ASU Track & Field Faces Competition at Four Meets

Feb. 7, 2007


TEMPE, Ariz. - With another weekend of solid marks behind it, the Arizona State University track and field team will split its ranks and send members of the program to one of four meets this weekend throughout the nation. The jumps, pole vault and several throws athletes will compete in the TCR Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday and Saturday; several other throwers will compete at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.; the sprinters and relays will compete at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa; and the distance runners will compete at the Husky Invitational in Seattle, Wash.

While many members of the track and field team head to several indoor meets, three members of the cross country team will head to Boulder, Colo., to compete in the 2007 USA Cross Country Championships with a berth onto the US World Championship team at chance. Both Mikias Gelagle and Patrick Milloy will run in the junior men's race while Kari Hardt is set to run in the junior women's race. Several former Sun Devils are also slated to compete, including Fasil Bizuneh, Alvina Begay and Mary Duerbeck.

According to the latest national rankings release this week, the Sun Devil women hold top billing in both the USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll while also sitting first in the Trackwire Top 25. The men are not ranked this week in either poll.

According the most recent NCAA order lists, three Sun Devils also are ranked No. 1 in the nation in their respective events. On the women's side, April Kubishta's clearance of 4.30m is the top mark in the pole vault so far this year while Sarah Stevens' toss of 17.86m in the shot put is the national leader. In the men's shot put, redshirt freshman Ryan Whiting has the top toss with a mark of 19.89m.

April Kubishta seems to set a school record every time she takes the pole vault runway as she has reset the standard three times this season all ready and seven total times in the past two indoor seasons. Last weekend at the Mountain 'T' Invitational, Kubishta not only broke her own record, she broke a big barrier in school history by becoming the first female to clear 14 feet in competition with her winning mark of 4.30m (14-01.25). Her mark not only is the national leader so far this season, it also earned her an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships next month in Fayetteville, Ark.

In the early months of 1986, Jim Camp set the school record in the men's indoor shot put with his toss of 19.77m (64-10.50), becoming the first Sun Devil to surpass 19 meters. Now, over 20 years later, Camp's record has fallen as Ryan Whiting (who had not been born at the time the record was set) recorded a mark of 19.89m (65-03.25) to etch his name on top of the record book as well as the top of the national lists. The first Sun Devil to surpass 65 feet in competition, Whiting achieved the record in just his second collegiate meet after redshirting last year.

As of the February 6 update of the NCAA order lists, only six women have recorded qualifying marks in both the shot put and the weight throw with three of those women ranking in the Top 15 in both events. Of those three, two call Arizona State home as Sarah Stevens and Jessica Pressley have qualified in both disciplines. Stevens is ranked first in the shot put and 11th in the weight throw while Pressley is fifth in the weight throw and 14th in the shot put. The only other women to rank in the Top 15 in both events is Stevi Large of Akron, who ranks 12th in the shot put and 13th in the weight throw.

Two men that are new to the lineup this season have already qualified for the NCAA Championships, including Ryan Whiting and Matt Turner. Whiting, a redshirt freshman, has the top mark in the nation so far this year in the shot put at 19.89m while Turner, a junior transfer from Cal State Fullerton, has the 10th-best leap in the long jump at 7.60m.

The Sun Devils competed in the Mountain 'T' Invitational over the weekend with members of the team winning six events on the women's side and one men's event. For the women, Jacquelyn Johnson had a hand in three victories, taking the 60m hurdles in 8.52aa, the high jump with a clearance of 1.67m (5-5.75) and was the third leg of the victorious 4x400m relay team of Bridgette Williams, D'Metra Macedon and Latosha Wallace. Jessica Pressley won the weight throw with her toss of 20.25m (66-05.25), an NCAA automatic berth, while both women's pole vault events where won by ASU athletes, including April Kubishta in the invitational (4.30m) and Lisa Navarro in the open event (3.15m). The lone victory for the men was Ryan Whiting in the shot put with a toss of 19.89m (65-03.25).

The weekend produced four more automatic marks for the Sun Devils, including three improvements on previous marks recorded. Ryan Whiting was the lone male to punch an automatic ticket to the NCAA Championships, making the meet in the shot put with a toss of 19.89m (65-03.25). The women saw Jessica Pressley earn a berth in the weight throw (20.25m), April Kubishta in the pole vault (4.30m) and Sarah Stevens in the shot put (17.79m). Stevens has a better automatic mark of 17.86m recorded two weeks ago at the Dan DeHart Invitational.

Two men and four women have also posted provisional qualifiers so far this season. On the men's side, Matt Turner made the list in the long jump (7.60m) while Joshua Kinnaman has met the provisional standard in the heptathlon with 5,408 points. The women have Latosha Wallace on the provisional list for the 400m dash (53.67) along with Jessica Pressley in the shot put (15.97m), Sarah Stevens in the weight throw (19.81m) and Jacquelyn Johnson in the pentathlon (3,855 points).

Along with Whiting and Kubishta's school records over the weekend, three other marks recorded by Sun Devils found a place on the Arizona State all-time Top 5 lists. For the women, Jasmine Chaney improved her time in the 60m hurdles to 8.80aa, the fifth-fastest mark in school history, while Tai Battle, in her first meet as a Sun Devils, recorded the fifth-best mark in the weight throw with a toss of 17.66m (57-11.25). The men had one mark on the Top 5 and that came from Jason Lewis in the weight throw as he moved into No. 2 all-time with his toss of 19.21m (63-00.25).

The Trackwire D12 ranks individuals in each of the contested events and this week, two individual men, nine individual women and one women's relays appear on the Dandy Dozen. For the men, Ryan Whiting is ranked second in the shot put and Matt Turner is ranked ninth in the long jump. Along with the women's distance medley (12th) relay, the women have No. 1 Jacquelyn Johnson (pentathlon), No. 1 April Kubishta (pole vault), No. 1 Sarah Stevens (shot put), No. 2 Amy Hastings (5,000m), No. 5 Jessica Pressley (weight throw), No. 7 Pressley (shot put), No. 8 Latosha Wallace (400m), No. 9 Jenna Kingma (3,000m) and No. 9 Stevens (weight throw).

On the latest performance lists released by the MPSF, one men's and five women's marks are the best among the schools set to compete in the MPSF Championships on Feb. 23-24 in Seattle. Ryan Whiting (19.89m) is the leader in the shot put while the women have Latosha Wallace (53.67 in the 400m), Sarah Stevens (17.86m in the shot put), April Kubishta (4.30m in the pole vault), Jessica Pressley (20.25m in the weight throw) and the 4x400m relay of Bridgette Williams, Shauntel Elcock, Jacquelyn Johnson and Wallace (3:43.56) in the lead of their respective events.

Not only do the women lead five events in the MPSF this week, they also hold the two top spots in the shot put and the Top 3 positions in the weight throw. With Stevens leading the way in the shot put, Pressley is ranked second at 15.97m. Pressley, the leader in the weight throw, is followed by second-place Stevens (19.81m) and third-place Tai Battle (17.66m).

Seven current and former Sun Devils can find their names on the most up-to-date world performance lists with four of those entries coming from current athletes. Sarah Stevens is in the world Top 25 in two events, ranking eighth in the shot put (17.86m) and 21st in the weight throw (19.81m) while Jessica Pressley stands 12th in the weight throw (20.25m). Former NCAA 10,000m champion Victoria Jackson is currently ranked fourth in the 5,000m run (15:57.18). On the men's side, Ryan Whiting's toss of 19.89m in the shot put ranks him 10th in the world while former shot put thrower Vince Mosca is ranked 16th at 19.71m. Trevell Quinley holds the top spot in the long jump with his mark of 8.07m while Marcus Brunson is ranked second in the world at 60m (6.51).

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 send most of its athletes to Flagstaff, Ariz., next weekend as the team is set to compete in the Southwest Classic inside the Walkup Skydome on February 17.

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