30th Sun Angel Track Classic Awaits ASU Track & Field
April 9, 2009
TEMPE - One of the top collegiate track and fields meets is set to take place once again this weekend as the Arizona State University program will play host to the 30th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola on Friday and Saturday on Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe. Filled with numerous Olympians, national champions and All-Americans, the SATC will feature several of the nation's elite collegiate teams and the rising stars in the sport.
GO WITH THE FLO
Flotrack (flotrack.org) will be on site throughout the 30th Sun Angel Track Classic and will be providing video highlights and interviews on their website throughout the meet.
Meet results for the Classic will be updated periodically throughout the meet on the Sun Devils home on the internet (thesundevils.com). The final complete results will be posted on the site following the conclusion of the event as well.
ON THE SLATE
The Classic begins Friday afternoon with three hammer competitions, including the women's hammer, the women's elite hammer and the men's hammer, starting at Noon. On Saturday, the meet opens at 10 a.m. with the men's discus competition while other field events begin on the hour starting at 11 a.m. On the track, the early sections of running events will take place starting at 2:20 p.m. with the premiere events starting at 6:00 p.m.
MEET HONOREE - Dwight Phillips
Former Sun Devil All-American and 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Dwight Phillips is being honored as this year's Classic honoree, extending a tradition of recognizing members of the track and field community for their excellence in competition and dedication to the growth of the sport. Phillips competed for the Sun Devils for two years (1999-00) and made a lasting impact on the program as he captured four Pac-10 titles, including the long jump twice, while garnering All-America honors six times. Phillips was a versatile competitor as he earned his All-America honors in the long jump (three times), triple jump (once), the 4x100m relay (once) and the 4x400m relay (once). The ASU record holder in the long jump (indoors and outdoors) and the indoor triple jump, Phillips also has his name on the all-time Top 10 lists at ASU in the 100m (outdoor) and 60m (indoor) events. Following his time in Tempe, Phillips competed for Team USA in a pair of Olympiads as he placed eighth in the long jump at the 2000 Games in Sydney before returning to the Games in 2004 where he won gold. In his career, Phillips has captured five World titles (two outdoor and three indoor) and added three USA titles.
IN THE FIELD - TEAMS
As always, the Sun Angel Track Classic brings in some of the top teams in the nation and the 30th installment of the Classic will be no different as athletes representing 37 different universities from around the nation will be in Tempe this weekend. Among those teams are nine men's and six women's programs that are currently ranked among the Top 25 in the latest USTFCCCA national rankings. On the men's side, the Classic will have athletes from No. 3 Arkansas, No. 7 LSU, No. 14 Washington, No. 16 ASU, No. 17 USC, No. 19 Northern Iowa, No. 20 Auburn, No. 23 Minnesota and No. 24 BYU while the women's competition will feature competitors from No. 3 LSU, No. 6 ASU, No. 9 USC, No. 15 Minnesota, No. 16 Auburn and No. 23 Arizona.
IN THE FIELD - OLYMPIANS
This year's Classic will not only have some of the best collegiate competitors, it also will feature 19 Olympians, 16 of which represented their nation at the 2008 Beijing Games. Kerron Stewart (Jamaica) leads the way for the women as she took silver in the 100m dash and bronze in the 200m dash in Beijing while the men's side features seven medalists, including gold winners and former Sun Devils Nick Hysong (USA) in the pole vault and Dwight Phillips (USA) in the 100m and 200m (won gold in the long jump). More recent medalists include American Bershawn Jackson in the 400m hurdles (bronze), Leevan Sands (Bahamas) in the long jump (bronze in the triple) and Richard Thompson (Trinidad & Tobago) in the 100m (silver) and 200m (he also earned silver in the 4x100m relay).
Several events in the premiere portion of the Classic have some interesting match-ups as the events could be a preview of things to come at the NCAA Championships in June. While the races will be fast and marks plentiful in the field events, here is just a taste of some of the top events this weekend:
• Women's 100m Premiere (second heat) features three All-Americans from the indoor 60m dash this past March in Kenyanna Wilson of LSU (3rd), Charonda Williams of ASU (6th) and Samantha Henry of LSU (7th)
• Women's 4x400m Premiere features three indoor finalists in ASU (2nd), Illinois (10th) and Auburn (13th) and two Top 5 finishes from the 2008 outdoor meet in LSU (2nd) and ASU (5th)
• Women's Pole Vault Section 1 features three indoor All-Americans from this season, including Alicia Rue of Minnesota (2nd), Gabriella Duclos of Arizona (4th) and Rachel Laurent of LSU (5th)
• Women's Shot Put Premiere has four competitors that placed in the Top 10 at the 2009 indoor meet, including Sarah Stevens of ASU (2nd), Aja Evans of Illinois (5th) and Arizona's Nicole Lloyd (9th) and Megan Howard (10th)
• Men's 400m dash (second heat of the invitational) will have three indoor All-Americans in Jordan Boase of Washington (3rd), Robert Simmons of LSU (4th) and Jarrin Solomon of New Mexico (5th), plus two men that were outdoor All-Americans last year in Joel Phillip of ASU (7th) and Terrance Reid of Northern Iowa (8th)
• Men's 800m Premiere will feature 2008 indoor champion Tyler Mulder (Northern Iowa), who also took third this year, along with Austin Abbot of Washington and Elkana Kosgei (Kenya), who placed seventh and fourth, respectively, last outdoor season
• Men's Hammer will feature three Top 5 finishers from the 2009 indoor weight, including champion Jason Lewis of ASU, Walter Henning of LSU (4th) and Simon Wardaugh of Boise State (5th)
• Men's Shot Put Premiere is almost a mini-redo of the 2009 indoor meet with champion Ryan Whiting of ASU, Aaron Studt of Minnesota (2nd), Zach Lloyd of Arizona (3rd), Jason Lewis of ASU (4th) and John Hickey of Iowa (9th) all in the field
LAST TIME OUT: ASU INVITE
The Sun Devils have not competed since the Arizona State Invitational was held on March 27-28. At that meet, the Sun Devils won six events and placed among the Top 3 13 times while tallying 17 regional qualifying marks. On the track, Jasmine Chaney had another monster day as she won both women’s hurdle events with regional qualifying times while also helping the 4x100m relay not only qualify for the next level, but become just the second women’s relay to run a sub-44 in the event. With teammates Dominique’ Maloy, Shauntel Elcock and Charonda Williams, the Sun Devils clocked in at 43.92, trailing on the time of 43.52 for the school record. Individually, Chaney captured the 100m hurdles in 13.79 before taking the 400m hurdles in 59.56. Her sub-minute time in the long hurdles also stands as the ninth-best in program history. Several fast times were produced by the men as well, with Mason McHenry taking the spotlight. A true freshman, McHenry won the 800m run by nearly two seconds, breaking the tape in 1:48.25 to record one of the top times in the nation this year. His time also stands as the sixth-best in program history. In the field, Corey Phallen posted a big personal-best as he cleared 5.15m in the pole vault to equal the top mark of the meet and place second on the tie-breaker. His clearance places him ninth on the school’s all-time list and pushes his coach, Ron Barela, down to 10th at 5.08m.
So far this outdoor season, several newcomers to the program have made immediate impacts, especially on the men's side. True freshman Mason McHenry currently leads the nation in the 800m run while junior transfer Brandon Bethke also ranks highly in the 1,500m run and Ray Miller has helped the men's 4x400m relay qualify for the regional meet. On the women's side, Cj Navarro has already qualified for the regional meet for the discus with several others on the cusp of attaining those standards.
ON THE LIST - MEN
The men have 13 regional qualifying marks on the books this season with four of those marks ranking among the scoring positions (Top 8 nationally). Leading the way is Mason McHenry, who ranks No. 1 in the NCAA at 800m with his ASU Invite winning time of 1:48.25. Also in the Top 8 are Ryan Whiting in the discus (2nd at 60.73m), Brandon Bethke in the 1,500m run (6th in 3:44.49) and Marcus Duncan in the 200m dash (tied for 6th in 20.80).
ON THE LIST - WOMEN
While the women have only 10 marks on the national lists with nine regional qualifiers, half of those marks rank in the scoring places (Top 8). Sarah Stevens has picked up where she left off last year as the three-event All-American is currently second in the discus (54.10m) and third in the hammer (63.18m). The 4x100m relay currently stands fifth overall with their time of 43.92 while Jenna Kingma stands eighth in the 5,000m run (16:09.11). Ali Kielty also is on the national list in the 10,000m run, ranking sixth (33:56.97) in an event that is only held at the national meet (no regional race).
WHERE IN THE WORLD?
Three current Sun Devils and four former athletes all hold marks that rank them among the Top 20 in the world, including two that are ranked third. Current team member Marcus Duncan is 20th in the 200m (20.80) and Mason McHenry is 16th in the 800m (1:48.25) while Ali Kielty stands 10th in the 10,000m run (33:56.97) while Marcus Brunson (third in the 100m dash at 10.12) and Lisa Galaviz (third in the steeple at 9:58.41) lead the way for the former Sun Devils. The other two on the list include Jessica Pressley, who is 19th in the shot put (17.12m), and Latosha Wallace, who is 20th in the 400m hurdles (58.43).
On March 13-14, the 2009 indoor season came to a close for the Sun Devils as eight members of the team traveled to College Station, Texas, for the NCAA Indoor Championships and returned to Tempe with a pair of fifth-place team finishes and 12 total All-America honors. Jason Lewis (weight throw) and Ryan Whiting (shot put) each won national titles to pace the three men while Charonda Williams earned All-America honors in three events to lead the five women at the meet.
THEY'RE ALL ALL-AMERICANS
All three men and all five women that competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships over the weekend earned All-America honors with three athletes earning multiple awards. Jason Lewis was the lone man to earn multiple honors as he finished first in the weight throw and fourth in the shot put while Sarah Stevens earned honors in the same women's events with finishes of fourth and second, respectively. Charonda Williams led the way, though, as she was an individual All-American in the 60m dash (sixth) and 200m dash (third) before joining Dominique' Maloy, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin to place second in the 4x400m relay. The final All-American was true freshman Mason McHenry in the men's 800m run, where he placed ninth overall and was the eighth American to finish.
Heading into the NCAA Championships, Jason Lewis, who came to the program as a walk on, had not earned an All-America honor. But that all changed last weekend as Lewis not only earned two All-America honors, he placed among the Top 4 in both events and captured the weight throw national title with a three-foot personal-best throw. Ranked No. 4 in both events heading into the meet, Lewis opened the Championships by finishing fourth in the shot put with a toss of 19.17m (62-10.75) to earn his first national honor. The next day, however, he topped that performance with a school and facility record and three-foot personal best toss of 22.88m (75-00.75) in the weight throw to capture the national title.
Ryan Whiting broke his own facility record to win the shot put and successfully defend the crown he won last year as he recorded a winning mark of 20.16m (66-10.75) to take the shot put by almost three feet. With his back-to-back crowns in the event, Whiting became the ninth man in NCAA indoor history to win the shot put twice in a career and became the first back-to-back winner since Carl Myerscough of Nebraska in 2002-03.
HOOKED ON A FIELD-ING
The Arizona State throws program made a big name for itself once again at the national meet as Assistant Coach David Dumble's three throwers combined for two national titles, one national runner-up and five All-America honors in the only two throwing events available. Along with the three Top 3 placements, the other two finishes remained among the Top 4 as well. On the men's side, the 25 points earned tied the team for fifth-place, just four points shy of finishing tied for fourth and earning a trophy.
WILLIAMS RUNS WILD
Charonda Williams had an outstanding meet for the Sun Devil women at the NCAA Indoor Championships as the sprint standout earned three All-America honors while recording two school records as well. Last year, Williams qualified only in the 200m dash and did not advance out of the preliminary round. This year, she was the eighth qualifier for the national meet and advanced to the final with the sixth-best time in the field at a then-school record 23.23. In the finals later that night, she crushed that time down to 22.89, the fourth-best in the world this year, to take third overall. Then, in the finals of the 60m dash, she advanced to the finals with the sixth-best time of 7.30 (school record) after entering the meet ranked 12th. In the finals, she finished sixth to earn her second All-America honor. In the final event of the meet, she ran the second leg of the 4x400m relay, helping the team to a time of 3:34.30 to finish as the national runners-up.
STEVENS SHINES AGAIN
In her previous six trips to the NCAA Championships (three indoor and three outdoor), Sarah Stevens had collected one indoor shot put crown, one outdoor discus crown and a school record-tying 10 career All-America honors. Over the weekend, Stevens competed in both throws and took national runner-up honors in the shot put for the second year in a row one day after taking fourth in the weight throw to give her a school record 11th and 12th All-America honor. And, to top all of that, she accepted a marriage proposal at the end of the meet from her boyfriend, Ross.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Sun Devils will send a few individuals to the Mt. SAC Relays next week before returning home to play host to the Sun Devil Invitational on April 24-25 in Tempe.