ASU Track & Field Plays host to Arizona, No. Arizona

April 25, 2007

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TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University track and field program will look to defend its home turf this weekend as it is set to play host to the annual Double Dual with Arizona and Northern Arizona Saturday inside Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe. The annual intrastate battle opens with field events at 2 p.m. and running events at 7 p.m. Two individuals also will head to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Cardinal Classic on Sunday to round out the meet schedule for the Sun Devils before heading into the Pac-10 Championships.

The 2007 Double Dual will mark the 21st year the three schools have met on the track for state bragging rights during the outdoor season. On the men's side, Arizona State trails Arizona in the all-time series, 13-7, but is 6-4 when the dual is held in Tempe while holding a 15-4-1 all-time record against Northern Arizona with an 8-2 record in Tempe over the Lumberjacks. On the women's side, ASU and UA are tied at 10-10 with the Sun Devils holding a 6-4 advantage in Tempe while the Sun Devils lead their series with NAU, 17-3, and are 9-1 in Tempe.

Last year in Tucson, the Sun Devil women swept both of their rivals while the men split, defeating Northern Arizona and falling to Arizona. The women defeated the Wildcats, 113-80, and the Lumberjacks, 118-72, while the men downed NAU, 132-40. UA scored a 116-86 victory over ASU.

Arizona State will have a pair of distance runners competing in the Cardinal Classic at Stanford on Sunday as Amy Hastings and Aaron Aguayo will both run a 5,000m race.

In the latest national rankings, the Sun Devil women remained No. 1 according to the USTFCCCA while slipping to No. 2 in the Trackwire projections while the men were ranked No. 6 in both publications.

Each week (starting April 9), the Pac-10 Conference will honor four athletes of the week, including one male and one female in both track and field. This week (April 16-2), the Sun Devils once again had multiple honors attained as Sarah Stevens was selected as the women's field athlete of the week for the second week in a row while Ryan Whiting earned the men's field athlete of the week for his first accolade. Both Sun Devils earned the honor after another impressive shot put competition with Stevens setting the school record and the second-best mark in Pac-10 history at 18.40m (60-04.50) while Whiting recorded the second-best mark in school history at 20.27m (66-06.00). Both marks currently lead the nation and rank among the Top 8 in the world so far this year.

Sarah Stevens has continued to shine for the Sun Devils and her top marks this year are proof of that as she ranks among the Top 5 nationally in a trio of events. As of April 25, Stevens is the national leader in the shot put with a mark of 18.40m while ranking second in the discus (56.39m) and fifth in the hammer (65.43m). Her shot put mark, which also is a school record and second-best in the history of the Pac-10, stands as the fifth-best mark in the world so far this year. The 2007 NCAA Indoor Champion in the shot put, Stevens is projected by Trackwire to win both the shot put and discus at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships and finish sixth in the hammer throw.

In his first year of competing for the Sun Devils, Ryan Whiting has had a great deal of success. After finishing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the shot put, Whiting has competed in the event outdoors just twice, with both competitions producing marks over 20m. Two weeks ago at the Sun Angel Classic, Whiting threw 20.07m and edged out Olympian John Godina (20.00m) for the victory. Last weekend at the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif., Whiting again was victorious over the field, this time hitting a mark of 20.27m to move into second on the all-time ASU list and earn his first Pac-10 weekly honor.

While Arizona State has turned in strong performances in several events throughout the years, the shot put appears to be one of the better events for the program this year as three Sun Devils are ranked in the Top 2 nationally in the event according to the latest NCAA order lists (April 24). For the women, Sarah Stevens leads the nation at 18.40m while Jessica Pressley is second with a toss of 17.93m. On the men's side, Ryan Whiting's mark of 20.27m leads the nation.

The combination of Sarah Stevens and Jessica Pressley looks to be one of the best throwing tandems in the nation today as both women rank in the Top 12 nationally in the shot put, discus and hammer events. The one-two punch for the Sun Devil field events, Stevens holds the best shot put mark in the nation at 18.40m with Pressley right behind her at 17.93m. In the discus, the women are second (56.39m) and fifth (54.70m), respectively, while ranking fifth (65.43m) and 12th (61.18m), respectively, in the hammer.

Several former Sun Devils have been competing over the past several weeks and have turned in solid marks. Kelly (MacDonald) Strong ran a national record in the 2,000m steeplechase earlier this season, turning in a time of 6:25.98, to lead the world in 2007 while her time of 9:47.48 in the 3,000m steeplechase ranks fifth internationally. Also on the world lists, Dwight Phillips is currently third with his mark of 8.15m in the long jump while Vince Mosca (19.81m) is 15th in the shot put and Nick Hysong (5.37m) is tied for 18th in the pole vault. At the 111th Boston Marathon, Desiree Davila ran her first marathon and placed 19th overall among women and 12th in the USA Marathon Championships in a time of 2:44:56.

Four marks recorded over the weekend at the Triton Invitational rank among the some of the best in the history of the program, including school-records from Sarah Stevens in the shot put (18.40m) and April Kubishta (4.20m) in the pole vault. Also in the pole vault, Alana Waterford moved up to No. 4 (3.80m) while also qualifying for the NCAA West Region Championships. Ryan Whiting (20.27m) was the lone male to move up the charts as he climbed to No. 2 on the shot put list.

At the 28th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola (April 14), Domenik Peterson turned in a solid display of speed to garner Pac-10 Athlete of the Week honors. Peterson clocked a 20.70 in the 200m dash for the fifth-fastest time in the nation after running the fourth-best time in the college ranks at 400m (45.99). Peterson opened the meet by running the second leg of the fifth-fastest 4x100m relay so far this year as he and teammates Deun White, Justin Kremer and Kelvin Love, Jr., went 39.62.

Latosha Wallace continued to lower her personal best time and climb higher on the all-time Arizona State lists in the 400m hurdles as she won the Sun Angel meet with a time of 56.75. Just the third Sun Devil to go under 57 seconds in the race, Wallace is currently ranked second in the collegiate ranks in the event while sitting sixth in the 400m dash as 52.49. She also helped the 4x400m relay team to the seventh-fastest time in the nation this year as Bridgette Williams, Shauntel Elcock and Jordan Durham combined with Wallace to go 3:34.42.

Aaron Aguayo nearly ran a sub-4 minutes mile at the Sun Angel Classic over the weekend, crossing the line at 4:00.14. His time is the second-fastest in school history and also stands as the third-fastest on the 1,500m lists when converted (3:41.74).

Two freshmen had impressive performances at the Sun Angel Track Classic as both Ryan Whiting and Kari Hardt recorded marks on the Arizona State all-time Top 10 lists. Whiting's mark of 20.07m is the third-best in the shot put while Hardt's time of 4:25.08 is the 10th-best in the women's 1,500m run.

Brad Roth entered the season with a personal best throw of 210 feet in the javelin. In his first meet of the year, Roth bettered that to 217-3 (66.23m) before moving up to 218-2 (66.51m) the following weekend. He continued his trend of improved personal bests with a toss of 221-4 (67.47m) at the Arizona International (March 31) before once again improving, this time to 225-9 (68.82m) at the Sun Angel Track Classic.

Kyle Alcorn has competed in four total races (three events) in his Arizona State career this year with all three of his top marks ranking in the Top 10 in Sun Devil history. Over the weekend, Alcorn clocked in at 13:55.17 in the 5,000m run at Mt. SAC for the eighth-fastest in school history. Two weeks prior at the Stanford Invitational, Alcorn posted the fourth-fastest time in the 3,000m steeplechase (8:41.45) just one week removed from recording the seventh-fastest time in the 1,500m run (3:44.03).

Along with Stevens, Whiting and alumni (see Alumni Update), several other Sun Devils are currently among the Top 20 in the world (as of April 25). Aaron Aguayo ranks fourth in the world in the men's mile (4:00.14) while Latosha Wallace is eighth in the 400m hurdles (56.75) and 22nd in the 400m dash (52.49). April Kubishta is tied for 13th in the pole vault (4.20m) while Jacquelyn Johnson stands seventh in the heptathlon (5,681 points).

Along with the two top-ranked marks by Sarah Stevens (shot put) and Ryan Whiting (shot put), 10 other marks are currently ranked in the Top 5 nationally. On the men's side, Kyle Alcorn ranks fourth in the 3,000m steeplechase (8:41.45) and Matt Turner is fifth in the long jump (7.79m). On the women's side, Jessica Pressley (17.93m) in the shot put and Stevens (56.39m) both rank second in their events while April Kubishta is tied for third in the pole vault (4.20m). Latosha Wallace (56.75 in the 400m hurdles) and Jacquelyn Johnson (5,681 points in the heptathlon) are both ranked fourth while fifth-place rankings are held by Amy Hastings (15:50.19) in the 5,000m run, Pressley (54.70m) in the discus and Stevens (65.43m) in the hammer.

Jacquelyn Johnson (heptathlon) and Sarah Stevens (shot put and discus) are projected at No. 1 this week in the latest Dandy Dozen released April 23 while Jessica Pressley is No. 2 in the shot put. Amy Hastings is No. 4 in the 5,000m run and No. 5 in the 10,000m run while Latosha Wallace is No. 5 in the 400m hurdles. Stevens is No. 6 in the hammer while both April Kubishta (pole vault) and Pressley (discus) are No. 8 in their respective events to round out the Sun Devils in the scoring positions (Top 8).

Six men are projected in the Top 8 of their respective events in the April 24 Dandy Dozen, led by Aaron Aguayo holding the No. 1 position in the 3,000m steeplechase. Ryan Whiting is projected in the Top 8 of two events, sitting second in the shot put and seventh in the discus. Matt Turner is No. 4 in the long jump and Joshua Kinnaman is No. 5 in the decathlon. The final Sun Devil in the Top 8 is No. 8 Domenik Peterson in the 200m.

Looking at the men's discus list on the Dandy Dozen, a West Coast flavor is clearly present as the Top 10 are all from the west region with nine of the men hailing from Pac-10 schools.

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.

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.

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.

Next weekend, several Sun Devils will compete in the Pac-10 Multi-Event Championships (heptathlon & decathlon) at Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on May 5-6.

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