ASU Freshman Jacquelyn Johnson Claims NCAA Outdoor Heptathlon Title

June 10, 2004

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AUSTIN, Texas - After battling with rain delays and late-night competitions one day earlier, Arizona State track and field's Jacquelyn Johnson battled her way out of third place in the final event to capture the women's heptathlon crown and All-American honors at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships Thursday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. Johnson scored 5,807 points to claim the first title awarded at the national meet to not only give the Sun Devils an early team lead with 10 points, but also give ASU its first individual national title winner in track and field since 1996. Also for the Sun Devils, three relays advanced to the finals of their respective events.

'I am very happy and proud to be able to represent Arizona State and win a national title,' Johnson said. 'I am very honored to be considered the best in the nation and look forward to the next three years as chances to defend my first title.'

The NCAA indoor pentathlon runner-up and Pac-10 heptathlon champion, Johnson entered the second day in first place with 3,433 points. In the first event of the day, defending champion Hyleas Fountain of Georgia reclaimed the lead with her performance in the long jump as Johnson recorded 837 points with a jump of 5.96m (19-06.75). In the javelin, Johnson finished third overall with her throw of 42.12m (138-02) to claim 708 points, but still trailed Fountain by 21 points heading into the final event. In the 800m run and needing to defeat Fountain by 2.4 seconds, Johnson turned on a burst of speed with 200m remaining to put some distance between the two athletes with Johnson recording a 2:19.60 to Fountain's 2:22.82 for the overall win.

Johnson's 5,807 points is a personal best and ranks second on the ASU all-time lists. During the competition, which was halted three times on Wednesday because of rain and finished around 1 a.m. local, she recorded personal-best marks in three events including a 13.52 in the 100m hurdles and her marks in the javelin and 800m run. Fountain, who won the indoor pentathlon this year, was second with 5,785 points with Ashley Selig of Nebraska (5,587), Andrea Pressley of Jacksonville (5,586) and Brooke Meredith of California (5,442) rounding out the Top 5.

Johnson became the 17th ASU woman to win a track and field title and the first since 1992 when Maicel Malone captured the indoor 400m dash. Johnson also is the first outdoor national champion for the women since 1990 when another Johnson, Gea Johnson, won the heptathlon with a score of 6,132. Prior to Ja. Johnson, the last Sun Devil to win a crown was the men's Pal Arne Fagernes, the 1996 javelin champion.

Three relays advanced to run another day for the Devils with the men sending both to the finals with the women sending the mile relay. The men's 4x100m relay team of Steven Koehnemann, Domenik Peterson, Seth Amoo and Lewis Banda placed third in the their heat and seventh overall in 39.24 to qualify for the finals of the event while Steve Fitch, Amoo, Jason Barton and Banda combined to run the third-fastest time of the night in the 4x400m relay by winning their heat in a time of 3:02.73. The women's quartet of Christina Hardeman, Kandace Tucker, Marcia Smith and Cassandra Reed finished third in their heat at 3:31.81 to earn the final of nine spots in the finals.

Several other ASU student-athletes competed on the day, but were unable to advance to the finals of their events. Julia Pedersen recorded a throw of 15.26m (50-00.75) to finish 22nd in the preliminaries of the women's shot put while on the track, Tucker was one place away from qualifying for the finals as she took fourth in her heat and 10th overall with a personal-best time of 23.27 in the 200m dash. Tucker's mark also is the third-fastest in the history of ASU. On the men's side, Peterson placed fourth in his heat and 11th overall at 20.60 while in the same heat, Amoo finished fifth and 15th overall at 20.78 in the 200m event. Also for the men, Trevell Quinley finished 20th in the long jump with his mark of 7.35m (24-1.50).

In the women's 3,000m steeplechase, Amy Hastings battled a tough field of competitors and was in position for the fifth and final automatic berth from her heat of the race until she was tripped up at the fourth water barrier, dropping to ninth place. She finished the race in 10:33.69 and in 10th place, missing the finals by one place. In the men's race, Aaron Aguayo did not reach the finals as he placed eighth in his heat and 17th overall with a time of 9:04.18.

On Friday, Arizona State will see the following athletes compete: Barton and Banda in the men's 400m dash; Reed in the women's 400m dash; Joshua Kinnaman in the decathlon; the men's 4x100m relay; and Pedersen and Sandra Orsund in the women's discus.

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