Sun Devils Head to College Station for NCAA Indoor Meet

March 11, 2009

Sun Devil Meet Notes (pdf)

TEMPE - The Arizona State University track and field team will send eight individuals to College Station, Texas, this weekend where those Sun Devils will compete in the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Friday and Saturday. The meet, which will take place inside Texas A&M's Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at the McFerrin Athletic Center, will be the final indoor meet of the season in 2009.

CAN'T ATTEND?
For those fans that cannot attend the NCAA meet in Texas, the NCAA and ESPN have joined forces to bring coverage of the meet to your homes. ESPN360.com will stream live video coverage of the meet on its site while also capturing action for a show that will air on March 23 on ESPN2. NCAA.com and AggieAthletics.com will also be providing live result updates throughout the meet.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS
Arizona State enters the weekend as the defending national champions in the team standings after sweeping both crowns last year in Fayetteville, Ark. The title for the women, who captured gold with 51 points (LSU was second with 43), was their second in a row indoors and made them just one of five programs to win back-to-back titles in the women's team standings while the men won their first indoor championship with 44 points to Florida State's 41. If the women can win the team title again this weekend, they will become only the second school to win three in a row after LSU did so twice (1993-97 and 2002-04). If the men defend their title, they would become only the fourth school to go back-to-back on the men's side.

THE STAKES
The stakes will be high this weekend as teams will be fighting for a national championship while individual and relay athletes will look to capture gold in 14 events. Those same competitors also will look to be named All-Americans with Top 8 finishes in their respective events.

ARE YOU ON THE LIST?
Arizona State will be represented by eight athletes, including five women and three men. For the women, Charonda Williams has qualified for three events, including the 60m dash, the 200m dash and the 4x400m relay, while Sarah Stevens will compete in both throwing events, the shot put and the weight throw. The remaining three women, Dominique' Maloy, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin, will join Williams in the 4x400m relay. On the men's side, Jason Lewis will join Stevens as a competitor in both throwing events while Ryan Whiting will look to defend his shot put crown and true freshman Mason McHenry will look to cap a stellar indoor season in the 800m run.

AUTOMATICALLY BUSY
Sarah Stevens and Jason Lewis will be busy this weekend with both throwing events on their schedule with each entering the meet with a singular distinction: they are the only throwers to automatically qualify for both events. On top of that, Lewis holds the distinction of being the only man that qualified for both throws while Stevens is one of four women. Lewis heads into the weekend ranked fourth in both events while Stevens is ranked second in both.

BUSY WEEKEND
Stevens and Lewis will not be the only busy Sun Devils this weekend as Charonda Williams could run in five races when it is all said and done. Individually, Williams is one of 10 women (of the 17 entered in each race) that will double in the 60m dash and the 200m dash, which consists of a semifinal race and a final race. Williams also is one of three women that have qualified as a member of a 4x400m relay team and will join her teammates in the event on the final day of competition. If Williams advances to the finals in both sprints, she will run one 60m and two 200m races on Friday and one more 60m and a 400m race on Saturday.

AMONG THE BEST
While the Sun Devils have only eight athletes entered into nine events, they do stack-up well to the competition as all but one entry time/mark ranks them in the Top 8 (scoring positions at national). On the men's side, McHenry is No. 2 in the 800m run while Whiting is No. 2 in the shot put and Lewis is No. 4 in both throws. Stevens is ranked No. 2 in both throws on the women's side while Williams ranks eighth in the 200m dash, as does the 4x400m relay.

LOOKING TO DEFEND
Last year, Ryan Whiting had quite an impressive showing at the NCAA Indoor meet in Arkansas as he won the shot put with a toss of 21.73m (71-03.50), the best mark ever recorded indoors among collegiate men. If Whiting, who placed second outdoors last year in the same event, is successful in defending his title, he would become the ninth man to win two or more shot put national titles indoors and become the first since Carl Myerscough (Nebraska) to win back-to-back crowns (2003-04).

RETURNING CHAMPION
Sarah Stevens will return to the national championship meet this weekend and try to reclaim the national title she won in 2007 after placing second last year to Florida's Miriam Kevkhishvili. Both women are entered into the meet this weekend and should either win the title, that woman would become just the fifth two-time champion in the event. The last to do so came in 2003-04 (just like the men) when North Carolina's Laura Gerraughty won.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS
Four women and one man return to the NCAA Championships this weekend after earning All-America honors last year in Arkansas. On the women's side, Sarah Stevens is back after taking second in the shot put while three of the four women that placed third in the 4x400m relay -- Dominique' Maloy, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin -- are returning. The lone returning male All-American is Ryan Whiting, the 2008 champion in the shot put.

CLEAN SWEEP?
The Sun Devils have a solid chance at sweeping the men's and women's shot put crowns this weekend and, if they are able to do so, would become only the second school to ever do so indoors. Fellow Pac-10 school UCLA has done so three times in the past, winning the men's and women's event in 1991, 1995 and 1996.

HISTORIC SWEEP
Not only could ASU sweep the shot put titles, it also could find itself in another historical point as Sarah Stevens is a strong contender to win both the shot put and the weight throw in the same meet. If Stevens, who is ranked No. 2 in both events heading into the weekend, sweeps both throws, she would become the first woman and only the second student-athlete in NCAA history to win both events in the same meet. The only competitor to pull off that double is Dan Taylor (Ohio State), who won the men's shot put and weight throw in 2003.

ALL-TIME ALL-AMERICAN
Heading into the weekend, Sarah Stevens has collected 10 career All-America honors, including four last year (indoor and outdoor shot put, outdoor hammer, outdoor discus), to tie for the most in program history with Amy Hastings, Maicel Malone and Jessica Pressley. With a Top 8 finish in either event this weekend, Stevens will have earned the most All-America honors all-time at ASU among men and women.

FAB FROSH
In the men's 800m run, only three of the 14 runners entered are not juniors (four entries) or seniors (seven). One of those youngsters is true freshman Mason McHenry, the lone rookie in the event. McHenry enters the weekend ranked No. 2 in the nation with a time of 1:47.74 that he ran last weekend at the Iowa State Last Chance meet. Heading into the season, the school record was 1:49.51 and came with a fifth-place finish at the 1985 NCAA meet by Treg Scott. Twenty-four years later, McHenry's first run put him at No. 2 all-time (1:49.71) before he broke the record with a time of 1:49.00 to win the MPSF title.

CUTTING IT RELAY CLOSE
The women's 4x400m relay made the most of their last chance in Iowa State as the team of Dominique' Maloy, Charonda Williams, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin combined to run 3:35.86 and provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships. Having not achieved a qualifying mark in the event yet this season, the relay traveled to Ames and recorded a time that took them from not on the order list all the way to No. 8 in the nation and a place in the national meet.

REVIEW: MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Two weeks ago, the Sun Devils traveled to Seattle for the MPSF Indoor Championships where the women placed third overall and the men were fifth. The women captured four event crowns, including Sarah Stevens in both throws and Charonda Williams in the 60m dash and 200m dash, while the men also won four events, including Jason Lewis in the weight throw, Ryan Whiting in the shot put, Mason McHenry in the 800m run and the 4x400m relay of Joel Phillip, Darryl Elston, Justin Kremer and Donald Sanford.

STEVENS ROLLS ON
Sarah Stevens won the shot put and the weight throw at the MPSF Championships, giving her a sweep of the two throwing events for the third year in a row while also marking the fourth time she won the conference crown in the shot put. She opened the weekend by winning the weight throw with a toss of 21.58m (70-09.75) before taking the shot put the next day with a mark of 17.13m (56-02.50).

ANOTHER SWEEP
While Stevens won both throwing events on the women's side, ASU also swept the throws on the men's side as Ryan Whiting won his third-consecutive MPSF shot put title and Jason Lewis won his first conference crown by capturing the weight throw. Lewis opened the winning for the men with a toss of 21.02m (68-11.75) to defeat the defending champion by one centimeter. Whiting followed the next day with an NCAA automatic qualifying toss of 20.01m (65-07.75) to win the shot put.

ONE MORE SWEEP
The final sweep came on the track as Charonda Williams won the 60m dash and the 200m dash for the women. Williams ran a school-record 23.44 to capture the 200m dash on the first day of competition before coming back on the second day with another school-record run of 7.31. Both marks provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Championships and rank her among the Top 12 nationally this season.

ROOKIE WINNINGS
For the third year in a row, a Sun Devil freshman won a men's event at the MPSF Championships with Mason McHenry capturing the 800m run this year. McHenry ran 1:49.00, breaking a 24 year-old school record (1:49.51) set in 1985 by Treg Scott at the NCAA Championships (fifth place finish). Last year, Jeff Helmer won the 5,000m run in his first year competing for the Sun Devils one year after Ryan Whiting took the shot put.

USATF SUCCESS
While the Sun Devils were in Seattle comepting at the MSPF meet, four with ties to the program were in Boston competing at the USA Championships. Brandon Bethke, who is redshirting with the program this indoor season, competed in the 3,000m run and placed second overall in 7:53.67, trailing only David Torrance, who won in 7:54.20. Matt Turner competed in the long jump and finished second with a jump of 7.77m, just two centimeters off the winning mark. The two other competitors included Kyle Alcorn in the 1,500m run (11th) and Dwight Phillips, an Olympic Long Jump Champion (2004), in the 60m dash preliminaries (ninth).

INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN
Of the nine marks of Sun Devils entered into the NCAA Championships this weekend, six currently hold a place among the Top 20 on the world list. For the men, Jason Lewis ranks 11th internationally in the weight throw with his top toss of 22.04m while Ryan Whiting stands 15th in the shot put with his mark of 20.01m. Mason McHenry's time of 1:47.74 stands 19th among all 800m times this year. On the women's side, Sarah Stevens ranks sixth in the weight throw with a toss of 21.59m and 19th in the shot put with her mark of 17.57m while Charonda Williams ranks 19th in the 200m dash at 23.44.

TOP 8
Five of those six marks on the international list also rank among the Top 8 in the United States, including Steven's shot put mark, which ranks fourth among Americans. She also stands sixth in the weight throw. All three men's marks are in the Top 8 among Americans, including McHenry (5th in the 800m), Lewis (seventh in the weight) and Whiting (eighth in the shot put).

ACADEMICALLY SOUND
In 2008, both track & field and cross country, has seen its student-athletes earn academic honors, both in the conference and nationally. Following the most recent cross country season, Jenna Kingma was selected as the Toyo Tires Pac-10 Student-Athlete of the Year for Women's Cross Country to become the latest highly regarded honoree. Last year, April Kubishta was named the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year for women's track & field after Ryan Whiting (indoor) and Sarah Stevens (outdoor) were selected as the 2008 USTFCCCA Men's Field Scholar-Athlete and Women's Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

WORLD RECOGNIZED: WHITING
Three marks recorded at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships by the Sun Devils found a place on the all-time world rankings. Ryan Whiting's toss of 21.73m (71-03.50) in the shot put ranks as the 33rd-best throw in the history of the indoor event. Those 33 marks were recorded by 13 different men with Whiting ranking 13th overall in the world and eighth among men from the United States.

WORLD RECOGNIZED: JOHNSON
Jacquelyn Johnson also appears on the all-time world rankings list with her 4,496 point-performance in the pentathlon at the NCAA Championships in 2008. Although that score ranks as the 96th-best (tie) all-time in the world, it ranks as the third-best among American women. The scores ahead of Johnson came from DeDee Nathan (4,753 in 1999) and Kym Carter (4,696 in 1995).

WORLD RECOGNIZED: DMR
The distance medley relay team of Joey Heller, Justin Kremer, Nectaly Barbosa and Kyle Alcorn ran a school-record 9:32.49 and finished as the national runners-up. That time, which ranks 29th all-time on the world lists, sparked the Sun Devil men to the national title.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS
There are 15 athletes returning for the Sun Devils this year that have earned All-America honors in their ASU careers, including nine women and six men. Those women include Jeavon Benjamin, Shauntel Elcock, Stephanie Garnett, Kari Hardt, Ali Kielty, Jenna Kingma, Dominique' Maloy, Sarah Stevens and Charonda Williams with the men's group comprised of Nectaly Barbosa, Darryl Elston, Joey Heller, Justin Kremer, Joel Phillip and Ryan Whiting.

BACK FOR MORE
The 2009 Sun Devil rosters are made up of 96 student-athletes. There are 52 men and 44 women that will compete for the Sun Devils, including 25 men and 23 women that are returning from last year.

HELLO! MY NAME IS...
Of those 96 athletes on the roster this spring, 48 are new to the program, including 27 men and 21 women. Thirty of the 48 newcomers are freshmen, including 14 women and 16 men that are entering their first collegiate seasons after high school graduation.

IT'S ACADEMIC
Last year, six members of the program were honored with academic accolades from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as three men and three women were named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII teams. For the men, Justin Kremer and Ryan Whiting both earned first team honors while Jason Lewis was a second team selection. The women saw April Kubishta and Sarah Stevens each earned first team honors while Ali Kielty was a second-team honoree.

FOR THE RECORD - JOHNSON
Jacquelyn Johnson and Ryan Whiting both set collegiate records in winning their national crowns over the weekend. Johnson, who entered the meet with a best of 4,312 points in the pentathlon, ended the meet with 4,496 points, breaking the collegiate record of 4,439 points set in 2002 by Austra Skuyte (Kansas State) and bettering the meet mark of 4,412 points scored by Hyleas Fountain (Georgia) in 2004 when she defeated Johnson for the first NCAA pentathlon crown.

FOR THE RECORD - WHITING
While Johnson broke a record that was set a few years ago, Whiting broke the 31 year-old mark of Terry Albritton (Stanford), who threw 70-06.50 (21.50m) in 1977. Whiting, who recorded a toss of 71-03.50 (21.73m) on his final throw of the competition, is now the collegiate, meet and Pac-10 indoor record holder while ranking third all-time on the Pac-10 lists as two marks recorded outdoors are ahead of his indoor record toss.

IN THE BLOCKS
Arizona State opens its outdoor season at home next weekend when it plays host to its first of five home events, the Baldy Castillo Invitational. The meet will take place on Friday, March 20 (hammer only) and Saturday, March 21 (all other events). Some of the schools scheduled to visit Tempe for the meet include BYU, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisville, Manhattan, Mesa CC, Minnesota, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa and South Dakota.

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