ASU T&F Heads to NCAA Championships This Weekend

March 9, 2010

Sun Devil Meet Notes (pdf)

TEMPE - The first half of the track & field season comes to a close for Arizona State University this weekend as 11 Sun Devils will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., and the Randal Tyson Track Center to compete in the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet, hosted by Arkansas, will be held on Friday and Saturday with Sun Devils athletes competing on both days.

THE STAKES
As with all the NCAA Championship events, the stakes are high as team and individual championships will be earned this weekend. Also up for grabs are All-America honors, which are earned by placing in the Top 8 of an event.

TROPHY HUNTING
Dating back to the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, the Sun Devils have fared quite well as seven of those eight meets have seen either the men, the women or both walk away with a national trophy (Top 4 nationally). That streak included 2006 women indoor (3rd), 2006 women outdoor (tie-4th), 2007 women indoor (1st), 2007 women outdoor (1st), 2008 men and women indoor (1st for both) and 2008 women outdoor (2nd) before both teams placed fifth at the 2009 indoor meet (the women took third outdoors in 2009). Arizona State was close to a trophy finish at the 2009 indoor championships as the women scored 30 points, just one point shy of tying Texas for fourth (31 points) while the men totaled 25 points, four behind LSU.

FIRST AWARDS
The USTFCCCA released its first awards of the track and field season on Tuesday and named assistant coach David Dumble as the 2010 USTFCCCA Men's West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. Dumble, who also earned this award on the women's side indoors (2008) and outdoors (2006, 2008), heads to Arkansas this weekend with a pair of defending national champions in Ryan Whiting (shot put) and Jason Lewis (weight throw). Lewis also will be competing in the shot put, where he placed fourth one year ago.

NATIONALLY KNOWN
The USTFCCCA released the final rankings for the indoor season that have the Sun Devil men ranked fourth heading into the national championships, up from the fifth position they had held for the past month. Florida, Oregon and Texas A&M are the three teams ranked ahead of the Sun Devils. The ASU women are not among the Top 25 listing that has Oregon, Texas A&M, LSU and Florida in the Top 4 heading into the NCAA Championships.

WATCHING WHITING
The USTFCCCA announced last week the latest update to the Bowerman watch list with Ryan Whiting remaining among the 10 men to watch this season. The watch list for the 2010 awarding of The Bowerman, as selected by The Bowerman Men’s Watch Committee, is designed to keep tabs on the top collegiate athletes in track & field with an award that will be given to the top male and top female collegiate track & field athlete at the end of the season. (TheBowerman.org) Whiting is the two-time defending indoor shot put national champion and recently finished second in the shot put at the 2010 USATF Indoor Championships.

RETURNING CHAMPIONS
Two of the Sun Devil men that will compete this weekend are returning NCAA champions, including Ryan Whiting (shot put) and Jason Lewis (weight). Whiting returns and will look to become a three-time champion in the indoor shot put after winning the past two titles while also adding the 2009 outdoor crown to give him a sweep of the event last year. Lewis, who hit a personal-best and school-record mark of 75-00.75 last year to win the weight throw for his first title and All-America honor, enters the meet ranked fourth nationally this year.

MORE ON WHITING
With a victory in the shot put at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships, Whiting would become just the third man to win the shot put three years in a row at the indoor championships and the first since Hans Hogland (UTEP) did so in 1973-1974-1975. He also would become only the fourth to win the event three or more times in a career and first to do so since Michael Carter (SMU) won crowns in 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984.

MORE ON LEWIS
Lewis not only will look to defend his national title this year, but also continue a recent streak of success in the event that was started in 2005. That year, Spyridon Jullien (Virginia Tech) won the title and then again in 2006. Following that, Egor Agafonov (Kansas) won the next two titles in a row (2007, 2008) before Lewis won last year.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS: MEN
Last year, three men earned All-America honors from the USTFCCCA, including both returning national champions and one true freshman. Jason Lewis collected the first honors of his career by winning the weight throw and taking fourth in the shot put while Whiting added another All-America honor by winning the shot put. Mason McHenry ran in the 800m event and earned All-America honors as a freshman last year and all three men are competing in those same events this weekend.

READY TO RUN
This weekend, senior Donald Sanford could run a mile to help the Sun Devils as he is currently entered into three events. Sanford qualified eighth nationally in the 400m dash (46.19) and also is part of the fourth-ranked distance medley relay and the sixth-ranked 4x400m relay. If Sanford advances to the finals of the 400m dash on Saturday and competes in both relays, he will run the 400m distance four times in two days.

ONE OF TWO, TWO TIMES
The Sun Devils head to Arkansas with several instances of being one-of-two in the field:
Jason Lewis qualified individually in the weight throw and shot put for the second year in a row and is one of two men to do so this year after being the only one to accomplish that feat one year ago. Lewis (4th in the weight, 10th in the shot put) and Aaron Studt of Minnesota (3rd in the shot put, 7th in the weight) are the two double qualifiers this year.
• On the track, ASU and conference rival Oregon are the only two men's teams to qualify both relays for this year's meet. The Sun Devils enter the meet ranked sixth in the 4x400m relay and fourth in the DMR while the Ducks are ninth in the sprint event and first in the DMR.

ONE WITH TWO, ONE TIME
During the indoor season, nine freshmen women posted times/marks that automatically qualified them for the NCAA Championships this weekend with seven of those women competing as true freshmen. LSU, Oregon, Villanova, Arizona, Texas Tech, BYU and Oklahoma joined Arizona State as schools that automatically qualified one freshman woman for the national meet, but only the Sun Devils automatically qualified two rookies this weekend as both Constance Ezugha and Christabel Nettey met the automatic standard in the long jump two weeks ago and will compete in their first national meet this weekend. Ezugha enters the weekend with the eighth-best (tie) mark nationally while Nettey ranks 11th.

FAMILIARITY - PART I
Competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas is nothing new for the Sun Devils as the championships have been held at Randal Tyson Track Center many times before. Most recently, the 2008 meet was held there with the Sun Devils sweeping the men's and women's titles. In fact, the first time the women earned a trophy finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships was at the 2006 meet in Arkansas when ASU took third place.

FAMILIARITY - PART II
Looking back at the 2008 Championships, there are several similarities between this year's team and the team that won the national title. In 2008, 10 men competed at the meet with athletes in the 400m dash, 3,000m run, 4x400m relay, distance medley relay, long jump, shot put and weight throw. This year, nine men will compete with entries in the 400m dash, 800m run, 5,000m run, 4x400m relay, distance medley relay, shot put and weight throw.

THE LAST TIME...
The last time the Sun Devils competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas:
Ryan Whiting won the shot put with a collegiate indoor record toss of 21.73m (71-03.50)
Jacquelyn Johnson won her third pentathlon title with an NCAA record 4,496 points
Kyle Alcorn, ranked 14th entering the meet, won the 3,000m run in 8:00.82
• The women won their second national indoor title in a row while the men won their first
• Nine women and nine men each earned All-America honors in the meet

STREAKING
Heading into the weekend, the Sun Devil men have place in the Top 10 in four-consecutive NCAA Championships and the women have done so in eight in a row. The men placed first and sixth (indoor and outdoor, respectively) in 2008 and fifth and eighth in 2009 while the women have went third and fourth (tied) in 2006, first and first in 2007, first and second in 2008 and fifth and third in 2009. For the men, their Top 10 finishes in each of the last two indoor seasons marked just the second and third time, respectively, that the program has done so with the only other instance coming in 2000 (tied for 10th). The women's streak of four in row also doubles the total of Top 10 finishes the program had recorded prior to 2006 with the previous finishes coming in 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1991.

IT'S ACADEMIC
Last week, the USTFCCCA released its national academic honorees for the 2009 cross country season and the Sun Devils earned mention on three lists. Individually, Brandon Bethke was selected to the men's academic team before both Sun Devil teams earned spots on the academic list based on their overall grade-point average.

ON THE WORLD CHARTS
Three current Sun Devils have posted marks that rank highly on the world lists, including Ryan Whiting, who stands third in the men's shot put with a toss of 21.52m. Fellow thrower Jason Lewis is 13th on the weight throw list at 21.92m while Donald Sanford has run 46.19 in the 400m dash, which stands as the 14th-best time in the world. Also holding positions on the world list are Trevell Quinely (long jump, 20th, 7.99m) for the men and women's athletes Amy Hastings (3000m, 21st, 8:58.45) and Sarah Stevens (shot put, 19th, 17.99m).

NATIONAL REPS
With the conclusion of the USATF Indoor Championships over the weekend, Team USA for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, have been set with one Sun Devil earning a position in the world event set for March 12-14. That qualifier, Ryan Whiting in the men's shot put, will not be competing for Team USA, however, as the NCAA Indoor Championships will be taking place the same weekend in Arkansas where Whiting will try to win his third indoor shot put title in a row. While Whiting will not be representing the U.S., former Sun Devil Desiree Davila will as she was selected to compete in the 3,000m run in Qatar. Another former Sun Devil, Amy Hastings, also will wear the red, white and blue, only she will do so at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships later in the month (March 28) in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Hastings competed at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Spokane, Wash., on February 13, and finished third overall in the women's open race with a time of 26:06. The Top 7 finishers qualified for the national team.

CONFERENCE RECAP
The Sun Devils competed in the MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships with both squads placing fourth overall in the team standings as the men scored 79 points and the women 75 while UCLA (108.5) and Oregon (133) took the team titles in the men's and women's races, respectively. Overall, the Sun Devils collected seven total conference crowns and posted 17 marks that qualified for the NCAA Championships, including two automatic qualifiers in the women's long jump, seven total provisional qualifiers for the women and eight provisional qualifiers for the men.

MPSF CHAMPIONS
Five individual and two relay titles were captured by the Sun Devils at the MPSF Championships, including a sweep of the open 400m dash and the 4x400m relay. For the women, true freshman Constance Ezugha jumped 6.45m (21-02.00) to win the long jump and automatically qualify for the NCAA meet while Jasmine Chaney took the 400m dash in 53.83. Chaney, who was second in the 60m hurdles, came back later in the meet and joined Dominique' Maloy, Keia Pinnick and Kayla Sanchez to win the 4x400m relay in 3:38.40. For the men, Lawrence Trice took the title in the 60m dash (6.68), Donald Sanford won the 400m dash (46.19) and Mason McHenry repeated as the 800m dash champion (1:48.89). Sanford also helped the team of Allante Battle, Justin Kremer and Joel Phillip win the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:07.38.

WORKING HARD
Two sprinters were busy at the MPSF Championships as both Jasmine Chaney and Joel Phillip were part of three events with Top 2 finishes recorded in all six. Chaney won the 400m dash (53.38) and took second in the 60m hurdles (8.33) before helping the 4x400m relay to victory (3:38.40) while Sanford won the 400m dash (46.19) before helping the 4x400m relay take the title (3:07.38) and the distance medley relay take second with a school-record time of 9:31.34.

RECORD RUN
The team of Nectaly Barbosa, Donald Sanford, Mason McHenry and Brandon Bethke came together to compete in the distance medley relay and took second with a time of 9:31.34, which is the school record. Barbosa was a member of the former record relay that saw Joey Heller, Justin Kremer, Barbosa and Kyle Alcorn run 9:32.49 to take second at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2008. As the anchor of the relay, Bethke is now part of two record runs this year as he set the standard in the 3,000m run earlier this year by running 7:54.27 at the Husky Classic, bettering a 19 year-old record of 7:54.31 run by Todd Lewis in 1991.

USATF MEET
While many of the Sun Devils were in Seattle at the MPSF meet, a handful of current and former members of the program competed at the USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., with several Top 4 finishes recorded. Current Sun Devil Ryan Whiting took second in the shot put with a toss of 21.03m (see below) while the women's shot put competition saw former team members Sarah Stevens and Jessica Pressley take third (17.99m) and fourth (17.31m), respectively. Desiree Davila took fourth in the women's 3,000m run, finishing in 9:21.05. Also competing in the meet were current Sun Devils Anna Jelmini, who placed seventh in the women's shot put (16.36m), and Jason Lewis, who was 10th in the men's shot put (17.43m), and former Olympic champion Nick Hysong in the men's pole vault, placing 12th overall (5.25m).

MORE ALL-AMERICANS: MEN
Four other men also return that have earned All-America honors in recent years, including Brandon Bethke, who earned national honors at the 2009 NCAA outdoor meet in the 5,000m run before taking seventh overall this past fall at the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The three other returning All-Americans earned their honors during the 2008 season: Nectaly Barbosa was an All-American outdoors in the 800m and on the indoor distance medley relay team; Justin Kremer was a member of two indoor All-American relays, including the 4x400m and the DMR; and Joel Phillip earned honors in the indoor and outdoor 400m dash along with the indoor 4x400m relay.

BACK FOR MORE
Speaking of returning, head coach Greg Kraft is back to lead the way for the 14th year in a row and will look to guide the Sun Devils back to the top of the podium at the NCAA Championships as his squads did in 2007 (women's indoor and women's outdoor) and 2008 (men's and women's indoor). Since taking over the program in 1996, Kraft has built Arizona State into one of the top all-around programs in the nation. Among the coaches that have led the program, his tenure with the Sun Devil men is surpassed only by the 17 years of service legendary coach Senon 'Baldy' Castillo put in (1954-79 and 1985) while his 14 years leading the women's program is the longest in ASU history (Anne Pittman, 1958-67).

NEXT TIME OUT
The outdoor season gets underway next weekend as the Sun Devils play host to the Baldy Castillo Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Sun Angel Stadium on campus. The hammer throw will be contested on Friday with all other events taking place on Saturday. Some of the teams set to compete with the Sun Devils include: Northern Arizona, Nebraska, North Dakota, North Dakota State, South Dakota, Manhattan and Utah State.

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