Track & Field Heads to Oregon for NCAA West Region

May 22, 2007

Championship Notes (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - Following another solid showing at the Pac-10 Championships with the women successfully defending their 2006 crown and the men placing a close second, the Arizona State University track and field team will head to Eugene, Ore., and Hayward Field on the Oregon campus for the 2007 NCAA West Region Championships this Friday and Saturday. The meet is used as a qualifying meet for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships that will take place June 6-9 in Sacramento, Calif.

Teams from Arizona, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington comprise the west region with all individuals in the region converging on Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., this weekend to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The three other region hosts this weekend include Gainesville, Fla. (Florida), Des Moines, Iowa (Drake) and Columbia, Mo. (Missouri).

The regional meet serves as the first round of competition for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships that will be held June 6-9. In the regional meet, the Top 5 individual finishers and the Top 3 relays will automatically advance to the national event while the remaining athletes that have declared to compete at the regional meet will be placed into an at-large pool that the NCAA will select from to fill the events.

Entering the regional meet, the Sun Devil men have 16 individual entries while the women have 25 with both genders having nine of the entries ranked in the Top 5 of their respective events. The men's relays are both ranked in the Top 3, including the top-ranked 4x100m and third-ranked 4x400m while the women's 4x400m relay stands first.

Of the nine men and nine women's marks ranked in the Top 5 in the region, three of each gender also rank as the best in the west. For the men, Aaron Aguayo has the top time in the 3,000m steeplechase while Matt Turner holds the top mark in the long jump and is tied for the lead in the high jump. On the women's side, April Kubishta is tied for the lead in the pole vault while Sarah Stevens leads two events, the shot put and discus.

Only six women have declared to compete in the shot put, discus and hammer this weekend, with two of those women tossing for the Sun Devils. Sarah Stevens is ranked first in the shot put and discus and third in the hammer while teammate Jessica Pressley ranks second, fifth and seventh, respectively. Only one other school has a pair of throwers competing in all three events: UC Santa Barbara with Amy Haapanen (4th, 10th, 4th) and Heather Quinn (15th, 14th, 14th). Arizona's Kelli Burton (5th, 9th, 12th) and Washington State's McKenzie Garberg (14th, 11th, 11th) round out the six women.

In the latest national rankings, the Sun Devil women remained No. 1 according to the USTFCCCA (May 15) and are No. 2 in the Trackwire projections (May 15) while the men were ranked No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.

The west region boasts seven women's teams and six men's teams that are ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 20 rankings that were released May 15. The ranked squads all hail from the Pac-10 Conference, including No. 1 Arizona State, No. 7 UCLA, No. 10 Stanford, No. 11 USC, No. 12 Oregon, No. 14 California and No. 17 Washington State on the women's side while the men have ranked teams in No. 4 USC, No. 5 Oregon, No. 7 UCLA, No. 9 Arizona State, No. 16 Arizona and No. 17 Washington.

With 158 points, the Sun Devil women secured back-to-back Pac-10 team titles, outdistancing Stanford (134.33) by 23.63 points, a much larger margin than the 2.5 point victory from one year ago over the Cardinal (154.0-151.5) when ASU won its first conference crown. The Sun Devils scored 83 points on the final day of competition to secure the crown as the 5,000m run added 15 points to the total before the 4x400m relay ended the meet with another victory and 10 more points toward the team total.

While the women won their title, the men were an agonizing three points from their second title in program history as Oregon took the crown, 114-111. The closely contested men's race saw the Top 5 finish within 25 points of one other as USC took third (110), UCLA was fourth (92) and Arizona fifth (91). The Sun Devils hung tough despite not having the services of senior sprinter Domenik Peterson, who was out with an injury.

Sarah Stevens provided a huge spark for the women in their quest for a second crown as the sophomore recorded 26 points for the team. Stevens opened the weekend with a victory in the shot put as her toss of 17.61m took the gold. Later in the day, she became only the fifth woman in conference history to win both the shot put and discus in the same year as her mark of 57.73m not only won the event, it also gave her the national lead and third-best mark in school history. On the final day, Stevens finished third in the hammer with a mark of 64.97m. With her 26 points, Stevens ranks second all-time at ASU for points scored in one championship behind the 29 point performance of Jacquelyn Johnson last year.

Latosha Wallace was just as busy during the weekend as she ran the oval five times in two days, walking away with two titles and a runner-up finish. In the 400m dash, Wallace was second in the heats before chasing down UCLA's Nicole Leach and edging her at the finish line in the finals with a personal-best and the fourth-fastest time in school history of 51.97. Later in the day, Wallace came back to finish second in the 400m hurdles after taking second in the heats as well, this time running 57.55 in the hurdles. In the final race of the day, Wallace took the baton on the anchor leg and helped the Sun Devil squad of Bridgette Williams, Shauntel Elcock and Jordan Durham secure the 4x400m relay in 3:33.14.

In his first race of the season in the event, Aaron Aguayo took charge and clocked a time of 8:36.42 to win his fourth title in a row and adding his name to a short historical list. Not only is Aguayo the only athlete to take the 3,000m steeplechase four times in a career, he became only the second male distance athlete and the 11th athlete overall (men and women) to win the same event four times. Among male distance athletes, Aguayo joins Steve Prefontaine (Oregon) as the only four-time distance champions after Pre won the three mile (5,000m) run in 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973.

In his first conference meet as a member of the Sun Devil program, Matt Turner made a name for himself as he scored in three jumping events, including capturing the long jump with a mark of 7.84m, the eighth-best mark in school history and the fourth-best nationally this year. After his victory, Turner went on to place second in the high jump (2.13m) before taking fifth in the triple jump (15.01m). The transfer from CS Fullerton, Turner accounted for 22 points, the most on the team this year and the third-higest in school history.

While Aaron Aguayo kept his streak in tact by winning his fourth steeplechase crown, the Sun Devil women fell short in their quest to keep the women's crown in the Valley of the Sun. After winning the first six crowns the conference offered, the Sun Devils had four women in the field this year with Corey Randall leading much of the race. On the final water barrier, Randall fell, allowing two runners to pass her. Randall did, however, get back up and finish strong to take third place to pace a three-five-seven finish for Arizona State.

When the Sun Devils compete in Eugene, Ore., this weekend, it will not be new to the team after competing in the Pac-10 Championships at Oregon last year. One person that did not compete there last year, but has ties to the school, is Kyle Alcorn. The 3,000m steeplechase specialist that finished third in the Pac-10 this year and ranks third nationally, began his career with the Ducks before transferring into the Arizona State program.

Last year, the NCAA West Region Championships were held in Provo, Utah, on the BYU campus with the Sun Devil women placing fourth overall (82 points) and the men placing 10th (26 points). In all, 10 individual women and one relay and four individual men automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships by placing in the Top 5.

Arizona State's women scored three victories at the regional level one year ago as Jenna Kingma won the 5,000m run, Sarah Stevens won the shot put and the Sun Devil 4x400m relay team took gold, all punching their tickets to the NCAA Championships. The men did not post a victory, but a pair of Sun Devils, Aaron Aguayo (steeplechase) and Ryan Zimmerman (triple jump), each finished second to lead the men.

Twelve members of the Arizona State University track and field/cross country program have successfully completed their educational work and earned their degrees. Current student-athletes that will earn their degrees this month include Rich Allen, Eric Dall, Amy Hastings, Becky Holley, Latoya Imadiyi, Jacquelyn Johnson, April Kubishta, Corey Randall and Cassie Rios. Former student-athletes Casey Burchill and Rachel Ellison also recently completed their undergraduate work while Director of Operations Rhonda Riley earned her Master's degree.

A pair of Sun Devil women were selected to the NCAA Division I Silver Anniversary Team that was announced Monday by the USTFCCCA to commemorate the 25th anniversary of women's indoor track and field championships. Current Sun Devil Jacquelyn Johnson was selected as the top athlete in the pentathlon while Maicel Malone was selected in the 400m dash. The complete team consists of the outstanding individuals in each event from over the past 25 years of NCAA Indoor Championships, dating back to the 1983 meet in Pontiac, Mich., through the 2007 edition in Fayetteville, Ark.

D'Metra Macedon was recently awarded the All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year award from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). She was one of only 239 student-athletes from only 165 schools nationally to garner the award that recognizes a student-athlete's dedication to strength training and conditioning.

During the season, the Pac-10 honored several Sun Devils as athletes of the week. For the women, Sarah Stevens was honored both April 16 and April 22 as the Female Field Athlete of the Week while Latosha Wallace was selected as the Female Track Athlete of the Week on April 16. On the men's side, Domenik Peterson earned the track honor on April 16 while Ryan Whiting was selected for the field accolade on April 22.

At the Double Dual, Jessica Pressley won the shot put with a personal best mark of 18.16m (59-07.00), moving her into third on the all-time Pac-10 lists and second all-time at Arizona State behind the 18.40m (60-04.50) toss of Sarah Stevens one week earlier in La Jolla, Calif. The two marks mentioned above rank as the Top 2 in the nation so far this year while ranking fifth and eighth on the world lists in 2007.

Looking at the historical marks of the women's shot put (through last weekend), Arizona State's Sarah Stevens and Jessica Pressley have combined to make history this season by becoming the only set of collegiate teammates to record a mark of 18.00m or better in the same season after hitting 18.40m and 18.16m, respectively, in 2007. The duo joins tandems from Nebraska (Tressa Thompson and Becky Breisch) and Texas (Michelle Carter and Eileen Vanisi) as the only three schools to ever have two women record 18.00m or better throws during the outdoor season and one of four to record a throw over 18.00m or better (indoor and/or outdoor) with SMU's Teri Steer and Marika Tuliniemi joining the group.

With both Jessica Pressley (18.16m) and Sarah Stevens (18.40m) both having thrown over 18-meters, ASU holds the distinction of being the only women's program in the Pac-10 to have two athletes surpass 18.00m in competition in the same season as well as in the history of the program. The only other program to come close was UCLA in 1995 when Valeyta Althouse set the conference record at 18.86m and Dawn Dumble threw 17.95m.

While ASU has turned in strong performances in several events throughout the years, the shot put appears to be one of the better events this year as three Sun Devils are ranked in the Top 2 nationally in the event according to the latest NCAA order lists (May 1). For the women, Sarah Stevens leads the nation at 18.40m while Jessica Pressley is second with a toss of 18.16m. On the men's side, Ryan Whiting's mark of 20.35m is second.

According to the all-time record lists, both Sarah Stevens and Jessica Pressley own marks in the shot put that rank among the Top 12 in the history of the collegiate event. Stevens' mark of 18.40m (60-04.50) is the eighth-best all-time while Pressley's 18.16m (59-07.00) is 11th all-time, only 1.5 inch from moving into the Top 10.

Several other events' all-time lists also carry several Sun Devils' names, including six women's marks and one men's mark. On the women's lists, five others join Sarah Stevens in the Top 10, including Amy Hastings in the 10,000m run with a time of 32:30.37 that she ran two weeks ago at the Stanford Invitational. Former Sun Devils make up the rest of the list, including Lisa Aguilera ranking third in the 3,000m steeplechase (9:46.30), Gea Johnson is seventh in the heptathlon (6,132 points) while Leslie Deniz (64.94m/213-11) an Ria Stalman (62.32m/204-05) rank third and eighth, respectively, in the discus. The lone male to hold a Top 10 position comes in the javelin where Pal Arne Fagernes ranks seventh (80.96m/265-07).

Several Sun Devils are currently ranked among the Top 20 in the world, including four men and five women, both current and former. For the men, current Sun Devil Aaron Aguayo is ranked seventh in the mile (4:00.14) while Ryan Whiting ranks 14th in the shot put (20.35m). Former Sun Devils Dwight Phillips (8.20m) and Nick Hysong (5.60m) are ranked fourth in the long jump and tied for 11th in the pole vault respectively. For the women, Sarah Stevens ranks 12th overall in the shot put (18.40m) and Jessica Pressley stands 17th (18.16m) in the same event while Jacquelyn Johnson ranks 15th in the heptathlon (5,706 points). Former Sun Devil Kelly (MacDonald) Strong stands second in the 2,000m steeplechase (6:25.98) and 11th in the 3,000m steeplechase (9:47.68) while Lisa (Aguilera) Galaviz is just ahead of Strong in 10th in the 3,000m steeplechase (9:47.57).

At the Cardinal Invitational two weeks ago, a pair of Sun Devils turned in school record times in two distance events. Amy Hastings ran a record time of 32:30.37 in the women's 10,000m run, bettering the previous mark of 32.54.72 run by Victoria Jackson last year to win the national title. Hastings' time also ranks as the second fastest in the history of the Pac-10 Conference. In the men's 5,000m run, Aaron Aguayo placed eighth overall and second among collegiate entries with his time of 13:37.71, bettering his own record time of 13:40.16 run last year.

Along with the school records set by Amy Hastings (10,000m) and Aaron Aguayo (5,000m) at Stanford, seven Sun Devils earned a place on the all-time Top 10 lists with their marks from the Double Dual. Those newest additions to the Top 10 outdoor lists include Jessica Pressley (No. 2 at 18.16m) in the shot put, Tai Battle (No. 3 at 59.46m) in the hammer and Alana Waterford (No. 4 at 3.80m) in the pole vault for the women and Ryan Whiting (No. 2 at 20.35m) in the shot put, Matt Turner (tied for No. 4 at 2.21m) in the high jump, Brad Roth (No. 5 at 68.91m) in the javelin and Tomas Navarro (No. 6 at 58.15m) in the hammer for the men.

At the annual Double Dual in Tempe, the Sun Devils swept their intrastate rivals with the women defeating Arizona, 115-80, and Northern Arizona, 133-57, while the men defeated the Wildcats, 110-86, and the Lumberjacks, 134-59. Overall, the men won 13 events and the women 11 while securing 15 and 17 regional qualifiers, respectively.

Matt Turner saved the best for last at the Double Dual as he put on a show in the high jump, what proved to be the final event of the competition. Already the winner of the event, Turner had the crowd behind him as he attempted to clear 2.16m (7-1.00) and nearly made it on his second attempt before clearing the bar on his third try. He move the bar up to 2.21m (7-3.00) and did the same as the bar before, nearly making the second before clearing the third. Turner also took two attempts at 2.26m (7-5.00) before calling it a night and finishing with a mark that tied him for fourth on the all-time ASU list.

Along with his 2.21m clearance in the high jump, Turner also has a pair of solid marks in the horizontal jumps. He won the long jump with a mark of 7.76m (25-05.25) before finishing second in his first triple jump of the year with a leap of 15.47m (50-09.25). Both marks qualified him for the regional meet.

A trio of Sun Devils were honored with regional accolades 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.

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.

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.

Those Sun Devils that qualify will head to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, set for the Alex G. Spanos Athletic Complex on the Sacramento State campus in Sacramento, Calif., on June 6-9. The meet is the final collegiate event of the season.

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