Arizona State Hosts Sun Angel Track Classic Saturday

April 11, 2006

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Three meets await the Arizona State University track and field team this weekend, including the 27th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola this Saturday on Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe. Along with its home meet, several members of the team will travel to Walnut, Calif., for the Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday and Friday while others also are set to compete in the Mesa Classic on Friday night at near-by Mesa Community College.

The 27th edition of the Sun Angel Track Classic will run most all day Saturday with only the women's and men's hammer throw being contested Friday night starting at 5:30 p.m. The bulk of the meet starts at 1 p.m. Saturday with the women's discus throw while the running events start at 3 p.m. with the finals of the high school girl's 100m hurdles. In all, 15 collegiate and over 35 high school teams will be represented in the meet Saturday as all college events will run as finals with the finals of numerous high school running events also worked into the schedule.

Arizona State and Pac-10 rival UCLA are just two of the teams in the field this year that also includes in-state squads from Arizona, Northern Arizona and Central Arizona. Also making the trip to Tempe will be Auburn, Colorado, Colorado State, Iowa (men), Kansas State, Minnesota (men), Michigan (men), Utah (women), Northern Iowa and Kentucky. Of the invited teams, several also hold high national rankings according to the latest Trackwire Top 25. Those ranked are the women #5 Arizona State, #9 Auburn, #10 UCLA and #19 Northern Arizona while the men have #22 UCLA in the field.

Although the field of competitors will be primarily comprised of collegiate athletes, there will still be a few post-collegiate performers in the field. One of those is 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and former Sun Devil All-American Dwight Phillips, who will run the 100m dash before entering his signature event, the long jump. At the 2004 Athens Games, Phillips jumped 8.59m (28-2.25) to capture gold for the United States after finishing eighth at the 2000 Sydney Games in the same event.

The Sun Angel Track Classic is not the only event taking place on campus this weekend as four other Arizona State athletic events and one race will take place throughout the day. The morning kicks off with the 2nd Annual Pat's Run (honoring former Sun Devil football player and Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan) at 8 a.m. followed by the women's tennis team facing Stanford at noon at the Whiteman Tennis Center. Then, at 1 p.m., the women's discus opens the day of events on the track while at the same time, the first pitch of ASU's baseball game against USC takes place. At 2:30 p.m. inside Sun Devil Stadium, the annual spring football game will be contested with the day being capped starting at 7 p.m. as the softball team faces archrival Arizona at 7 p.m.

The Arizona State women are ranked fifth again this week according to the Trackwire Top 25 while also holding the No. 5 spot in the first coaches' poll of the 2006 outdoor season.

The women's 4x400m relay of Shauntel Elcock, Christina Hardeman, Jacquelyn Johnson and Latosha Wallace turned in several strong performances at the Texas Relays over the weekend, including a five second improvement on their season best in the event. In the collegiate race on Friday, the women clocked a season-best 3:34.96 to finish 11th in the very fast race. The next day, the women lined up again, this time in the invitational race, and finished third overall and first among the collegiate entries in a time of 3:36.74. In the race, the only two teams to defeat the Sun Devil women were the USA 'Red' and USA 'White' national teams.

Kelvin Love Jr. has started his second season with the team in fine fashion as he leads the conference in the 200m dash (21.08) and sits fourth overall in the 100m dash following his 10.42 clocked twice at the Texas Relays over the weekend. Love Jr. also has helped the 4x100m relay team qualify for the regional meet, just as he has done in the two individual short sprint events.

Brandon Glenn and April Kubishta each competed in the 'A' section of the pole vault at the Texas Relays and both finished with high marks as each Sun Devil matched their personal best in collegiate outdoor competition with clearances of 5.30m and 3.95m, respectively. Both marks also are the second-best clearances in school history.

Thirteen members of the Sun Devil program attained placement on the Academic All-MPSF lists the indoor track and field conference announce April 11. The 10 women named to the list include Rachel Ellison, Amy Hastings, Victoria Jackson, Jacquelyn Johnson, Jenna Kingma, April Kubishta, Jessie McLaughlin, Sarah Stevens, Cara Walker and Alana Waterford. The men were represented by Joey Heller, Tomas Navarro and Ryan Warrenburg.

The Dandy Dozen was updated April 10 with eight women and six men earning positions among the Top 12 in their respective events. For the women, Amy Hastings and Jacquelyn Johnson are ranked No. 1 again this week in the 5,000m run and the heptathlon, respectively, while Sarah Stevens and Jessica Pressley are both among the Top 12 in two events each. Stevens is ranked third in the shot put and fourth in the hammer while Pressley is fifth in the discus and ninth in the hammer. On the men's side, the relays continue to lead the way as the 4x400m squad is ranked sixth and the 4x100m relay is 11th. Individually, Ryan Zimmerman holds the highest rank as he sits ninth in the triple jump.

Three men's and six women's marks currently rank in the Top 8 (scoring positions at the national meet) with Jacquelyn Johnson leading the way as she leads the heptathlon as of April 11. Also for the women, Amy Hastings (10,000m run) and Jenna Kingma (5,000m run) are ranked fourth, Sarah Stevens (hammer) is ranked fifth and both Rachel Ellison (1,500m run) and Victoria Jackson (10,000m run) are ranked eighth. On the men's side, Ryan Zimmerman leads the way at No. 3 in the triple jump while Joshua Kinnaman (decathlon) is ranked fourth and the 4x400m relay team of Jerry Jones, Rich Allen, Chris Adams and Domenik Peterson are ranked sixth.

Regionally, the women have qualified 25 marks and the men 18 while both boast 10 marks among the Top 3 in the west. Of those 20 marks in the Top 3, four women's and three men's rank as the best so far this season. The regional leaders for the women include Amy Hastings (10,000m run), Latosha Wallace (400m hurdles), Jacquelyn Johnson (heptathlon) and the 4x400m relay while the men lead in the 4x400m relay and individually with Ryan Zimmerman (triple jump) and Velibor Radejovic (5,000m run).

The first performance lists of the 2006 outdoor season were released for the Pac-10 Conference on April 10 with three men and x women leading their respective events among the league. For the men, Kelvin Love Jr., is the leader in the 200m dash at 21.08, the 4x400m relay is tops at 3:05.22 and Ryan Zimmerman holds the top mark in the triple jump at 15.82m (51-11.00). The women have top place holders in Amy Hastings in the 10,000m run at 33:17.89, Latosha Wallace in the 400m hurdles at 58.70, Jacquelyn Johnson in the high jump at 1.80m (5-10.75) and in the heptathlon with 5,797 points and Sarah Stevens in the shot put at 17.52m (57-05.25) recorded indoors (the conference allows marks from indoor events to rank an athlete on its lists).

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 10th 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 35th 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.

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).

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.

Following its final home meet of the season, the Sun Devils will split up to compete in a pair of meets next weekend. Some athletes will head to Eugene, Ore., the site of the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, for the Oregon Twilight Meet on April 21-22 while others will return to Austin, Texas, for the Texas Twilight Meet on April 22.

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