ASU Plays Host to UA, NAU for Annual Double Dual

April 29, 2003

Weekly Notes [in pdf]

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State track and field teams will compete at home for the final time this season as it plays host to the annual Double Dual when Arizona and Northern Arizona invade Sun Angel Stadium May 3. Throwing events will begin at 1 p.m. with the running events starting at 7 p.m.

Contested twice per year, once indoors and once outdoors, pits the three major universities in the state against one another for track and field bragging rights in Arizona. The indoor event is held each year inside the NAU Skydome in Flagstaff while ASU and UA rotate the hosting duties of the outdoor event.

For the first time in the outdoor season, the men earned a national ranking in the poll, coming in this week in a tie for No. 24. The women are not ranked. In the Power Rankings, both the men and women are No. 29. In the latest Top 25, the women came in at No. 14 this week with the men not earning a spot in the newest addition to the national collegiate rankings.

In one of the tougher fields they have faced this year, the men's 4x400m relay came from behind to remain undefeated this year and win the event at the prestigious Drake Relays. After winning the preliminary heat a day earlier, the team of Jason Barton, Seth Amoo and Steve Fitch kept the Sun Devils close and handed off to Lewis Banda, who was in second behind rival Baylor heading into the final lap. Banda chased down the Bear's anchor leg to help the team to a 3:02.81 and defeat BU (3:02.82) for the second time in three weeks. ASU's time is the second-fastest in school history and the ninth all-time in the Pac-10 record books. It also is the top time in the nation so far this year.

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.

Four times recorded this year are tops among conference athletes with the Sun Devil men and women each laying claim to two of those teams. On the men's side, Lewis Banda holds the top time in the 400m dash while the men's 4x400m relay team's time of 3:02.81 is fastest this year in the conference as well as the nation.

For the women, Tiffany Greer's long jump of 6.17m leads the conference while the 4x100m relay team of Porchea Carroll, Greer, Cassandra Reed and Kandace Tucker are tops with a 44.27.

Following weekend action on the road, the Sun Devils increased the number of athletes that will represent the Maroon and Gold at both the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA west region meet at the end of May. The women have 28 marks that have qualified 17 individuals for the conference meet while 37 marks will gain 18 women access to the regional event.

On the men's side, 14 individuals have combined for 20 Pac-10 entries while 18 men so far will compete at the regional event at Stanford in 23 events. These numbers do not include relays.

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 divided its forces to compete at three separate locales over the weekend with the Sun Devils traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, for the Drake Relays, the Oregon Invitational in Eugene, Ore., and the UC San Diego Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif.

In the finals of the Drake Relays, the men's 4x400m relay team won the only event of the weekend for the Sun Devils as they edged Baylor at the line. Also placing in the Top 3 were Lewis Banda (400m dash) in second and third-place finishers women's 4x100m relay, Seth Amoo (200m dash) and Porchea Carroll (100m dash preliminaries).

In Oregon, eight times were recorded to gain entrance in the Pac-10 Championships with seven doubling as qualification for the NCAA west region meet. Dan Maher (1,500m), Ryan Warrenburg (3,000m steeple), Roger Cahill (5,000m) and Mandi Fitz-Gustafson (3,000m steeple) each recorded their first regional qualifying mark in their resepctive events.

The final stop on the Sun Devil weekend road trip was at UC San Diego where the throwers competed. Ten NCAA west region meet-qualifying tosses were recorded with eight earning the thrower a spot in the conference meet.

The Double Dual was contested in Tucson with the Sun Devil women sweeping both the Wildcats (97-77) and Lumberjacks (116-52) while the men split, falling to UA (94-89) and topping NAU (110-69). The men won eight events while the women were victorious in seven.

Held annually in Flagstaff, the men and women swept both intrastate rivals to claim indoor bragging rights in the Grand Canyon State. The men topped NAU (97-59) before nipping UA (78-77) while the women handed losses to the Wildcats (86-57) and Lumberjacks (82-58). The Sun Devils combined to win 16 events, placed as runner-ups 11 times and took third nine times on the day.

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.

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.

Seneca Holmes, who did not make the finals of the 60m hurdles at the NCAA meet, finished with the eighth-best time recorded by an American at the meet to earn All-American honors as well.

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 Sun Devils will have two weeks off to prepare for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, May 17-18, at USC. Following the conference meet, ASU will have another two weeks to prepare for the NCAA West Regional Meet at Stanford, May 30-31.

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