Women End Nine Year Skid Against ASU
May 1, 2010
TUCSON - It had been nine years since the Arizona women's track and field team last defeated ASU in the annual Dual Meet. Saturday, the UA women made sure to not let the streak reach a decade.
Nearly ten years to the day since the women last bested the Sun Devils in a rivalry meet, the Wildcats took down the squad from Tempe by a score of 107-93 Saturday at Drachman Stadium.
The men put up a strong fight on their own side but fell short to ASU 115-85, though they handled NAU on the other end of the Dual, 115-86. The women also easily defeated NAU 129-56. It was the first time in three years that ASU didn't sweep both the men's and women's competition.
It was a big day for the UA women's hurdles en route to a clean sweep of the hurdles with new personal records to add.
Junior LaTisha Holden ran the fastest race of her life en route to a narrow victory over ASU's star Jasmine Chaney. Holden finished in 13.34 to edge her rival's 13.38. The mark ranks Holden near the top 10 in the NCAA West Region.
In the 400-meter hurdles, Georganne Moline continued her impressive redshirt freshman campaign en route to setting the sixth fastest time in Arizona history in 58.19. Moline was nearly three seconds faster than the runner-up Chaney in the race and it was the first time a UA athlete has gone under 59 seconds since Nicole Thomas did it in 2000.
Julie Labonte maintained the trend of impressive freshman performances as she absolutely dominated the women's shot put, winning with a mark of 16.77m (55-0 ¼) - the second best mark of her young career. Labonte already owns the third best throw in Arizona history and is primed to be mentioned in the same breath as Arizona greats Meg Ritchie and Carla Garrett before her career as a Wildcat is over.
Labonte led a clear sweep of the event with Arizona's three other throwers taking up the second, third and fourth positions. Freshman Alyssa Hasslen was the runner-up with a mark of 14.73m (48-4) and freshman Omotayo Talabi set a personal best at 14.33m (47-0 ¼). Kelsey Jessup rounded out the top four with a mark of 14.17m (46-6).
The women's 4x400-meter relay continued to post the school's strongest season in over 25 years in coming three tenths of a second short of the school record Saturday in a time of 3:36.52. The squad of Christina Rodgers, Echos Blevins, Deanna Sullivan and Moline finished second to ASU but pushed them to the finish line, finishing five hundredths of a second behind them in a photo finish. It was the first a UA relay team has gone under 3:37 since the 1984 school record holding team of Michelle Walsh, Janice Vetter, Nedrea Rodgers-Williams and Ruth Waithera Nganga did it.
The most impressive individual performance of the day may have come from Arizona's Asia Easley. The freshman who just walked on to the Arizona team this season after not throwing competitively for a year launched the javelin 46.85m (153-8) to lead the UA sweep of the event. The mark is the second best in Arizona history with the new javelin implement introduced in 1999 and a new freshman record.
Junior Leigh Bernstein continued her consistent season with a mark of 43.93m (144-1) in the event.
Big performances in the women's throws were another theme of the day as sophomore Taylor Bush took home the hammer throw title in personal record fashion with a mark of 54.93m (180-2) - over a meter better than her previous best. The mark was also good for the seventh best throw in Arizona's record books.
Freshman Alyssa Hasslen also set a person best in the discus throw in winning the event with a mark of 52.20m (171-3), which was good for the ninth best mark in Arizona history.
Back in the running events, it was a big day for the middle distance runners as Wildcats would go on to win three of the four events in the category.
Freshman Liz Apgar kicked it off in the women's 1500-meters in edging ASU's Kari Hardt by less than a second in a winning time of 4:30.06. Redshirt sophomore Abdi Hassan completed the sweep in winning the men's 1500 in 3:48.47 and redshirt junior Christina Rodgers took home the 800-meter crown with a time of 2:08.54.
In total 11 men and 13 women set person bests on the day to bring the Arizona total to 24 - nearly half the athletes the competed on the day.
The Wildcats will be back in action in Berkeley, Calif. in two weeks against the rest of the conference at the 2010 Pacific-10 Championships.