Track & Field Splits Squads to Compete at Three Venues

April 22, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - A trio of meets await the Arizona State track and field teams this weekend as the Sun Devils take to the road for competitions at the Drake Relays (April 24-26), the Oregon Invitational (25-26) and the UC San Diego Open (25-26).

A month into the outdoor season, the national rankings are in full swing and this week finds the Sun Devil women among the nation's best. In the power rankings, the women are ranked No. 25 in the nation while the men are No. 36 (as of April 21). In the rankings, a new poll created for this year, the women are No. 16 with the men not ranked. Neither of the Sun Devil squads are among the Top 25 in the poll.

Here is a look at the meets on the schedule for the Sun Devils this weekend:
* The Drake Relays will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday through Saturday, and will feature a record 9,359 athletes competing in the meet started in 1910.
* The Oregon Invitational will be contested Friday through Saturday at historic Haywood Field. The meet will feature 38 schools from all divisions of the NCAA.
* The UC San Diego Triton Open will be held Friday through Saturday in San Diego, Calif.

At the 2000 Mt. SAC Relays, former Sun Devil All-American Kelly MacDonald clocked a 15:55.90 in the women's 5,000m run to set the school record and better the previous mark by nearly three seconds. Three years later, Lisa Aguilera competed in the same race at the same meet over the weekend and turned in a new mark of 15:53.28 to set her first school mark. Aguilera also holds the second-best time in the 3,000m steeplechase and the 1,500m runs in her career.

With the addition of Lisa Aguilera's school record in the women's 5,000m run, two top marks have been recorded in distance events this year. Fasil Bizuneh rewrote his own top time in the men's 10,000m run at the end of March.

Also making noise in the distance events are Desiree Davila and Jessica Scalzo. Both student-athletes have recorded times in the Arizona State all-time Top 10 this year in the women's 5K.

The Pac-10 Top 20 lists did not change much from last week to this week as the Sun Devils remained toward the top of several of the lists. On the men's side, Seth Amoo's 21.01 in the 200m leads the conference while Lewis Banda's 400m time of 45.95 is No. 1. Amoo and Banda join Jason Barton and Steve Fitch to comprise the top 4x400m relay team again this week.

On the women's side, the 4x100m relay team is first, as well as Tiffany Greer in the long jump. The women have placed a strong hold on several events as four women occupy the Top 6 spots in the long jump (Greer, Tinishia Johnson, Simone McElroy and Porchea Carroll) while the 200m features five Sun Devils in the Top 20. In the women's 100m dash, 1,500m, mile run and 5,000m, four ASU student-athletes occupy a spot on the list.

The 4x400m relay team of Seth Amoo, Lewis Banda, Jason Barton and Steve Fitch, though challenged to the end by Baylor two weeks ago at the Sun Angel Classic, is undefeated this academic year. After going undefeated during the indoor season and placing fifth in the nation at the NCAA meet. So far this outdoor season, the relay has competed four times, winning all races and turned in the No. 10 time of all-time at ASU (3:04.44) to edge Baylor in a very exciting race.

The qualifying marks just keep rolling in for the Sun Devils this year as another three women added their names to the growing list of competitors for the NCAA West Region and Pac-10 Championship meets at the end of the year. All told, 37 marks have been recorded for the women's Pac-10 meet while 26 of those also are good enough for the regional meet. On the men's side, 19 Pac-10 standards have been met while 15 will get those athletes into the regional.

NEW FOR 2003
In years past, times and marks recorded by Sun Devils would be compared to the standards established by the NCAA to see if they automatically, provisionally or not at all qualified for the national meet. This year, a regional meet has been established where student-athletes will first have to qualify for, much like the national meets in the past years, and the finish among the Top 5 in their respective events in order to advance to the national meet in Sacramento, Calif., June 11-14.

Arizona State sent 15 of its student-athletes to either the Mt. SAC Relays or the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational to compete. Lisa Aguilera was the headliner for the Sun Devils as she recorded a school record-time of 15:53.28 in the 5,000m run while placing 16th in the event. Also placing well for the Sun Devils were Joni Smith (5th in the 400m dash), Porchea Carroll (6th in the 100m dash) and Dan Maher (7th in the 1,500m run).

At the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, one individual and one relay team brought home All-American honors by placing among the Top 8 in the national meet. Individually, Lisa Aguilera placed seventh in the 3,000m run in 9:18.80 to earn two team points for the women's team and tying them for 43rd overall.

On the men's side, the 4x400m relay team of Seth Amoo, Lewis Banda, Jason Barton and Steve Fitch combined to finish fifth in the nation with a time of 3:07.41. The team remained undefeated on the year by winning their heat, though they took fifth overall because the four teams in the final heat of the race finished with better times.

Seth Amoo ran his first 200m race of the year at the Double Dual (Feb. 14) and used that performance to not only win the race and earn a provisional qualification time, he also reset his school record in the indoor event. Crossing the line at 21.01, Amoo bettered his previous mark of 21.19 that he established last year. Lewis Banda, who took third in the race, finished in a time of 21.19, tying the previous mark and moving into second on the all-time list.

Greg Kraft is in his seventh year at the helm of the Sun Devil men's and women's track and field program. In his tenure in Tempe, 15 men and 19 women have garnered All-America honors, as well as one women's and six men's relay teams. Nine men and eight women's individual Pac-10 titles have been won, with three men's relays added to the mix. He also has overseen the cross country program in which two men and four women's All-American honors were achieved.

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 final home meet of the year comes to Tempe with the annual meeting of state rivals when Arizona and Northern Arizona invade Sun Angel Stadium for the Double Dual, May 3. Field events begin at 1 p.m. and the running events come out of the blocks starting at 7 p.m.

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