ASU's Kubishta, Johnson Claim Individual National Championships
June 8, 2007
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The third day of competition at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships proved to be a strong one as the Arizona State University women's track and field team collected two individual national titles and four All-America honors en route to taking the overall team lead at the meet being held at the Alex G. Spanos Athletic Complex on the Sacramento State campus in Sacramento, Calif. The Sun Devil men added two more All-America honors to the team total on the day.
The women were led by Jacquelyn Johnson, who successfully defended her heptathlon crown, making her only the second woman in NCAA history to capture the event three times in a career, and April Kubishta, the NCAA Champion in the pole vault. Tai Battle (discus) and Sarah Stevens (hammer) added Top 4 placements in their respective events to spark the women on Day Three.
In the team scoring, the Sun Devil women hold the lead with 38 points scored and are followed in the standings by USC (27 points), LSU (26), Texas Tech (23) and Michigan (22). On the men's side, Florida State leads with 34 points and is followed by Auburn (32), LSU (31), North Carolina (26) and Wisconsin (22) in the Top 5 while ASU is tied for 22nd with eight points.
Johnson entered the second day of heptathlon competition in fourth place and remained their after the long jump, hitting a mark of 5.91m (19-04.75) to score 822 points. The mark in the long jump was the best of the year for Johnson. From there, Johnson was the first javelin thrower in the field and uncorked a huge five-foot personal best toss of 45.58m (149-06) to garner not only 775 points, but also the lead by 98 points heading into the final event. Her javelin mark is the second-best in school history (current implement standards) and ranks eighth on the combined list (old and new standards).
In her final event of the day, the 800m run, Johnson clocked in at 2:19.54 to place ninth overall in the race and earn another 830 points. Over the two days, Johnson accumulated 5,984 points to outdistance Washington State's Julie Pickler (5,831) and captured her third NCAA outdoor heptathlon crown, making her just the second woman to do so after Jolanda Jones (another JJ) of Houston won the crowns in 1986, 1987 and 1989.
Kubishta had a stellar day on the runway as she posted first attempt clearances on the first four bars of the competition (3.90m, 4.05m, 4.15m and 4.25m). Her final clearance, 4.25m (13-11.25), was one centimeter off her school-record mark set two weeks ago at the West Region meet and, based on number of misses, put her in the driver's seat for the win. Runner-up Jodi Unger of Arkansas, like Kubishta, failed to clear the 4.35m bar, but had two misses earlier in the competition to break the tie and give the Sun Devil the victory.
Perhaps one of the most pleasant surprises of the day came in the discus where Battle recorded two career-best marks and finished the day with a mark of 54.79m (179-09) to take runner-up honors and earn her first All-America honor at the NCAA Division I level. Battle walked away from the ring in the third place, but a disputed mark of a WSU athlete in the event was eventually reversed, pushing Battle into her rightful position of second place.
The day opened with Stevens turning in a strong performance in the hammer throw, recording a mark of 65.75m (215-08) on her fifth attempt to move into fourth place where she remained at the conclusion of the event. Her finish earned the team five points while garnering her All-America honors.
A duo of Sun Devil men set personal-best times and earned All-America honors in the 3,000m steeplechase as Aaron Aguayo placed third overall for the second year in a row while Kyle Alcorn finished seventh. Aguayo clocked in at 8:32.40 to lower his school record while Alcorn recorded the second-fastest time in ASU history at 8:35.71.
The only other women to compete on the day were Latosha Wallace and Jenna Kingma. Wallace ran 57.01 in the 400m hurdles to qualify for the finals in sixth position while Kingma ran 16:55.25 to place 16th in the final of the 5,000m run. Jimmie Gordan ran the 400m dash semifinals for the men and placed 11th overall with a personal-best time of 46.29.
Saturday's events will mark the final day of competition in the championships with several Sun Devils set to compete, including: Stevens, Jessica Pressley and Ryan Whiting in the shot put, Wallace in the 400m hurdles and the team of Bridgette Williams, Shauntel Elcock, Jordan Durham and Wallace in the 4x400m relay.
2007 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Day Three Results for Arizona State
Jacquelyn Johnson - 1st overall (5,984 points) - NCAA Champion and All-American
Long Jump - 5.91m (19-04.75)(-0.5) - 822 points - 14th in event - 4th overall (4,379 points)
Javelin - 45.58m (149-06) - 775 points - 2nd in event - 1st overall (5,154 points)
800m Run - 2:19.54 - 830 points - 9th in event - 1st overall (5,984 points)
Hammer - Finals
4. Sarah Stevens - 65.75m (215-08) - All-American
Discus - Finals
2. Tai Battle - 54.79m (179-09) - All-American
Pole Vault - Final
1. April Kubishta - 4.25m (13-11.25) - NCAA Champion and All-American
400m Hurdles - Semifinal
6. Latosha Wallace - 57.01 - qualifies for final
5,000m Run - Final
16. Jenna Kingma - 16:55.25
400m Dash - Semifinal
11. Jimmie Gordon - 46.29
Women's Team Scoring (through Friday)
1. Arizona State - 38
2. USC - 27
3. LSU - 26
4. Texas Tech - 23
5. Michigan - 22
Men's Team Scoring (through Friday)
1. Florida State - 34
2. Auburn - 32
3. LSU - 31
4. North Carolina - 26
5. Wisconsin - 22
22. Arizona State - 8