun Devil coach Senon 'Baldy' Castillo.
For the second NCAA indoor meet and the third NCAA track & field event in a row, the Sun Devil women captured two individual championships. This year, Jacquelyn Johnson successfully defended her 2006 pentathlon crown while Sarah Stevens won her first national title by capturing the shot put. Last year, Johnson was joined by Amy Hastings, the winner of the 5,000m run. Outdoors last year, Johnson won her second heptathlon crown while Victoria Jackson took home gold in the 10,000m run.
Four women earned six total All-America honors over the weekend with both Amy Hastings and Sarah Stevens earning two accolades each. Stevens won the shot put and placed fifth in the weight throw to earn All-America status while Hastings was fourth in the 5,000m run and sixth in the 3,000m event. Jacquelyn Johnson (pentathlon) and Jessica Pressley (shot put) also earned their honors by placing among the Top 8 as they finished first and third, respectively.
All four men that competed in the NCAA Championships earned All-America honors, led by the third-place finish of Ryan Whiting in the shot put. Matt Turner finished seventh in the long jump and Joshua Kinnaman took eighth place in the heptathlon for the second year in a row to garner their awards while Aaron Aguayo earned the honor in the 3,000m run. Aguayo, who placed 10th overall in the race, was the seventh American to finish.
With their honors attained, several Sun Devils moved up the all-time All-American list in Sun Devil history. Aaron Aguayo received his fifth honor, moving him in to a tie for ninth all-time on the men's list while four women climbed higher as well. Amy Hastings received accolades eight and nine to move into a tie for second all-time and one All-America honor away from tying Maicel Malone for the most all-time. Jacquelyn Johnson (five), Jessica Pressley (four) and Sarah Stevens (three) are tied for 12th, 15th and 19th, respectively.
A trio of Sun Devils were honored with regional accolades Tuesday (March 6) as members of the program swept the women's West Region awards announced by the USTFCCCA. Head Coach Greg Kraft was selected as the 2007 West Region Women's Coach of the Year while Sarah Stevens and Amy Hastings were selected for the Women's Field and Women's Track Athlete of the Year honors, respectively. One week later, Kraft was honored as the 2007 USTFCCCA National Women's Coach of the Year.
Arizona State's women have brought home trophies in numerous meets throughout the past 16 months, including national trophies at the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships (fourth), the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships (third), the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (fourth) and the recent indoor NCAA meet (first). On the conference level, the women have earned crowns in the 2006 Pac-10 Outdoor Championships while adding a 2007 MPSF Indoor Championship.
ON THE WORLD LISTS
As of March 14, three men and four women with ties to the Sun Devil program have marks ranking them on the World Indoor Top 20. For the men, Marcus Brunson is No. 1 in the 60m dash (6.46) while Trevell Quinley ranks ninth in the long jump (8.07m) and Ryan Whiting is tied for 20th in the shot put (20.01m). For the women, current Sun Devil Sarah Stevens is ranked in two events, standing ninth in the weight throw (21.16m) and 13th in the shot put (18.16m) while Amy Hastings is seventh in the 5,000m run (15:30.17) and Jacquelyn Johnson is 17th in the pentathlon (4,393). Former Sun Devil Victoria Jackson is 13th in the 5,000m (15:57.18).
The Sun Devils headed to Seattle and competed in the MPSF Indoor Championships on the Washington campus. Overall, the women scored 135 points to capture the team championship, snapping Stanford's four-year winning streak, while the ASU men placed fourth (79 points). The women also won six individual crowns, including Latosha Wallace (400m), Amy Hastings (3,000m), the 4x400m relay of Wallace, Bridgette Williams, Shauntel Elcock and Jacquelyn Johnson, April Kubishta (pole vault), Sarah Stevens (shot put and weight throw) and Johnson (pentathlon). The men recorded a pair of victories in the meet with Domenik Peterson winning the 400m dash and Ryan Whiting taking the shot.
HASTINGS SETS RECORD
At the Husky Classic, Amy Hastings not only broke her own school record in the women's 5,000m run, she also broke a 26 year old America collegiate record in the event. Her time of 15:30.17 bettered her previous school mark of 15:45.45 set last year in the same meet and also was faster than the previous mark of 15:34.5 run by Margaret Groos of Virginia in 1981.
SUN DEVILS IN THE RECORD BOOK
Hastings' American collegiate record in the 5,000m run (15:30.17) at the Husky Classic last weekend made her the third Sun Devil to currently hold an overall and/or American collegiate record. Indoors, she joins the men's 4x400m relay of Jason Barton, Steve Fitch, Seth Amoo and Domenik Peterson who set the mark of 3:03.43 in Ames, Iowa, on March 6, 2004. Another relay holds the collegiate mark on the outdoor surface as the 4x800m squad of Pete Richardson, Eddie Davis, Treg Scott and Mike Stahr ran 7:08.96 on April 7, 1984, in Tempe.
NEXT TIME OUT
Only one meet appears on the Sun Devils' schedule next weekend as many members of the team will head to La Jolla, Calif., for the UC San Diego Triton Invitational.
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