Track & Field Opens 2007 Indoor Slate in Albuquerque

Jan. 23, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University track and field team will open its 2007 indoor season this weekend as the Sun Devils head to a pair of events inside the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M. The multi-event athletes will compete in the Roger Cox Multis on Thursday and Friday before the remaining traveling athletes compete in the Dan DeHart Invitational on Saturday.

Numerous nationally ranked individuals will be on hand to compete in a talented field as representatives from Arizona State, Arizona, BYU, California, Cal Poly, Colorado State, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, New Mexico, Texas and Texas Tech will compete. On the women's side, the Sun Devil women lead the nationally ranked teams at No. 2 with No. 7 Kansas State and No. 19 Texas Tech rounding out the ranked teams. The Sun Devil men, ranked No. 18, are the only ranked men's team in the meet.

Prior to the season getting under way, 80 student-athletes and eight staff members joined forces with the Make A Difference organization in Phoenix to participate in the MLK Maryvale Curb Appeal Project on January 13. Despite frigid temperatures, the group set to work on painting five homes and landscaping another in the Maryvale community. The Sun Devils were part of a 250-volunteer force that worked on nine projects in the Valley that day (visit for a photo gallery of the Sun Devils at work).

Over the weekend, several Sun Devils took part in the 2007 National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nev. In the first section of the women's collegiate competition, junior April Kubishta cleared 4.15m (13-07.25) to take second place in the event while bettering her Arizona State school record by one centimeter. Last year, Kubishta broke the mark in Flagstaff with a clearance of 4.05m one week before clearing 4.07m in Air Force, Colo. One week after that, she climbed to 4.13m in Albuquerque before hitting 4.14m at the MPSF Championships (third place) in Seattle.

Entering the weekend in New Mexico, the Sun Devils remained in the January 23 Trackwire 25. For the second week in a row, the women's program is ranked second with a projected 51 points behind Stanford's 55 points while the men's 11 points have them tied for 18th in the latest release for the second week in a row.

Part of the calculations used to project a team's point total is how its individuals will fare at the national meet. The Trackwire D12 ranks individuals in each of the contested events and this week, two individual men, eight individual women and two women's relays are listed in the Dandy Dozen. On the men's side, Ryan Whiting is ranked No. 2 in the shot put while Joshua Kinnaman sits sixth in the heptathlon. The women's 4x400m relay (12th) and distance medley relay (10th) are joined by Jacquelyn Johnson (No. 1 in the pentathlon), second ranked Amy Hastings (5,000m run), Sarah Stevens (shot put) and April Kubishta (pole vault). Also ranked is Jenna Kingma, third in the 3,000m run, and Jessica Pressley, who is fourth in the shot put and fifth in the weight throw.

According to the latest Dandy Dozen (January 23), only one woman and two men can find their respective names on both throwing lists while only one of them is included in the Top 5 in both throws. Sun Devil Jessica Pressley is that one as she enters the weekend ranked No. 4 in the shot put while ranking No. 5 in the weight throw, making her the only woman in the nation ranked in both throws. On the men's side, Russ Winger of Idaho and Cory Martin of Auburn are ranked in both.

The recent success the women's program has enjoyed has been helped along by the strong individual accomplishments of Jacquelyn Johnson and Amy Hastings, Arizona State's returning NCAA champions. Johnson, who entered last season as the 2004 NCAA heptathlon champ, captured both the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon crowns while Hastings won the indoor 5,000m run for her first title. The duo has combined to earn 11 All-America honors with Hastings recording seven individual national honors and Johnson four.

A pair of men return to the track this season after earning All-America honors last year with both bringing two awards with them. Joshua Kinnaman returns after earning the national acclaim in the indoor heptathlon before securing All-America honors in the outdoor decathlon later in the year. Aguayo comes to the track after earning All-America status in the outdoor 3,000m steeplechase before finishing ninth to claim the honor at the most recent NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Six women return this season after earning All-America honors in 2006, including four women that earned the acclaim in indoor and outdoor events. Indoors, Jacquelyn Johnson and Amy Hastings won national titles in the pentathlon and 5,000m run, respectively to earn their awards while Jenna Kingma earned her honor in the 3,000m run. In the field, Stephanie Garnett was an All-American in the long jump while Sarah Stevens earned the honor in the shot put. Outdoors, Johnson again won the national title (heptathlon) while Hastings (10,000m run) and Kingma (5,000m run) also earned All-America status. Stevens added another honor in the shot put while Jessica Pressley was the only Sun Devil to double during the championships, earning All-America status in both the discus and shot put events.

At the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, seven women combined to score 30 points to help the team place third in the overall standings. This year, six of those seven women return, accounting for 29 of the 30 points scored. The lone loss came in Victoria Jackson (graduation) who placed eighth in the 5,000m run to earn one team point. The team's finish marked the highest ever for the program and also earned it's first trophy.

For only the second time in NCAA women's history, one program finished in the Top 4 at the cross country championships, indoor track & field championships and the outdoor track & field championships to earn a trophy in each of the three major events in the same academic year. The first was Tennessee during the 1982-83 season with the second coming last year from the Sun Devil program. After placing fourth at the cross country meet, the women place third at the indoor track & field meet before closing out the campaign in a tie for fourth outdoors.

With 154 points, the Sun Devil women edged Stanford (151.5) for their first Pac-10 Championship at the meet held in Eugene, Ore. The Sun Devils had five individual champions, including Jacquelyn Johnson in the heptathlon, Victoria Jackson in the 5,000m run, Amy Hastings in the 10,000m run, Sarah Stevens in the shot put and Brooke Bennett in the 3,000m steeplechase. The conference crown is the first for the women's program and the first since the men captured the 1981 Pac-10 title.

Two Sun Devil women earned several awards from the USTFCCCA at the end of the season with one coming in the academic sector. Jacquelyn Johnson was tabbed as the USTFCCCA Women's West District Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year before being named as the USTFCCCA Women's Co-National Field Athlete of the Year. The academic honor went to Victoria Jackson who was named the USTFCCCA Women's Division I Outdoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

All the individual and team success the Sun Devil women enjoyed in 2006 also translated into recognition for their coaches. Head Coach Greg Kraft was honored as the 2006 Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year before earning the USTFCCCA Women's West District Coach of the Year. A pair of Kraft's assistants, throws coach David Dumble and distance/cross country coach Louie Quintana, also earned recognition, both regionally and nationally. Dumble was named the USTFCCCA West District and USTFCCCA National Assistant Coach of the Year (women's throws) while Quintana earned the same honors for women's distance.

In his final cross country race, Aaron Aguayo made sure he went out in style as he placed ninth overall at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., covering the 10,000m course in 31:06.60. His placement not only earned him his second All-America honor in the sport, it also marked the highest finish for a Sun Devil male in the meet. The previous best came from Todd Lewis when he finished 11th in the 1991 Championships. The highest finish ever in the program came from Lisa Aguilera during the 2000 meet when she placed fifth overall.

The Sun Devils will head north to Flagstaff next weekend to compete in the Mountain 'T' Invitational, being held inside the Walkup Skydome on the NAU campus February 2-3.

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