Two Meets Await ASU Track and Field Saturday

Feb. 4, 2004

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TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State track and field teams will split its ranks this weekend with Sun Devil student-athletes heading to one of two events. The sprinters will travel to Boise, Idaho, for the United Heritage Invitational while the remainder of the team will return to Flagstaff, Ariz., for the Mountain 'T' Invitational. Both meets will be held Saturday.

A portion of the Sun Devil track and field squads will travel to the United Heritage Invitational in Boise, Idaho, Saturday. Slated to appear in the meet are hosts Boise State, Baylor, LSU, Stanford, UCLA, UC-Davis, Portland State, Cal State Stanilaus and Northwest Nazarene.

The remaining members of the team will make a return visit to Flagstaff for the Mountain 'T' Invitational Saturday. Arizona State runners will compete with athletes from San Diego State, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UNLV, New Mexico State, host Northern Arizona and several community colleges from Arizona.

For the first time this year, the Arizona State men's track and field team cracked the national Top 25 rankings by earning the No. 16 spot on the Feb. 3 list. The women are not ranked by and neither team made the Top 25 list.

One school record fell on the men's side of the action at the Double Dual last weekend with Jason Barton etching his name as the program's fastest indoor 400m runner and joined Lewis Banda as the only men to break a barrier. Barton won the open quarter in 45.80 with Banda on his heels at 45.82. The pair of sprinters are the first Sun Devil men to record an indoor 400m time in the 45 second range. The previous record was the 46.16 Tony Berrian recorded in the 2000 season.

The women's team also had a record performance following the Double Dual. Both Angela Tavlarides and Kristi Raban finished the pole vault event with a top clearance of 3.66m (12-00.00) to tie one another for the highest indoor vault ever for an Arizona State woman.

Looking at the updated NCAA Order Lists (Feb. 3), the 400m dash on the men's side looks to be one of the featured events at the United Heritage Invitational this weekend. Jason Barton and Lewis Banda are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation in the 400m dash with No. 3 and No. 4 running for Baylor and No. 5 for LSU. Steve Fitch is ranked seventh in the same event, giving the meet six of the 11 national qualifiers in the event (so far).

Also on tap for the men's race is the 4x400m relay. Baylor is No. 2 in the nation at 3:07.72 with the Sun Devils just behind at No. 3 with a mark of 3:07.82.

Jacquelyn Johnson has made an impressive debut for the Sun Devils so far in her freshman campaign. In the 55m and 60m hurdle events this year, Johnson has won the preliminaries and finals of both events to win her only individual track events of the season. She also was a member of the winning 4x400m relay team at the Double Dual. In the field, Johnson won her only high jump competition and took second to teammate Tinishia Johnson in the long jump last week by 0.01 meter.

Several Arizona State athletes recorded marks on the all-time Top 5 indoor lists, including two first-place entries, following competition at the annual Double Dual in Flagstaff (Jan. 31). Both Angela Tavlarides and Kristi Raban tied for the new pole vault standard after each cleared 3.66m (12 feet) to lead the women while Jason Barton clocked a 45.80 to take over the top spot in the men's 400m dash.

Also making the list for the women were the distance medley relay team of Desiree Davila, Katrice Walton, Jessie McLaughlin and Amy Hastings finished the race in 12:25.46 to move to No. 4 on the list while Michelle Lang improved her fourth-place standing in the pole vault with a clearance of 3.50m (11-5.75). The women's top marks were rounded out in the weight throw with improvements by Jessica Pressley (2nd at 18.16m/59-7.00) and Jennifer Kowacz (4th at 16.67m/54-8.25).

On the men's side, Lewis Banda moved to No. 2 in the 400m dash after finishing just off Barton's pace with a 45.82. The men's distance medley relay of Ryan Warrenburg, Jeff Dodge, Greg Halver and Roger Cahill clocked a 10:26.83 to move to No. 3 on the list.

The Sun Devils swept their intrastate rivals Arizona and Northern Arizona in the annual Double Dual Jan. 31 in Flagstaff, with the men and women winning both meets for the second year in a row. The men downed the Wildcats, 121-103, and the Lumberjacks, 121-84, while the women handled UA, 133.5-108, and NAU, 133.5-62.5. Jason Barton and Lewis Banda finished first and second, respectively, in the fastest 400m dash in school history at Barton clocked a 45.80 and Banda a 45.82. Both men are the first in ASU history to clock a sub-46 second quarter mile. Also on the record setting front, Angela Tavlarides and Kristi Raban each cleared 3.66m (12 feet) in the pole vault to reestablish the school record.

Overall, both the men and women swept the Top 3 finishes in two events. The men placed 1-2-3 in the 55-meter dash and the 400m dash while the women swept through the long jump and the weight throw. For the meet, the women won 10 events, took second in five and third in seven with the men winning eight, runners-up in five and third in eight.

Ten Sun Devils (five men and five women) return to the track this year following campaigns in which they earned All-American honors. On the indoor oval, Seneca Holmes leads the women after taking national accolades in the 60m hurdles one year ago. Joining her are Trevell Quinley in the long jump and the 4x400m relay team of Seth Amoo, Lewis Banda, Jason Barton and Steve Fitch for the men's team.

On the outdoor surface, three of the women's 4x400m relay team return in Cassandra Reed, Kandace Tucker and Katrice Walton (graduated senior Joni Smith was the fourth member of the team). Also earning outdoor honors a year ago was Desiree Davila in the 5,000m run.Davila, along with Amy Hastings, come to track this winter following a cross country season in which each earned All-American honors following the NCAA meet.

Though she took a redshirt for the entire track and field season a year ago, Amy Hastings did compete on the track in an important meet. Running in the USA Junior Championships, Hastings clocked a 16:28.60 in the 5,000m race to win the event and set the meet record.

A trio of road meets await the Sun Devils next weekend as the men and women take to competitions in three different states. The teams will compete at the Tyson Foods Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., the Pac-10 Invitational in Seattle and the Bronco Invitational in Boise, Idaho. All three meets will be Feb. 13-14.

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