Nation's Elite Come to Tempe for 24th Sun Angel Classic

April 10, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - With a week of rest, the Arizona State track and field team returns to action with the 24th Annual Sun Angel Classic Saturday at Sun Angel Stadium. The field events kick off with the hammer throw at 8 a.m. with the running events opening competition at 4:30 p.m.

Several of the perennial powers in collegiate track and field will be on hand this weekend with 11 NCAA Division I teams venturing to Tempe for the prestigious meet. Teams scheduled to compete are Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Florida, Northern Arizona and USC. A select few unattached individuals also will compete.

For all the entrants and final results, be sure to check out the Track and Field page at and select the Sun Angel Classic link on the bottom right.

Collegiate athletes will not be the only competitors in the meet this weekend. Ten events featuring local high school athletes will be contested in conjunction with the Tempe Relays, run Friday at Tempe High. The 100m dash, 1,600m run and three relays (4x100m, 4x400m and 4x800m) will be contested at the high school meet with the finalists heading over the ASU the following night to showcase their talents.

While the high schoolers compete at the Tempe Relays Friday night, several Arizona State student-athletes will compete in the Mesa Classic, held at Mesa Community College.

A tradition begun with the inception of the Sun Angel Track Classic, a person or group is honored at the meet for the contributions to the sport. The first year saw the legendary great Jesse Owens honored while former ASU greats and Olympians also have been showcased during the 24-year history of the meet.

This year, the Sun Angel Classic is proud to recognize the efforts Tim McBurney, a former student-athlete with the Sun Devil track program in the mid-60s. McBurney later took charge of building up high school track programs in the area which contributed to the survival of this prestigious event. His plan was to bring in some of the top high school athletes from the area and showcase them during a collegiate event. The result: the Sun Angel Classic remains as one of the prestigious meets in the nation annually.

Though the men's 4x400m relay team of Seth Amoo, Lewis Banda, Jason Barton and Steve Fitch finished fifth at the NCAA Indoor meet March 15, the quartet went undefeated in each race they ran (including winning their heat at nationals). Outside, the Sun Devil relay has run three times and won all three races. This weekend, however, their unblemished record will put to the test as some of the faster sprinting teams will take the track at the Sun Angel Classic.

Through three outdoor meets this year, eight men and 14 women have qualified for the NCAA West Region meet in at least one event. On a conference level, 10 men and 18 women also have earned the right to battle for Pac-10 supremacy.

Leading the way for women is Sandra Orsund, who has qualified for both meets in the shot put, hammer and discus. She is joined by four women that have qualified for three conference races: Porchea Carroll and Tiffany Greer in the 100m, 200m and long jump events; Desiree Davila in the 1,500m, mile run and 5,000m run; and Cassandra Reed in the 100m, 200m and 400m dashes.

On the men's side, Fasil Bizuneh has qualified for the national meet in the 10,000m run and is one of three Sun Devils to earn a spot in two conference races (5,000m as well). Lewis Banda (200m and 400m) and Vince Mosca (discus and shot put) have made the field in both meets while Travis Jones has qualified for the regional meet in the discus and hammer.

Starting Monday, April 14, the Pac-10 Conference will release a weekly honor roll showing where competitors rank in the conference in all outdoor events. Unofficially, Lewis Banda, Jason Barton, Seth Amoo and Steve Fitch are 1-2-3-4, respectively, in the men's 400m dash. Also included in the release of the rankings will be the announcing of athlete of the week honor. One will be given to women's field, women's track, men's field and men's track (four awards) each week.

The Sun Devils last competed two weeks ago with six men and 11 women recording new or improved NCAA regional qualifying marks. The team also saw eight of the women's marks and four of the men's also qualify them for the Pac-10 Championships at the end of May.

Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium has stood as the home grounds for the Arizona State track and field programs since it opened in 1976. The site of seven conference championship meets and the prestigious Sun Angel Classic, now in its 24th year, the stadium has seen numerous of the world's best including dozens of Olympians from many nations.

The Sun Devils will travel to Walnut, Calif., for the Mt. SAC Relays next weekend. The meet runs from April 17-19.

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