Track & Field Heads to Texas Relays

April 4, 2006

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TEMPE, Ariz. - For the second weekend in a row, members of the Arizona State University track and field program will hit the road to compete as the Sun Devils send a small group of athletes to the 79th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays inside Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. The group of ASU athletes will be comprised of four individual men, five individual women and three total relays (two men, one women).

The Sun Devils will send athletes to compete in five men's events and six women's events at the prestigious meet in Austin. For the men, Steven Koehnemann and Kelvin Love Jr. are both set to run the 100m dash while the track events round out with the men fielding teams in the 4x100m and 4x400m relay. The men also will send Brandon Glenn to compete in the pole vault and Ryan Zimmerman in the triple jump. On the women's side, Jacquelyn Johnson is set to compete in the 100m hurdles and the high jump while Latosha Wallace will run the 400m hurdles. ASU also will field a 4x400m relay squad. In the field, April Kubishta and Cara Walker each will compete in the pole vault while Stephanie Garnett is set to participate in the long jump.

The first Trackwire Top 25 was released Monday with the Sun Devil women holding a national ranking of fifth. Texas is first with both USC and Nebraska tied for second and Georgia fourth. The women reached their ranking by having 11 entries in the Dandy Dozen, the projected Top 12 finishers at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The first Dandy Dozen lists were released April 3 with 11 women's and six men's names appearing on the list that is the current projected Top 12 finishers at the national meet as viewed by Trackwire. For the women, Amy Hastings (5,000m run) and Jacquelyn Johnson (heptathlon) are ranked first with Sarah Stevens (shot put) ranked third. All told, nine of the 11 women are ranked in the Top 8, which is the cut-off for scoring at the national meet. On the men's side, the relays are leading the way with the 4x400m squad ranked sixth and the 4x100m relay sitting seventh. Individually, three men are ranked 10th, including Joshua Kinnaman (decathlon), Aaron Aguayo (3K steeple) and Ryan Zimmerman (triple jump).

Thirteen women's and six men's marks currently rank among the Top 10 on the national lists with Jacquelyn Johnson leading the nation in the women's heptathlon with 5,797 points. Overall, seven of those 13 women's marks also are ranked in the Top 5. On the men's side, Joshua Kinnaman leads the way as he is ranked third overall in the decathlon.

Regionally, 22 of the 23 marks that have qualified women into the meet are ranked in the Top 10 with four marks leading the west region and 11 ranked among the Top 3. On the men's side, 13 of the 14 qualified are in the Top 10 with two leading the region and a total of nine ranked in the Top 3.

According to the latest Pac-10 Conference lists, three men's marks and nine women's marks lead the league as of April 3. The Pac-10 uses indoor marks on its lists along with outdoor marks for events that are contested at the outdoor meet. For the men, Kelvin Love Jr. (200m), Ryan Warrenburg (5,000m) and the 4x400m relay lead their respective events. The women are led by Jacquelyn Johnson, who leads the high jump, long jump and heptathlon, and Amy Hastings, the leader in the 5,000m and 10,000m runs, while single leaders include Latosha Wallace (400m hurdles), Brooke Bennett (3K steeple), the 4x400m relay and Sarah Stevens (shot put).

At the Stanford Invitational last year, Amy Hastings ran 33:19.32 to set the school record in the 10,000m run. It was the same result one year later as Hastings clocked in at 33:17.89 to reset her top mark. Victoria Jackson, who ran the fourth-fastest time in school history in the same race last year, turned in a near 40 second improvement to clock in at 33:20.58 to move into the No. 2 position on the all-time list at ASU.

Following the weekend, six Sun Devil women have qualified for the regional meet in multiple events with Jacquelyn Johnson leading the way three (heptathlon, 100m hurdles and high jump). Other Sun Devils include Victoria Jackson (10,000m run and 1,500m run), Jenna Kingma (1,500m run and 5,000m run), Jessica Pressley (hammer and discus), Sarah Stevens (hammer and discus) and Latosha Wallace (400m dash and 400m hurdles).

Latosha Wallace, in her first season with the Sun Devils, has fared quite well on the outdoor track so far this season as she has qualified regionally in the 400m dash and 400m hurdles while also helping the 4x400m relay earn a regional berth as well. Wallace currently ranks fifth in the nation in the hurdle event and is the only runner in the west region and the Pac-10 to record a time under one minute, coming in at 58.70. She currently is 21st in the nation in the open quarter while ranking sixth in the region and conference.

Two redshirt freshmen have turned in several solid marks already this season with both reaching regional qualifying standards. For the women, Jenna Kingma has qualified in both the 1,500m run and 5,000m run while the men's Joey Heller attained the standard in the 5,000m run. Kingma is currently ranked in the national Top 8 in both events including a third-place standing in the 5,000m run while Heller also is in the Top 8 in his long event, ranking this week at No. 8.

The women's track and field/cross country program has been hot this academic year as the cross country team finished fourth at the NCAA Championships to claim the first trophy for the women's program. Last weekend, the women made history again by finishing third overall at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. That finish was better than the 1991 team's tie for fourth place.

Although the team finished with the bronze medal in the team standings, two individual Sun Devil women won gold in the respective events to claim the program's first national titles since the 1992 indoor season. Amy Hastings won the individual title in the 5,000m run on the first day of the meet before Jacquelyn Johnson took home the title in the pentathlon.

The titles won by Amy Hastings and Jacquelyn Johnson marked the first time in program history that a national title in an indoor distance event and an indoor multi-event had been captured. Hastings' crown is the second distance title ever and the first since 1959 when Alex Henderson won the school's first NCAA title by taking the men's two mile run. The multi-event crown had been won three other times in school history with Dana Collins winning the outdoor pentathlon in 1977 (the first women's national title) before Gea Johnson in 1990 and Jacquelyn Johnson in 2004 won the outdoor heptathlon. All told, the women have now won seven individual and one relay national title indoors while adding 10 individual and three relay crowns outdoor. The men, despite not having won an indoor title, have collected 13 individual and one relay national championship, as well as the 1977 team title.

Eight Sun Devils earned All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships, including six women and both men's entrants. For the women, Jacquelyn Johnson (pentathlon), Amy Hastings (5,000m), Victoria Jackson (5,000m), Jenna Kingma (3,000m), Sarah Stevens (shot put) and Stephanie Garnett (weight throw) all attained the honor while Joshua Kinnaman (heptathlon) and Ryan Zimmerman (triple jump).

In the history of the women's track & field/cross country program, Amy Hastings has earned the eighth-most All-America honors with six after capturing three in indoor track and field and three in cross country (the only Sun Devil to do so). Jacquelyn Johnson is tied for 17th with a handful of others after earning her third career accolade (two indoor, one outdoor).

NCAA champions Amy Hastings and Jacquelyn Johnson added to their successful careers over the weekend by winning their first and second titles, respectively. Hastings, who became the first Sun Devil to win a distance event national title in track, also is the only ASU cross country runner to ever win the Pac-10 title, doing so in 2004. Johnson, the national runner-up indoors in 2004, also won the outdoor heptathlon in 2004 before redshirting last year to compete on the ASU basketball team.

During the indoor season, five school records were broken with four coming from the women's side of competition. April Kubishta opened the year by breaking the record in the pole vault and has reset the mark on three occasions this season while fellow field event competitors Sarah Stevens (shot put) and Jessica Pressley (weight throw) have taken over the top spot in their respective events. Stevens' mark broke a 23 year-old record while Pressley's topped the mark set in 2001. The other two records came from Amy Hastings in the 5,000m run and Ryan Warrenburg in the 3,000m run. Outdoors, Hastings reset her own 10,000m run mark at the Stanford Invitational (March 31).

Leslie Deniz set the school record in the women's indoor shot put with a heave of 17.03m back in 1983. Three years later, current Sun Devil thrower Sarah Stevens was born. Twenty years after her birth, Stevens bumped Deniz' mark to the No. 2 position after winning the Air Force Invitational with a toss of 17.52m and breaking the 23 year-old record. Deniz' mark also fell during the last outdoor season as Jessica Pressley recorded a toss of 17.05m to break the 22 year-old mark of 17.03m.

Four men and two women return to the track this season after winning Pac-10 titles one year ago while one other woman returns after a redshirt season. For the men, two-time 3,000m steeplechase champion Aaron Aguayo is back and will look for his third title in a row while Steven Koehnemann (4x100m), Kelvin Love Jr. (4x100m) and Domenik Peterson (4x100m and 4x400m) round out the returning men. On the women's side, Christina Hardeman is the lone returning member of the championship 4x100m relay of one year ago while Anna Masinelli is back following her victory in the steeplechase last year. Two years ago, Jacquelyn Johnson won gold twice as she was crowned champion in the heptathlon and the high jump during the 2004 season.

It will be a very busy time for the Sun Devils next weekend as they are slated to compete in a trio of meets. The weekend opens with several athletes heading to Walnut, Calif., for the Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday and Friday while several others will compete in the Mesa Classic at Mesa Community College on Friday night. The weekend concludes with the 27th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola on Saturday.

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