Lewis Captures NCAA Title in Weight as Both ASU Squads Finish Fifth
March 14, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A nearly three-foot personal best put Jason Lewis on top of the men’s weight throw competition to give the former walk-on the national title at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday evening as both Arizona State University teams placed fifth overall in the national meet being held on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas. Lewis was one of eight Sun Devils to compete on the weekend that earned All-America honors and led the way on the final day that produced two more national runner-up placements and a sixth-place showing.
In the team standings, Tennessee won the women’s crown with 42 points and was followed by Texas A&M (37), BYU (22), Texas (31) and the Sun Devils (30) while the men’s crown went to Oregon, who won with 54 points. The men’s Top 5 was rounded out by Florida (36), Florida State (32), LSU (29) and ASU, Baylor and Nebraska in fifth (25).
One of two impressive standouts on the weekend for the small Sun Devil squad, Lewis entered the weekend with a personal-best toss of 22.04m (72-03.75) to rank fourth overall in the nation before winning the national crown. After a shaky start on his first throw, Lewis proceeded to put two fair throws together, including a toss that landed him a spot in the final as the sixth-best thrower. After a foul on his fourth toss, Lewis let it fly and landed the 35-pound implement at 22.88m (75-00.75), nearly three-feet past his previous best. The mark was good enough to give the Sun Devil junior the national crown, his second All-America honor of the weekend and give ASU a sweep of the two throws after teammate Ryan Whiting won the shot put one day earlier.
Equally as impressive was the weekend that sprinter Charonda Williams put together. After placing third in the 200m dash one day earlier with a school-record time of 22.89, Williams came back in the finals of the 60m dash and collected her second All-America crown of the weekend by placing sixth in 7.32. But, Williams was not done as she joined the 4x400m relay team of Dominique’ Maloy, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin in the final event of the meet and her fifth race in two days.
The relay, ranked eighth heading into the meet, ran in the second of four heats and took second in the heat with a time of 3:34.30, trailing only host Texas A&M’s 3:32.52. Anxiously awaiting the results of the final two heats, the Sun Devils saw no other times recorded among the seven remaining teams finish faster than theirs, placing them second overall and earning All-America honors for the group. With the honor, Williams collected three All-America plaques in three events and placed among the Top 6 in all three, including one third and one runner-up.
Back in the field, Sarah Stevens put on quite a show with Florida’s Miriam Kevhkishvili as the past two national indoor champions (Stevens in 2007, Kevhkishvili in 2008), battled back and forth for the lead. Stevens took the early lead in round one before the Gator took it away with Stevens tying the leading mark in the second round. In the finals and Kevhkishvili leading the meet based on a better second throw, Stevens again took the lead before it was taken back for good by Kevhkishvili as the Gator won by 10 centimeters to defend her crown. In the end, Stevens recorded a season-best mark of 17.74m (58-02.50) to finish second for the second year in a row while garnering her 12th-career All-America honor.
In all, the Sun Devils qualified eight athletes to the meet, including three men and five women, with all five women scoring points toward the team total and two of the three men doing the same. All eight, however, each earned at least one All-America honor on the weekend, including true freshman Mason McHenry in the men’s 800m run.
With the conclusion of the NCAA meet, the indoor season has come to a close, but that doesn’t end competition for the Sun Devils as they will jump right into the outdoor season next weekend at home by playing host to the Baldy Castillo Invitational on Friday and Saturday on Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium. The hammer will take place on Friday at 1 p.m. with all other events taking place on Saturday.
Meet Highlights - NCAA Indoor Championships, Day 2
Saturday, March 14 • College Station Texas
NCAA National Champions
Jason Lewis - M Weight - 22.88m (75-00.75) - school record & facility record
Women’s NCAA All-Americans
Sarah Stevens - W Shot Put - 17.74m (58-02.50) - second place
Charonda Williams - W 60m dash - 7.32 - sixth place
W 4x400m Relay (Maloy, Williams, Elcock, Benjamin) - 3:34.30 - second place
Men’s NCAA All-Americans
Jason Lewis - M Weight - 22.88m (75-00.75) - national champion, school record & facility record
On the ASU All-Time Top 5 Lists
Jason Lewis - M Weight - 22.88m (75-00.75) - school record
W 4x400m Relay (Maloy, Williams, Elcock, Benjamin) - 3:34.30 - ASU #4 all-time