Track & Field Wraps Up Regular Season in Tucson

May 20, 2004

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Following the first of three championship meets in a one month span, the Arizona State track and field teams will send several of its members to Tucson this weekend to compete against some of the nation's elite athletes in the Wildcat Classic, Saturday, May 22. The Sun Devils will primarily send throwers and jumpers while the remainder of the squad rests up for the remaining two championship meets.

At the Pac-10 Championships over the weekend, the Arizona State men's sprinters dominated in events involving 400m. The day opened with Steven Koehnemann, Domenik Peterson, Seth Amoo and Lewis Banda clocking a 38.97 (the second-fastest in the nation this year) to win the 4x100m relay. Later in the day, Banda won the open 400m in a national-best 44.58 while Jason Barton took second at 44.82 and Steve Fitch eighth at 46.49. The meet came to a close with Fitch, Amoo, Peterson and Barton combining to win the 4x400m relay in a school-record and meet-record time of 3:01.26. ASU is ranked third in the nation heading into the regional meet.

For the first time in school history, the steeplechase events at the conference meet were swept by Sun Devil runners. Amy Hastings secured the title for in the women's race at 10:21.74 while Aaron Aguayo took gold in the men's race at 8:47.69. It was the first season either redshirt freshman had competed on the track for the Sun Devils.

Several record-type performances were turned in at the Pac-10 Championships over the weekend on both the men's and women's side of competition. The men's 4x400m relay team of Steve Fitch, Seth Amoo, Domenik Peterson and Jason Barton clocked a 3:01.26 to become the first school to win the event four years in a row while also setting the Arizona State and Pac-10 meet records. Another member of the relay stable, Lewis Banda, nearly set the school mark in the open 400m dash as he won his second title in as many years with a second-best mark of 44.58.

The women also got in on the fun as Amy Hastings won the steeplechase to give the Sun Devil women the title in that race for each of the last four years. The conference has only offered the event for the women since 2001.

Along with the win in the 4x400m relay, the men's 4x100m relay also secured gold to open the day. By winning both relay events, Arizona State became the 15th school to sweep the men's relays at the conference meet and the 11th to do so when the relays are the 4x100m and 4x400m events (prior to 1976, the relays were 440 yard and mile relays). It also marked the first time it had been done since the 1999 season when USC swept the meet. The Sun Devils of 1982 also accomplished the feat as they won the 4x100m relay in 39.78 and the 4x400m in 3:09.87.

The Arizona State men's team tallied 120 points to finish in third place at the Pac-10 Championships with the women finished fourth with 97 points. For the men, the 120 points scored were the second-most in school history following the 133 tallied by the 1981 conference champions. It also marked the fourth time in five years the men have recorded more than 100 points and placed them in the Top 5 for the sixth-year in a row. The women maintained their streak of five years in a row with a Top 5 finish while also breaking 90 points for only the fourth time in 16 times the Sun Devils have competed in the conference meet.

Overall at the Pac-10 Championships, seven total conference titles were secured by Arizona State athletes at the meet held in Tucson. On the women's side, Jacquelyn Johnson won the heptathlon and high jump events while Amy Hastings took the 3,000m steeplechase. For the men, the 4x100m and 4x400m relays took gold while Lewis Banda won the 400m dash and Aaron Aguayo captured the 3,000m steeplechase.

Nine student-athletes combined to win the five individual and two relay crowns in Tucson last weekend. Of the nine athletes, five are in their first years of competition. Jacqueyln Johnson (heptathlon and high jump), Domenik Peterson (both relays) and Steven Koehnemann (4x100m) are all true freshman while both steeplechase winners, Amy Hastings and Aaron Aguayo, are redshirt freshman.

Each year, the track program honors its top point earners at the Pac-10 meet. This year, Seth Amoo led the men with his 19 points while Jacquelyn Johnson secured 21 points to pace the women. Amoo, the co-winner last year with Lewis Banda, earned eight points in the 200m dash, six in the 100m dash and 2.5 points each in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Johnson scored in the three events, taking 10 points each in the heptathlon and high jump and one point in the long jump.

Overall, Johnson's point total ranks as the fifth-best in school history while Amoo sits sixth all-time. His 20 points last year tied him for third all-time.

In conference championship action over the past two weekends, four Sun Devils have earned marks that automatically or provisionally qualify for the 2004 USA Olympic Team Trials (July 9-18) in Sacramento, Calif. For the men, Jason Barton's 44.82 in the 400m dash is an automatic qualifier while Seth Amoo's 20.57 in the 200m is a 'B' or provisional mark.On the women's side, Jacquelyn Johnson's 5,603 points in the heptathlon and Cassandra Reed's 51.97 in the 400m dash are both 'B' qualifiers.

Although the 44.58 Lewis Banda clocked while winning the 400m dash at the Pac-10 Championships left him .17 seconds shy of the Arizona State record of 44.41 set in 1968 by Ron Freeman II, it did put him on top of another record book. Banda also set the national record for Zimbabwe as he continues to improve in the hopes of qualifying for the Olympics this summer in Athens, Greece.

Over the weekend, 16 marks recorded by Sun Devils rank among the best in school history with four earning places in the Top 10 of the all-time conference lists. On the women's side, six marks on the track were recorded as Cassandra Reed led the way with the third-fastest time in ASU history in the 400m dash at 51.97. Reed, who became just the third Sun Devil to break the 52-second barrier, also ranks 10th on the conference ledger. She also ran the ninth-best 200m (23.63). Kandace Tucker is seventh on the ASU lists in the 200m dash with her time of 23.56. Desiree Davila is 10th in the 10,000m run (36:52.48) while Jana Pintz moved into eighth on the javelin lists (44.14m/144-10). Jacquelyn Johnson moved into sixth on the high jump lists (1.77m/5-9.75) to round out the women.

For the men, Seth Amoo is eighth in the 100m (10.38) and seventh in the 200m (20.57) while Lewis Banda also doubled, standing 10th in the 200m (20.59) and second in the 400m (44.58). His 400m time is the seventh-best in the conference while Jason Barton sits third and 10th, respectively, in the 400m at 44.82. Aaron Aguayo won the steeplechase with the third-best mark (8:47.69) at ASU while Juan Reyes claimed the No. 6 spot in the 10,000m run (30:30.85). Stephen Dolk is now seventh on the pole vault lists (5.17m/16-11.50).

The men's 4x100m relay is fourth all-time at ASU in 38.97 while the 4x400m relay set the school mark at 3:01.26, which also ranks them fourth in the all-time Pac-10 lists.

For the fourth (and final) weekend in a row, members of the Arizona State track and field program will enter into competition in a meet being held in Tucson. On May 1, the Sun Devils swept Arizona and Northern Arizona in the annual Double Dual before sending a pair of competitors to the Pac-10 Multi-Championships May 7-8. Last weekend, the Sun Devils were back at Roy P. Drachman Stadium for the Pac-10 Championships before returning this weekend.

One week remains before the Arizona State teams head to Northridge, Calif., for the 2004 NCAA West Region Championships, May 28-29. There, the Sun Devils will have to finish in the Top 5 of their respective events in order to gain entrance into the NCAA Outdoor Championships, June 9-12, in Austin, Texas.

For the second time this season, the Arizona State men and women's teams swept its intrastate rivals in the annual Double Dual, this time held in Tucson. On the men's side, the Sun Devils defeated Arizona, 104-96, and Northern Arizona, 130-60. The women posted similar scores as ASU downed the Wildcats, 103-95, and the Lumberjacks, 125-60. In the previous meeting, the Sun Devils handed defeats to both UA and NAU at the indoor dual, conducted Jan. 31 in Flagstaff.

Heading into the start of the 2004 season, no Sun Devil woman had ever cleared 12 feet in competition with Olivia Mazzaglia's mark of 11-6 in 2000 being the record (and only mark recorded over nine feet). Enter Angela Tavlarides, who has shattered the mark four times this season and cleared 12-feet twice. On May 1, she reset the record mark at 3.80m (12-5.50) during the Double Dual.

In the latest Top 25 rankings (May 18), the men are ranked seventh overall. In the same release, the women did not receive votes. In the power rankings, the men are ranked sixth while the women sit in seventh, both improvements from last weeks rankings and the highest the women have been all year.

The men's 4x400m relay team was back at it again April 3 at the Texas Relays, breaking the school record in the event that was set before any of the four was born: 1977. The quartet of Steve Fitch, Domenik Peterson, Jason Barton and Lewis Banda returned to Tempe after finishing third in the event at 3:01.51. The Sun Devils broke the previous school mark of 3:01.74 that was set by Cliff McKenzie, Gerald Burl, Tony Darden and Herman Frazier, a mark that stood for 27 years. Though the old mark stood that long, the new mark was around for 43 days as the team of Fitch, Seth Amoo, Peterson and Barton broke the standard at the Pac-10 meet with a winning time of 3:01.26.

Although the previous 4x400m relay mark was set numerous years ago, there are still four more marks on the men's lists that have been around longer. Jerry Bright holds the 200m mark at 20.29 while Ron Freeman II clocked a 44.41 in the 400m. Both marks were set in 1968. Two years later, Chuck LaBenz set the standard in the 1,500m and mile runs, both during the 1970 season.

Members of the track and field program traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., for the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships, March 14-15, and returned with stellar performances. Of the 10 athletes that competed in the national event, six returned home as All-Americans. Those Sun Devils included Lewis Banda (4x400m), Jason Barton (4x400m and 400m), Domenik Peterson (4x400m and 200m), Seth Amoo (4x400m), Amy Hastings (5,000m) and Jacquelyn Johnson (pentathlon).

As a team, the men finished tied for 12th with 17 points earned while the women took a tie for 27th with eight.

Johnson was not the only Sun Devil freshman that had an impressive debut at the NCAA Championships. Domenik Peterson competed in three races to earn All-America honors twice while setting one school record. Individually, Peterson finished fourth in the 200m dash with an ASU record time of 20.54. He then anchored the men's 4x400m relay team to a third place finish.

The Arizona State men and women will head to Northridge, Calif., for the 2004 NCAA West Region Championships, May 28-29. The Top 5 individuals and Top 3 relay teams in each event will advance to the NCAA Championships, being held June 9-12 in Austin, Texas.