NCAA Track & Field Championships Await Sun Devils

June 4, 2004

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TEMPE, Ariz. - The 2004 track and field season comes to a close this week when members of the Arizona State track and field team travel to Austin, Texas, for the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The meet will be conducted June 9-12 at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

Ten women and eight men have gained entry into the NCAA meet and will compete next week in Austin. The eight men combine for entries into both relays, as well as five individual races, one field event and the decathlon. The women also bring both relays to the Lonestar State along with four individual races, three field event entries and the heptathlon. The list of entrants follows (see page 2 for national ranks for each entrant and entry mark):

Aaron Aguayo (3K steeple), Seth Amoo (200m/4x100m/4x400m), Lewis Banda (400m/4x100m/4x400m), Jason Barton (400m/4x400m), Joshua Kinnaman (decathlon), Steven Koehnemann (4x100m), Domenik Peterson (200m/4x100m/4x400m), Trevell Quinley (long jump).

Porchea Carroll (4x100m), Desiree Davila (5,000m), Amy Hastings (3K steeple), Christina Hardeman (4x400m), Jacquelyn Johnson (heptathlon), Sandra Orsund (discus), Julia Pedersen (shot put/discus), Cassandra Reed (400m/4x100m/4x400m), Marcia Smith (4x100m/4x400m), Kandace Tucker (200m/4x100m/4x400m).

The NCAA Championships not only signals the close of another season of track and field competition, it also brings about one of the more competitive meets of the season. Along with individual, relay and team national titles up for grabs in Austin, the student-athletes also will compete to earn All-America accolades by placing in the Top 8 of their respective events.

Several Sun Devils head into the meet ranked highly in the performance lists. On the men's side, the 4x100m relay of Steven Koehnemann, Domenik Peterson, Seth Amoo and Lewis Banda are ranked No. 1 while the 4x400m relay (Banda, Amoo, Peterson and Jason Barton) sit second.

Individually, Banda is third in the 400m with Barton sitting fifth. Aaron Aguayo is seventh in the steeplechase. For the women, Jacquelyn Johnson is ranked third in the heptathlon while the 4x400m relay of Kandace Tucker, Cassandra Reed, Marcia Smith and Christina Hardeman are fifth. Reed also is ranked eighth in the 400m.

Arizona State has three athletes competing this week that attained All-America honors last year while another one joins the fold as an All-American two years ago. Last year, Desiree Davila (5,000m), Cassandra Reed (4x400m) and Kandace Tucker (4x400m) attained the national accolade for their performances. In 2002, Seth Amoo was a member of the 4x400m relay that earned the recognition.

The Sun Devil relays are faring well this season as all four (two men's and two women's) are headed to the NCAA meet. For the men, the 4x100m is ranked first in the nation at 38.92 while the 3:01.26 clocked by the 4x400m relay is second. The women's 4x400m relay is fifth at 3:31.44 while the 4x100m relay is 13th at 44.31. Not only did the men win both relays at the regional meet, they also secured gold on the conference level.

Arizona State finished fourth in the men's team race while the women took fifth at the NCAA West Region meet, held May 28-29 in Northridge, Calif. At the meet, the men won three titles and the women two as the relays shined. For the men, the 4x100m (38.92) won with the second-fastest time in school history with the 4x400m (3:01.77) recording the third-fastest school mark to win the gold. Aaron Aguayo was the lone individual winner on the weekend as he captured the steeplechase in 8:42.79, the second-fastest in ASU annals. For the women, the titles came in the relays as the 4x100m (44.35) and 4x400m (3:31.44) each won.

At the Pac-10 Championships (May 14-15), 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.

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.

Two weeks later, Aguayo claimed the west regional crown with his time of 8:42.79 to move into second on the school's all-time lists. In his last three races, Aguayo has won titles in the event with victories at the Double Dual, the Pac-10 Championships and NCAA West Region. Both Aguayo and Hastings will compete in the NCAA Championships.

More historical marks were recorded at the NCAA West Region meet two weeks ago as seven all-time performances were recorded, four by the men and three by the women. On the men's side, Aaron Aguayo clocked an 8:42.79 to move into the No. 2 spot on the lists in the 3,000m steeplechase while Ryan Warrenburg made the lists for the first time at No. 9 in the same event at 8:56.81. The 4x100m relay team climbed to No. 2 at 38.92 while the 4x400m relay moved into third at 3:01.77. For the women, the 4x100m moved into second at 44.31 while Cassandra Reed took-over the No. 2 position in the 400m dash at 51.67. Her time also is good enough for a spot on the Pac-10's all-time Top 10 lists. Liz Lindgren rounded out the top times with her 10:47.26 in the 3,000m steeplechase to climb to No. 5 on the women's lists.

The men accumulated 63 points to tie with conference foe Oregon for a tie for fourth place at the regional meet while the Sun Devil women took fifth with 47 points. Last year, the women took fourth (55 points) while the men took sixth (45 points) in the first running of the meet.

Along with the win in the 4x400m relay at the conference meet, 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.

For the Arizona State men, a trio of victories at the NCAA West Region meet were repeat performances of their wins at the Pac-10 Championships just two weeks prior. Individually, Aaron Aguayo won the 3,000m steeplechase at both meets as he out-kicked Stanford's Ian Dobson in both races. In the relay events, the men's 4x100m relay of Steven Koehnemann, Domenik Peterson, Seth Amoo and Lewis Banda captured gold in both meets while the 4x400m relay, though using two different lineups, won both races as well. At the conference level, Steve Fitch joined Peterson, Amoo and Jason Barton while the victories regional relay was composed of Banda, Amoo, Peterson and Barton.

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.

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. The previous national mark was the 45.29 recorded by Young Talkmore Nyangani at an April 3 race.

The final rankings were released Friday, June 4, by with both the men and women of Arizona State finding a position in the standings. The men are tied with conference foe Stanford for 10th place with a projected NCAA total of 24 points while the women sit tied for 24th with Florida State and Akron at 11 points. In the final power rankings, the Sun Devil men ranked seventh in the nation with 401.41 points while the women occupied the ninth position with 389.36.

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).

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.

Several Sun Devil athletes, both current and former, will head to Sacramento, Calif., for the 2004 USA Track and Field Olympic Team Trials.

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