ASU Hosts 29th Sun Angel Track Classic This Weekend

April 10, 2008

Sun Devil Meet Notes (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University track and field program is set to host its third home event of the season this weekend as numerous teams and athletes will be on campus to compete in the 29th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola this Friday and Saturday on Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium. The hammer competition will be held Friday starting at 3 p.m. while the remaining events will take place Saturday.

The first rankings of the 2008 outdoor season were released April 9 with both Sun Devil teams ranked among the Top 10. The women, the defending national outdoor champions and winners of the last three national meets, lead the way at the top position while the men, winners of the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships, are ranked No. 7.

Several other nationally ranked teams will be on hand to compete this weekend as well. Although they might not have their full rosters with them, representatives from nationally ranked teams will include men's teams No. 2 Florida, No. 9 Alabama, No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 Arizona and No. 18 Wisconsin while the women's teams set to compete include No. 5 Florida, No. 16 Auburn, No. 19 Arizona, No. 23 New Mexico and No. 25 Penn State. Other teams that will be represented in the meet include: Adams State, Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Columbia, Coppin State, Dartmouth, DePaul, Duke, Florida Atlantic, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Michigan, Morgan State, Northern Arizona, Ohio State, Rhode Island, Villanova and Washington.

While the Classic is designed for collegiate teams, numerous post-collegiate competitors will be on hand this weekend, including former Sun Devils. Olympic Gold Medalist (2004) Dwight Phillips and 2008 USA Indoor Champion Trevell Quinely will compete in the long jump (8 p.m. Saturday); 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Nick Hysong will compete in the pole vault; U.S. record-holder (3,000m steeplechase) Lisa Galaviz will compete in the 1,500m run; distance runner Roger Cahill will be back to run in the 5,000m race and Vince Mosca will compete in the invitational shot put.

This year's Classic will be run a little differently then in all the year's past as the staff has set up a premier portion of the meet to feature some of the elite competitors. Opening ceremonies will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday and will feature many races and several field events. In the field, the invitational sections of the men's long jump and men's and women's shot put will be held while running events, such as the invitational portions of the 100m dash, 400m dash, 800m run, 1,500m run, steeplechase, 5,000m run and 4x400m relays will be contested.

This year's meet honoree of the 29th Sun Angel Track Classic is Gary Williky, one of the top throwers in program history. Williky competed in the early 1980's for the Sun Devils and still holds the school records in both the outdoor shot put (68-02.50/20.78m) and discus (203-06/62.02m) and ranks fifth in the indoor shot put (61-01.00/18.62m). His outdoor shot put mark also stands as the ninth-best in the history of the Pac-10 (indoor and outdoor included) while his discus mark is the first of only two marks that have surpassed 200 feet. One of the top throwers in the nation in 1985, Williky was ranked No. 8 in the U.S. by Track & Field News in the discus and No. 10 in the shot put, making him the only man in the nation to be ranked in the Top 10 in both events that year.

The Pacific-10 Conference announced its first weekly honors of the 2008 outdoor season on Wednesday (April 9) with two Sun Devil women earning half of the awards. Jacquelyn Johnson was selected as the Women's Field Athlete of the Week for her performance in the heptathlon while Charonda Williams was selected as the Women's Track Athlete of the Week after winning the 100m and 200m dash events in Tucson.

To say Johnson had a strong opening in the heptathlon would be an understatement as the senior and three-time defending NCAA champion scored a school-record 6,143 points, bettering the mark of 6,125 points by Gea Johnson in 1990. Johnson won all seven events of the Jim Click Combined Events heptathlon and regionally qualified in four of those events, including the 100m hurdles, the high jump, the long jump and the javelin. Her javelin throw of 46.45m (152-05) also is the school record, giving her two on the day.

The second weekly award winner from the Pac-10 was junior transfer Charonda Williams, who had a hand in three victories, three regional qualifiers and a pair of times that rank among the Top 10 all-time in Arizona State history. Williams opened the day by winning the 100m dash in 11.50, the ninth-best time in school history, before she ran the third leg of the victorious 4x100m relay (45.04). In the final sprint of the day, Williams clocked a time of 23.48 to win the 200m dash and record the eighth-best mark in school history.

The top marks were not just recorded by the women as one man had a big day as well. Brad Roth, on his birthday, entered the meet with a personal best of 69.99m, just one centimeter from qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. On his second throw of the competition, he broke the 70m mark before hitting a toss of 72.24m (237-00) in the finals. His mark moved him up to third on the all-time Arizona State chart and pushed him into sixth on the NCAA lists currently.

According to the world Top 20 lists, seven marks earned by Sun Devils so far this outdoor season fall on the world lists, including Jacquelyn Johnson's 6,143 points in the heptathlon, which currently leads the world. Other women's marks in the Top 20 include Johnson in the 100m hurdles (10th at 13.19), April Kubishta in the pole vault (14th at 4.15m), Ali Kielty in the 10,000m run (19th at 34:04.07) and Charonda Williams in the 200m dash (20th at 23.48). The men have a pair of entries with Matt Turner leading the way with his ninth-place tie in the high jump (2.20m) while Ryan Whiting is 17th in the discus (61.11m). Former Sun Devil Latosha Wallace is currently ranked 10th in the women's 400m hurdles (56.91).

Once again, a trio of women's throwers has excelled this year as the group of Sarah Stevens, Jessica Pressley and Tai Battle currently rank second, fourth and fifth in the nation, respectively. Stevens has a mark of 55.71m while Pressley stands at 54.24m and Battle, the 2007 NCAA runner-up, is at 53.97m. The trio is ranked in the Top 11 in the hammer with Stevens third and Pressley fourth.

According to the latest update of the NCAA Descending Order lists, four men and nine women hold marks that rank in the scoring positions (Top 8). For the men, Joel Phillips (400m), Matt Turner (high jump) and Ryan Whiting (discus) all stand fourth in their events while Brad Roth (javelin) is ranked sixth. On the women's side, Jacquelyn Johnson lead the nation in the heptathlon and eighth in the 100m hurdles while Sarah Stevens (second in discus and third in hammer) and Jessica Pressley (fourth in the discus and hammer) are the only other Sun Devils among the Top 8 in two events. Charonda Williams (200m) and April Kubishta (pole vault) are both fourth while Tai Battle is fifth in the discus.

In the women's javelin at the Baldy Castillo Invite, Addison McGrath qualified for the regional meet and finished fifth in the meet with her toss of 44.34m (145-06), the fourth-best throw in school history. The mark, which came on her second attempt, also came on her second attempt ever as she joined the team this season to give the event a try. McGrath was already a student-athlete at Arizona State before joining the team as she is a member of the No. 7-ranked water polo team, leading the team in scoring with 64 goals (fourth in the nation).

On March 14-15, the Sun Devils traveled 21 student-athletes to the 2008 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and returned with both the men's and women's national team titles, accomplishing the feat for just the second time in NCAA history (LSU did so in 2004). The women scored 51 points with LSU finishing second with 43 points in the women's race while the men edged out favorite Florida State, 44-41, for their first indoor team crown.

The titles earned by the Sun Devil men and women are the 134th and 135th national titles captured by Arizona State in school history. The wins are the 39th and 66th national titles for the men and women, respectively, while 30 other titles were won in coed events (20 in mixed archery and 10 in mixed badminton).

With the team victory, the Sun Devil women successfully defended their first national tittle won last year when the team captured the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The Sun Devils, ranked No. 1 last year, edged No. 2 LSU, 38-33, to win their first indoor crown. This year, the rankings were reversed, but the Sun Devils still won.

Arizona State's women have been dominant over the course of the past year as the Sun Devils have won seven championship meets in a row. Those meets include the 2007 MPSF Indoor Championships, the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships, the 2007 Pac-10 Championships, the 2007 NCAA West Region Championships, the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the 2008 MPSF Indoor Championships and the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships.

With 44 points, the Sun Devil men won their first indoor championship and became the 14th different men's program to capture the indoor crown since the NCAA began sponsoring an indoor meet in 1965. The title is the second in program history for the men as the 1977 team captured the outdoor championship, the first team title in ASU track & field history.

The men's team victory at the NCAA Indoor Championships marked the first men's team title earned for the Sun Devil athletic department since 1996 when the men's golf team captured their second championship (also won in 1990). Prior to the women winning last year and this year, the previous Sun Devil national champions were the 1998 women's golf team.

The women's team, which is one of only seven programs to win an NCAA indoor title since the association began sponsoring the event in 1983, repeated as national champions, marking just the fifth time in NCAA history that a team has won back-to-back titles. The last to do so was LSU (2002-2003-2004). The other schools to do so were UCLA (2000-2001), LSU (1993-1994-1995-1996-1997) and Nebraska (1983-1984).

The women's team was not the only repeat winners on the weekend for the Sun Devils as Jacquelyn Johnson secured her third indoor pentathlon crown in a row, scoring a collegiate and meet record 4,496 points. In her career, Johnson has three titles and one runner-up finish (second as a true freshman in 2004).

When Jacquelyn Johnson successfully defended her indoor pentathlon crowns she won at the 2006 and 2007 NCAA meets, she became just the ninth woman to win the same event three times in a career at the indoor championships and the second Sun Devil, joining Maicel Malone, who won the 400m dash in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Other three-time champions include Regina Cavanaugh of Rice (shot put, 1984-85-86), Suzy Favor of Wisconsin (mile, 1987-89-90), Vicki Huber of Villanova (3,000m, 1987-88-89), Carlette Guidry of Texas (55m, 1988-90-91), Amy Wickus of Wisconsin (800m, 1993-94-95), Amy Acuff of UCLA (high jump, 1994-95-96) and Trecia Smith of Pittsburgh (long jump, 1997-98-99).

The teams and Johnson were not the only champions over the weekend as two men captured individual titles in remarkable fashion. Ryan Whiting led off by winning the shot put with a huge toss of 71-03.50 (21.73m) to set the collegiate record in the event. In the second-to-last event of the meet, Kyle Alcorn stormed to the front of the pack late in the 3,000m race to capture the national crown and put the Sun Devils in a position to win the team title.

Jacquelyn Johnson and Ryan Whiting both set collegiate records in winning their national crowns over the weekend. Johnson, who entered the meet with a best of 4,312 points in the pentathlon, ended the meet with 4,496 points, breaking the collegiate record of 4,439 points set in 2002 by Austra Skuyte (Kansas State) and bettering the meet mark of 4,412 points scored by Hyleas Fountain (Georgia) in 2004 when she defeated Johnson for the first NCAA pentathlon crown.

While Johnson broke a record that was set a few years ago, Whiting broke the 31 year-old mark of Terry Albritton (Stanford), who threw 70-06.50 (21.50m) in 1977. Whiting, who recorded a toss of 71-03.50 (21.73m) on his final throw of the competition, is now the collegiate, meet and Pac-10 indoor record holder while ranking third all-time on the Pac-10 lists as two marks recorded outdoors are ahead of Whiting.

Needing some big points in the 3,000m run at the end of the meet, Kyle Alcorn stepped onto the track as the 14th-ranked runner in the race. Alcorn surged ahead mid-way through the race and took the lead before relinquishing it. Sitting in fifth place with two laps to go, Alcorn again surged ahead and captured the lead that he held onto for the remainder of the race, crossing the line in 8:00.82 to not only win his first national title, but giving ASU 10 team points and tying it with Florida State at 38 points heading into the 4x400m relay.

With the team race down to ASU and FSU and only the 4x400m relay remaining, all the Sun Devils had to do was finish ahead of the Seminoles in the standings of the race to secure a team crown. In the three-heat race, FSU ran first and clocked a time of 3:07.47, meaning ASU had to finish faster, which it did as Jimmie Gordon, Darryl Elston, Justin Kremer and Joel Phillip clocked in at 3:06.34 to win the third heat and place third overall, pushing FSU to sixth in the race and giving ASU the team title.

The United States Track & Field, Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced its national award winners following the NCAA Indoor Championships with four Sun Devils garnering five of the eight national accolades available. Greg Kraft was selected as the Women's National and Men's National Coach of the Year; David Dumble was voted the Women's National Assistant Coach of the Year; Jacquelyn Johnson was named the Women's National Field Athlete of the Year; and Ryan Whiting was selected as the Men's National Field Athlete of the Year.

The women had three runner-up finishes and the men added a pair to help both teams to victory in Fayetteville. On the men's side, second-place finishes were recorded by April Kubishta (pole vault), Sarah Stevens (shot put) and Jessica Pressley (weight throw) while the men's second-place finishers included Joel Phillip (400m dash) and the distance medley relay of Joey Heller, Justin Kremer, Nectaly Barbosa and Kyle Alcorn.

From the results recorded at the NCAA Indoor Championships, five women's marks and three men's rank among the Top 5 all-time in ASU history, including three women's and two men's school records. On the women's side, school-records went to April Kubishta in the pole vault (4.30m), Jessica Pressley in the weight throw (22.04m) and Jacquelyn Johnson in the pentathlon (4,496 points) while the men's records included Ryan Whiting in the shot put (21.73m) and the distance medley relay of Joey Heller, Justin Kremer, Nectaly Barbosa and Kyle Alcorn. Both 4x400m relays rank among the Top 3, including the second-best time of 3:33.53 by the women (Dominique' Maloy, Shauntel Elcock, Jordan Durham, Jeavon Benjamin) and the third-best time of 3:06.34 by the men (Jimmie Gordon, Darryl Elston, Kremer, Joel Phillip). The final Top 3 mark came from Johnson in the 60m hurdles (8.23).

Overall, nine women and nine men each earned All-America honors from the USTFCCCA, including two women and four men that earned two honors each. Multiple honors were earned by Jacquelyn Johnson (pentathlon & long jump) and Jessica Pressley (shot put & weight throw) for the women and men's competitors Kyle Alcorn (3,000m & DMR), Jimmie Gordon (400m & 4x400m), Justin Kremer (4x400m & DMR) and Joel Phillip (400m & 4x400m). Other women's All-Americans included Jeavon Benjamin (4x400m), Jordan Durham (4x400m), Shauntel Elcock (4x400m), Stephanie Garnett (long jump), April Kubishta (pole vault), Dominique' Maloy (4x400m) and Sarah Stevens (shot put) while the men included Nectaly Barbosa (DMR), Darryl Elston (4x400m), Joey Heller (DMR), Matt Turner (long jump) and Ryan Whiting (shot put).

On March 30, former Sun Devil Amy Hastings will represent the United States as a member of the 2008 Team USA World Cross Country squad that will head to Edinburgh, Great Britain, for the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Hastings, a 10-time All-American at Arizona State, will be running for Team USA for the first time in her career.

Following the NCAA Indoor Championships last weekend, two men and three women ended the indoor season with marks ranking in the Top 20 on the world lists. For the men, Ryan Whiting ranks third in the shot put with a toss of 21.73m while Joel Phillip stands 10th in the 400m dash at 46.27. On the women's side, Jessica Pressley and Sarah Stevens both are Top 15 in the weight throw with Pressley ranking fourth at 22.04m and Stevens in 13th at 20.94m. Jacquelyn Johnson is 16th in the pentathlon with 4,496 points.

Heading into the national meet, a trio of Sun Devils were honored with awards for their performances so far this indoor season. The United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) selected Jacquelyn Johnson as the Women's West Region Field Athlete of the Year, picked head coach Greg Kraft as the Women's West Region Coach of the Year and chose throws coach David Dumble as the Women's West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. All three are now eligible for the national honor that will be announced following the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend.

The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) announced its annual awards Tuesday with the Sun Devils taking three of the four honors. Greg Kraft was selected as the MPSF Women's Coach of the Year while Jacquelyn Johnson was named the MPSF Women's Athlete of the Year and Ryan Whiting was named the MPSF Men's Athlete of the Year. The honor is the first for Whiting and Johnson and the second in a row for Kraft. Sarah Stevens won the women's athlete honor last year.

The shot put event has been good to the Sun Devils in recent years and this year looks to be no different this year under coach David Dumble. Last season, six All-America honors were earned with Sarah Stevens, Jessica Pressley and Ryan Whiting each earning the accolade at both the NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor meets. During the indoor season, Ryan Whiting led the nation and set a collegiate record with the third-best throw in the world so far this year at 21.73m while Sarah Stevens (second) and Jessica Pressley (fifth) also finished well at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

At the Washington Invite (Feb. 2), Sun Devil senior Kyle Alcorn clocked a time of 3:59.82 in the mile to become only the third Sun Devil runner to break the four-minute mark in the event and just the second indoors. Alcorn is second on the ASU indoor lists behind Brandon Strong, who ran 3:59.59 in 2002, and is third overall in ASU history behind the 3:56.4 turned in by Chuck LaBenz in 1970.

Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium went under the knife recently as the home of Arizona State University track and field was resurfaced with the latest product from Mondo, Mondotrack FTX. ASU's home venue is the first in the world to be surfaced with the product, which also will be installed at Beijing's Olympic Stadium in time for the 2008 Summer Games. Along with the new surface came an expanded shot put area and the addition of a second 'D' zone (at the north end of the infield). The majority of the surface will be maroon/red in color with the only exceptions being the three exchange zones on the track and the non-runway areas of both 'D' zones, which will be gold. The project was complete Jan. 29.

Athletic honors were not the only awards attained during the year as the Sun Devils placed 20 women and 10 men on the Pac-10 All-Academic lists while seven women and two men earned MPSF All-Academic recognition for the indoor season. A total of 13 student-athletes (10 women and three men) were selected for USTFCCCA National All-Academic honors while three women -- Brooke Bennett, April Kubishta and Sarah Stevens -- earned ESPN The Magazine All-District VIII honors. The USTFCCCA also bestowed three more prestigious academic honors on the Sun Devils following the 2007 season as the women's team earned USTFCCCA Women's Division I All-Academic Team honors before being selected as the 2007 USTFCCCA Women' Indoor and Outdoor All-Academic Team of the Year. Individually, Stevens was selected as the USTFCCCA Women's Indoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Several of the team's newcomers have already made an impact this year as members of a cross country program that qualified both a women's and men's team to the 2007 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. At the meet, the women finished fourth overall to earn their second trophy (Top 4 finishers) in three years while the men, who entered the meet ranked 30th, finished 26th overall. Dating back to the 2005 cross country national meet (three cross country seasons, two indoor track & field seasons and two outdoor track & field seasons), the Sun Devil women have accumulated six trophies, including two national titles (2007 indoor and 2007 outdoor), one third-place finish (2006 indoor) and three fourth-place showings (2005 and 2007 cross country and 2006 outdoor).

2008 PAC-10 HOSTS
The 2008 Pac-10 Championships will be held at Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium this year with events being contested on two separate weekends. The women's heptathlon and men's decathlon will take place on May 9-10 with the remainder of the events being held one week later, May 16-17.

The Sun Devils will return to the road next weekend for one meet as they travel to Walnut, Calif., for the Mt. SAC Relays, April 17-20.

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