Track & Field Set for NCAA Championships This Week

June 3, 2007

Championship Notes (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University track and field team will head to its final collegiate meet of the season this week as the Sun Devils are set to compete in the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships that will be held June 6-9 at the Alex G. Spanos Athletic Center in Sacramento, Calif.

Individual, relay and team national titles will be on the line this week at the NCAA Championships. Along with the titles, teams placing in the Top 4 also will earn a trophy while the Top 8 individuals and relay teams will garner All-America status.

CBS Sports will broadcast the final day of competition at the NCAA Championships on Saturday with action beginning at 10 a.m. Pacific. The condensed final-day action will be broadcast for two hours. Also making its way to the television air waves will be coverage on Friday night on CSTV (5:30-8:30 pm Pacific).

Ten individual women and nine individual men, along with relay runners, will head to Sacramento to compete in the NCAA Championships this week. Including relays, four women and three men could see action in multiple events. The qualifiers in more than one event are Latosha Wallace (400m hurdles, 4x400m), Sarah Stevens (shot put, discus, hammer), Jessica Pressley (shot put, discus, hammer) and Tai Battle (discus, hammer) for the women and Kelvin Love (200m, 4x100m), Domenik Peterson (400m, 4x100m) and Jimmie Gordon (400m, 4x100m).

Sarah Stevens has had a stellar season so far and, on May 30, was honored as one of the four finalists for the Honda Sports Award, given annually to the top female athlete in each sport that holds an NCAA championship event. Stevens, only the third Sun Devil track and field athlete selected for the award and the first since Maicel Malone in 1990-91, joins Natosha Hastings (South Carolina), Kerron Stewart (Auburn) and Sally Kipyego (Texas A&M) as the finalists for track and field. The winner of each Honda Sports Award will become a candidate for the Honda-Broderick Cup which is given annually to the top collegiate athlete in the nation.

Assistant Coach David Dumble (men's and women's throws) has been honored as the 2007 USTFCCCA Division I Assistant Coach of the Year in the West Region for Women's Throws, the coaches' association announced June 3. Coaches from each region voted upon the awards for each of the four regions based on the performances of that coach's athletes during both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2007. The honor is the second for Dumble in as many years as he garnered the same accolade from the USTFCCCA last year before being named the National Assistant Coach of the Year for women's throws. Heading into the NCAA Championships this weekend, Dumble has three women entered into the throwing events in Sacramento, including Sarah Stevens and Jessica Pressley in three events (shot put, hammer and discus) and Tai Battle in a pair (hammer and discus). Stevens won the 2007 NCAA indoor shot put this year with Pressley earning third place while the duo ranks 1-2 in the nation outdoors and Stevens is tops in the discus as well.

Arizona State enters the meet with two entry marks ranking as the best in the nation with both being held by Sarah Stevens. The sophomore holds a national-leading mark of 18.40m in the shot put while her discus toss of 57.73m also ranks as the top mark.

According to the final descending order list heading into the national meet, nine women's marks and three men's marks rank among the Top 8. Along with Sarah Stevens' top marks in the shot put and discus, two women's marks and three men's rank as the second-best in the nation. Those individuals include Amy Hastings in the 10,000m run and Jessica Pressley in the shot put for the women and Aaron Aguayo (3,000m steeplechase), Matt Turner (long jump ) and Ryan Whiting (shot put) for the men.

Heading into the NCAA Championships, only three women have qualified to compete in three throwing events with all three coming from the west and two representing Arizona State. Sarah Stevens enters the weekend ranked first in the shot put, first in the discus and fifth in the hammer while teammate Jessica Pressley stands second, seventh and 10th, respectively. The third woman to qualify in all three is Amy Haapenen of UC Santa Barbara, who ranks 16th, 22nd and sixth, respectively.

Not only does Arizona State have two women throwing in all three events this week, the Sun Devils also hold another distinction based on trios: ASU is the only school to have three women throwing in the same event. Sarah Stevens, Jessica Pressley and Tai Battle will compete in discus and the hammer, making them the only trio of teammates to compete in both. California and Texas Tech have two athletes throwing in the discus while USC and Louisville hold the same distinction in the hammer. Four teams also have two athletes entered into the shot put, including ASU (Stevens and Pressley), Missouri, Virginia Tech and Minnesota.

The recent success the women's program has enjoyed has been helped along by the strong individual accomplishments of several athletes, including returning national champion Jacquelyn Johnson. The junior from Yuma will look to successfully defend her 2006 heptathlon crown after she was successful in retaining the national pentathlon title indoors during the 2007 season. In all, Johnson has captured four national titles in her six NCAA meets, including the 2004 and 2006 outdoor heptathlon along with the 2006 and 2007 indoor pentathlon titles. She placed second at the 2004 indoor meet as a freshman.

Five of the six women that combined to earn seven All-America honors at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships, including one of the two national champions from last year. Jacquelyn Johnson returns after winning the heptathlon in 2006 and joins returning All-Americans in Amy Hastings (fourth at 10,000m), Sarah Stevens (fourth in shot put), Jessica Pressley (fifth in discus and sixth in shot put) and Jenna Kingma (10th in 5,000m). The lone Sun Devil that is not returning this year was the 2006 NCAA 10,000m Champion, Victoria Jackson, who exhausted her collegiate eligibility at the end of the 2006 season.

The Sun Devil men had three All-Americans at the 2006 NCAA Championships with only one returning to the meet this season as Aaron Aguayo is back after placing third in the 3,000m steeplechase last year. Joshua Kinnaman took sixth in the decathlon, but did not qualify for the meet this year, while Ryan Warrenburg placed 10th in the steeplechase in his senior race.

Heading into the NCAA Championships this week, two Sun Devils need just one more All-America honor each to tie the school-record for most national accolades accumulated in a career in their respective genders. For the women, Amy Hastings currently has earned nine All-America honors and needs one more to tie ASU Hall of Fame inductee and U.S. Olympian Maicel Malone for the most in program history (both men and women) while Domenik Peterson, who has accumulated six in his career, needs just one more honor to tie a quartet of men for the most in the history of the program. Those four men include Seth Amoo, Marcus Brunson, Herman Frazier and Dwight Phillips.

The final rankings of the season were released this week with both the USTFCCCA and Trackwire ranking the Sun Devil women first in both polls while the men stand seventh and eighth, respectively. In the Trackwire rankings, the women hold a large lead in the projected points race over LSU and Texas A&M as the Sun Devils are projected to score 62 points with the runner-up Tigers and Aggies are projected to score 37. On the men's side, Florida State is the run-away favorite with 59 points while the Sun Devils are projected to score 26 points, just nine points out of a trophy (Top 4) finish.

In the latest Dandy Dozen projections from Trackwire, three men and 10 women are projected to score among the Top 8 at the national meet. Although the men are projected to score in just three events, the point totals are quite large as Trackwire has Aaron Aguayo winning the 3,000m steeplechase (10 points) with both Matt Turner (long jump) and Ryan Whiting (shot put) scoring eight points each by placing second in their respective events. On the women's side, Sarah Stevens is projected to account for 25 points by herself as the publication is picking her to finish first the shot put, first in the discus and fourth in the hammer. Also scoring highly are second-place projections for Amy Hastings (10,000m) and Jessica Pressley (shot put), fourth-place for April Kubishta (pole vault), Pressley (discus) and Stevens (hammer), fifth-place for Tai Battle (discus) and Jacquelyn Johnson (heptathlon) and a sixth-place projection for Latosha Wallace (400m hurdles).

The Sun Devil women won three events, including Jessica Pressley in the shot put, Sarah Stevens in the discus and April Kubishta in the pole vault, and scored 94 points to easily win the NCAA West Region Championships that were held May 25-26 in Eugene, Ore. The title, which came by a 20-point margin over USC (74), was the first for the Sun Devil program.

Three women and one man won their respective events at the NCAA West Region Championships in Eugene, Ore., to score 10 team points for the Sun Devils while also punching their tickets to the national meet. On the women's side, April Kubishta cleared a school-record 4.26m (13-11.75) to win the pole vault crown while Jessica Pressley (17.84m/58-06.50) took the shot put and Sarah Stevens (55.60m/182-05) won the discus. On the men's side, Aaron Aguayo captured the 3,000m steeplechase with a school-record time of 8:33.67.

Along with four champions, ASU also had seven individual women, one women's relay and four individual men automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships by placing in the Top 5 of their respective events (Top 3 for relays). For the women, Jacquelyn Johnson (100m hurdles), Latosha Wallace (400m hurdles) and Sarah Stevens (shot put and hammer) all placed second while Jessica Pressley took third in the discus, Tai Battle took fourth in the discus and Ali Kielty took fifth in the 5,000m run. The women's 4x400m relay team also finished second. On the men's side, Kelvin Love (200m dash), Matt Turner (long jump) and Ryan Whiting (shot put) all took second place with Jimmie Gordon placing fourth (400m dash).

The regional meet produced several big marks for the Sun Devils, including three school records and four others that were good enough to make it on the all-time Top 10 in ASU history. April Kubishta cleared 4.26m (13-11.75) to win the pole vault with a school-record while Sarah Stevens took second in the hammer by improving her own school record to 66.34m (219-00) to lead the women while Aaron Aguayo lowered the school record in the men's 3,000m steeplechase to 8:33.67. The women also saw Latosha Wallace run the second-fastest 400m hurdle time at 56.43 while Jacquelyn Johnson ran a wind-aided and fourth-fastest 100m hurdle time of 13.31. In the field, Alana Waterford cleared 3.96m (12-11.75) to move up to third on the all-time list while Matt Turner jumped to seventh on the all-time long jump list with his wind-aided leap of 7.93m (26-00.25).

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-highest 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.

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 ASU women were selected to the NCAA Division I Silver Anniversary Team that was announced by the USTFCCCA to commemorate the 25th anniversary of women's indoor track & 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.

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.

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).

Two men and two women are currently ranked among the Top 20 on the most recent world lists with the shot put producing three of those marks. For the men, Aaron Aguayo ranks No. 7 in the mile with his time of 4:00.17 while Ryan Whiting is tied for No. 14 in the shot put with his season-best toss of 20.35m. For the women, Sarah Stevens is No. 13 in the shot put at 18.40m while Jessica Pressley stands No. 19 with a mark of 18.16m

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 outdoors 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.

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