Stevens Wins Discus, Alcorn Steeplechase to Pace ASU Track & Field
June 13, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa - Sarah Stevens led a fantastic finish in the women's discus with the second individual national title of her career and Kyle Alcorn captured his second national title of the year with a win in the 3,000m steeplechase as the Arizona State University track and field team climbed the team standings following the third day of action at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday.
The women are in the overall lead with 36 points through Friday night while LSU is second with 31. Stanford (21), Texas Tech (20) and Texas A&M (18) round out the Top 5 in the women's standings. On the men's side, Florida State leads with 32 points through 13 events while LSU trails with 31 points. Auburn (26), Colorado (24) and the trio of Arizona State, Texas A&M and Kentucky have scored 18 to round out the Top 5 in the men's race.
Before the day started, the Sun Devil women, the defending national outdoor champions and winners of the last three team crowns (twice indoor), had not scored a point in the meet. But, after two throwing events, the women took over the lead as the trio of Stevens, Tai Battle and Jessica Pressley combined for 20 points in the discus by finishing first, second and seventh, respectively, after Stevens (third) and Pressley (fourth) scored 11 points in the hammer.
Stevens, only the third Sun Devil to win the discus (Ria Stahlman in 1981 and Leslie Deniz in 1983), opened the day with a toss of 66.37m to place third in the hammer and record six team points while Pressley was fourth with a mark of 65.28m to earn five points. Later in the day, Battle was the leader in the discus through the third round (of six) with her mark of 55.69m, the sixth-best in ASU history, but Stevens took over the lead and the eventual win with a mark of 56.14m in the fourth round. Pressley, who entered the finals in eighth place, moved up to seventh with her toss of 50.27m in the final round.
Alcorn won his second national title of the year as he bolted to the front of the race with 600m remaining and held on for the victory with his winning time of 8:28.26, just ahead of runner-up Billy Nelson of Colorado (8:28.85). Alcorn's time is the second-fastest in school history (Aaron Aguayo, 8:27.01 in 2007) and also stands as the stadium record at Drake. With his second title of the year (he also won the 3,000m run indoors), he becomes only the second multiple champion in an individual event in ASU men's history, joining Ulis Williams (440y dash in 1963 and 1964) as well as the only Sun Devil male to win two crowns in the same year.
Jacquelyn Johnson began her quest to become the first four-time heptathlon champion and just the fourth woman to win the same event four times in a career in NCAA history as she scored 3,606 points to hold a slim lead in the event through the first four events. Minnesota's Liz Roehrig is second at 3,581 while Bettie Wade of Michigan is third with 3,560 points. Johnson claimed the first two events of the day, winning the 100m hurdles in 13.42 (1062 points) before clearing 1.78m (953 points) in the high jump. She then placed eighth in the shot put at 12.33m (683 points) before taking sixth in the 200m dash (908 points) to close out the day.
Along with the five total All-America honors earned by Stevens, Pressley and Battle, senior April Kubishta, the 2007 champion, placed fourth in the pole vault to also claim the national honor. Ryan Whiting also earned All-America honors in the men's discus as he finished ninth with a toss of 56.27m. Joel Phillip is on his way to earning All-America honors as well as he was the eighth and final qualifier for the finals of the 400m dash with a time of 45.94.
The Championships will conclude Saturday. The women will have competitors in Johnson (heptathlon), Stevens (shot put), Pressley (shot put) and the 4x400m relay of Dominique' Maloy, Jordan Durham, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin while the men will have competitors in Whiting (shot put) and Phillip (400m).
NCAA Outdoor Championships - Day 3 (Friday)
Men's 3,000m Steeplechase - Final
1. Kyle Alcorn - 8:28.26 - NCAA Champion and All-American
Men's 400m Dash - Semifinal
8. Joel Phillip - 45.94 - advances to final (Saturday)
Men's Discus - Final
9. Ryan Whiting - 56.27m - All-American
1. Jacquelyn Johnson - 3,606 points
1. 100m hurdles - 13.42 (1062 points) - first overall
1. High Jump - 1.78m (953 points) - first overall
8. Shot Put - 12.33m (683 points) - first overall
6. 200m dash - 24.77 (908 points) - first overall
Women's Pole Vault - Final
4. April Kubishta - 4.20m - All-American