ASU Track & Field Plays Host to Pac-10 Championships

May 14, 2008

Sun Devil Championship Notes (pdf) | Championship Central

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University track and field team will welcome the nine other members of the conference to Tempe this weekend as the Sun Devils are set to host the 2008 Pac-10 Track & Field Championships presented by 76 Gasoline on Friday and Saturday inside Sun Angel Stadium. Action opens both days at 10:30 a.m. with the hammer throw with all other events starting at 5 p.m.

Fans can purchase their tickets to one of the top collegiate conference meets in the nation by visiting the home of the ASU ticket office online at Tickets for the championships will be $15 for general admission and $13 for juniors (18 and younger)/seniors (60 and older) for single-session (single-day passes) while full session passes (both Friday and Saturday included) are $20 for general admission and $18 for juniors/seniors. Tickets will also be available at the entrance to Sun Angel Stadium on both days of competition.

The Sun Devil women will be looking to capture the Pac-10 Championship for the third year in a row, a feat that has only been done by one other women's program, UCLA. The Bruins won the first four titles (1987-90), three more from 1993-95, and then added eight in a row (1997-04). In the history of the Pac-10 women's championships, Arizona State is currently tied for second in total team titles won with two, the same amount Oregon has won and one more than Stanford and USC.

The Sun Devil men will be looking for their second Pac-10 Championship in program history this weekend with the first coming in 1981, Arizona State's third year as a member of the Pac-10. The Sun Devils have been close to winning on two other occasions, placing second in 1983 and 2007.

If the Sun Devils win both team crowns this weekend, it will mark the eighth time in Pac-10 history the same school has captured both titles in the same year and make ASU only the second school to accomplish the feat. UCLA is the only school to do so.

Two Sun Devils will compete in the field events this weekend and attempt to defend the crowns they won last year. Matt Turner won the long jump in 2007 with a leap of 7.84m while Sarah Stevens will look to double again as she captured the shot put (17.61m) and the discus (57.73m) one year ago.

Last year at Stanford, the women scored 158 points to beat out the host Cardinal (134.33) to win back-to-back Pac-10 Championships while the men took second by three points to Oregon (114-111). The women won four titles as Latosha Wallace captured the 400m dash (51.96) and helped the 4x400m relay to victory (3:33.14) while Sarah Stevens won the shot put (17.61m) and discus (57.73m) crowns. For the men, ASU won a pair of titles as Aaron Aguayo became the Conference's first four-time champion in the 3,000m steeplechase (8:36.42) while Matt Turner won the long jump (7.84m).

In the USTFCCCA's latest Top 25 rankings (May 13), both Sun Devil squads are ranked in the Top 10 this week, including the women at No. 1 for the second week in a row and the men at No. 6. The women accumulated 325.92 points to remain ahead of LSU (314.95) while the men held their position from last week with 197.07 points. Texas A&M leads the men's rankings for the second week in a row with 251.58 points.

The Pac-10 Conference features several highly ranked teams with five women's programs and six men's programs currently holding rankings in the national Top 20. In the women's rankings, Arizona State leads the way at No. 1 and is followed by No. 4 USC, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 Stanford and No. 15 Oregon. The men's ranked teams include No. 5 USC, No. 6 ASU, No. 7 UCLA, No. 13 Oregon, No. 16 Arizona and No. 20 Washington State.

The 2008 championship meet marks the fourth time the Sun Devils have played host to the event after joining the Conference in time for the 1979 season. Arizona State has served as the host in 1979, 1991 and 1999 before this year's event.

The Pac-10 meet opened last weekend with the women's heptathlon and men's decathlon competitions that saw Sun Devil senior Jacquelyn Johnson capture her third Pac-10 heptathlon crown with a score of 6,307 points. The senior won four of the seven heptathlon events to capture the crown, which was the fourth of her career (also won the high jump in 2004).

With the first event completed, Arizona State leads the women's team race with 10 points and is followed by both Oregon and Stanford, who each have nine points. The men's team standings have Oregon in the lead with 19 points and are followed by Washington State (eight) and Stanford (six).

Since the heptathlon was first contested at the Pac-10 Championships in 1987 (the same year the first women's championship was held for the Conference), only two women had won the event three times in a career until Jacquelyn Johnson added her name to the list over the weekend. Tracye Lawyer (Stanford) was the first to accomplish the feat in 1997-1998-1999 before Ellannee Richardson (Washington State) pulled off the triple in 2001-2002-2003.

Johnson's winning score of 6,307 points last weekend not only gave her a third Pac-10 title in the heptathlon, it also broke several records. Her total bettered her school record score of 6,143 points set earlier in the season, bettered the Pac-10 record of 6,205 points scored by Diana Pickler (Washington State) last year, bettered the Pac-10 meet record of 6,018 points scored by Pickler last year and broke Gea Johnson's (ASU) Sun Angel Stadium record of 6,129 points scored in 1990. The 6,307 points scored also ranks as the third-highest total in NCAA history and the best score by a collegiate competitor since 1995.

With her heptathlon crown, Jacquelyn Johnson tied Tonya Sedwick (UCLA) for the most titles won by a mutli-event athlete in Pac-10 history at four. Johnson won the heptathlon in 2004, 2006 and 2008 while also adding the high jump crown in 2004. Sedwick won the heptathlon in 1989 and 1991 while adding long jump titles both years. Johnson will have a chance to break the tie and claim the record for her own this weekend as she is set to compete in several individual events.

In the previous years Arizona State has played host to the Pac-10 Championships, the men have placed no higher than fifth (both in 1991 and 1999) while the women finished third in 1991. The last time Tempe was the site of the championships (1999), the men scored 77.5 points to finish fifth with USC winning (164) while the women took eighth with 45 points (UCLA won with 160.5). The last time the Pac-10 meet was held in the state of Arizona was in Tucson in 2004 where the men placed third and the women fourth.

In the four men's and three men's Pac-10 Championships held in Tempe, the Sun Devils have collected six men's and six women's titles. For the men, Dannie Jackson won the decathlon and long jump in 1979 before titles were won in 1991 by Robert Rucker in the 400m hurdles as well as the 4x400m relay of Rucker, Mike Sulcer, Ed Lovelace and Thomas Koech. In 1999, Dwight Phillips captured both titles as he won the long and triple jumps. On the women's side, Maicel Malone won the 200m, 400m and joined Tesra Bester, LaShawn Simmons and Shanequa Campbell to capture the 4x100m relay while Kim Toney won the 800m run. In 1999, Fiona Daly was the lone victor, claiming gold in the high jump. Jacquelyn Johnson added the women's sixth crown by winning the heptathlon last weekend.

With her record score and victory at the Pac-10 Multi-Event Championships over the weekend, Jacquelyn Johnson was named the Pac-10 Women's Field Athlete of the Week. It is the second time this year that Johnson has been honored with the field honor and the fifth overall for the Sun Devil program.

On the final descending order list for the conference heading into the Pac-10 Championships, three men's marks and four women's stand as the best in the Pac-10. For the men, Kyle Alcorn leads the 3,000m steeplechase at 8:38.52 and the 4x400m relay team is tops with its mark of 3:05.85. Ryan Whiting is the leader in the shot put with his mark of 21.73m. For the women, Sarah Stevens is the Pac-10 leader in the shot put (17.78m) and the discus (55.71m) while April Kubishta is tops in the pole vault at 4.32m and Jacquelyn Johnson is tied for the lead in the long jump at 6.50m.

The Sun Devil women's program has some solid performances this year with many coming from the field events, especially the throws. Heading into the Championships this weekend, the Sun Devils have Sarah Stevens leading the shot put (17.78m) with Jessica Pressley standing second (17.62m) while the same duo stands first (55.71m) and second (54.97m), respectively, in the discus and third (66.52m) and second (68.31m), respectively, in the hammer. Tai Battle, the NCAA runner-up in the discus last year, ranks fourth in both the discus (53.97m) and hammer (63.16m) while standing sixth in the shot put (15.18m).

The women in the jumps also have put their names on the lists of three events as well with Jacquelyn Johnson leading the long jump (6.50m) and standing fourth in the high jump (1.83m) while Stephanie Garnett is fourth in the long jump (6.42m). April Kubishta leads the pole vault at 4.32m as well.

The Sun Devils swept the Double Dual in Tucson over the weekend as Arizona State defeated intrastate rivals Arizona and Northern Arizona. The Sun Devils won 26 events (13 by each gender) while recording 43 regional qualifying marks (23 for the women and 20 for the men). Jacquelyn Johnson and Jessica Pressley each won three events for the women while Calvin Abram, Marquis Profit, Matt Turner and Ryan Whiting each won a pair for the men.

Of all the stellar marks earned by the Sun Devils in Tucson, six women's and four men's marks ranked among the Top 10 all-time in Arizona State history while two women's marks ranked among the Top 10 in the history of the Pac-10.

Eight field events were contested at the Double Dual, including the long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, hammer, shot put, discus and javelin. Of the 16 possible titles, the Sun Devils combined to win 13 crowns, including sweeps of the long jump (Jacquelyn Johnson & Matt Turner), pole vault (April Kubishta & Corey Phallen), shot put (Jessica Pressley & Ryan Whiting), discus (Pressley & Whiting) and javelin (Lissa Regets & Brad Roth). The other wins came from Johnson in the women's high jump, Turner in the men's triple jump and Pressley in the women's hammer.

Along with marks mentioned above, several other Sun Devils earned marks that fell on the all-time Top 10. For the women, Tai Battle moved up to No. 3 on the hammer chart with a toss of 63.16m while Jeff Helwig moved up to No. 10 on the men's hammer list at 56.55m. Two men improved their standing on the 400m hurdle list with Marquis Profit climbing to No. 7 at 51.17 while Joel Phillip recorded the No. 9 time of 51.44.

Jessica Pressley won the hammer, discus and shot put in Tucson with two of her marks making a big splash. In the hammer, she launched the ball 68.31m to break the school record and move up to No. 2 in the history of the Pac-10. She followed that up with a win in the discus with a toss of 54.24m before closing out the day with a victory in the shot put with a nation-leading mark of 17.62m. Along with leading the nation in the shot, Pressley currently (as of May 5) ranks third in the NCAA in the hammer and seventh in the discus.

While Pressley moved up to No. 2 in the hammer on the all-time Pac-10 list, April Kubishta did some moving of her own in the pole vault as the senior cleared a height of 14-02.00 (4.32m) to not only shatter her own school record, but also move into a tie for the sixth-highest clearance in conference history. Kubishta, the national leader and among the Top 15 in the world currently, is the only Sun Devil to clear 14-feet in both an indoor and outdoor meet.

Jacquelyn Johnson joined Jessica Pressley as winners of three events at the Double Dual when she captured the 100m hurdles (13.27), the high jump (1.80m) and the long jump 6.26m). Johnson also took second in the javelin (44.11m).

Dominique' Maloy is only a freshman, but she has turned in some of the top times in program history, including a pair of times in the short sprints at the Double Dual that rank among the Top 10 in Arizona State history. Maloy ranks ninth in the 200m dash with her time of 23.53 while her 100m time of 11.60 is the 10th-best.

Of the 13 wins recorded by the women, six came in the sprints (one event, the 4x100m relay, was not contested). Charonda Williams won the 100m (11.41) with the third-fastest time in school history before taking the 200m dash (23.38); Jeavon Benjamin won the 400m dash in 53.48; Jacquelyn Johnson won the 100m hurdles (13.27); Roshawnda Brown won the 400m hurdles (1:03.76) and the 4x400m relay won in 3:50.57 running by themselves.

Six current and three former Sun Devils currently hold marks that rank them among the Top 20 in the world (as of May 6) with five total men and four women earning those marks. The women have current stars Jacquelyn Johnson ranked No. 1 in the heptathlon (6,143 points) while April Kubishta is tied for 12th in the pole vault (4.32m) and Jessica Pressley is tied for 20th in the shot put (17.62m). The men have Joel Phillip ranked 10th in the 400m dash (45.34), Ryan Whiting is 13th in the shot put (20.22m) and Matt Turner is tied for 16th in the long jump (7.96m). The remaining Sun Devils on the list include Dwight Phillips, who is third in the long jump (8.24m), Fasil Bizuneh, who is 12th in the 10,000m run (27:50.48) and Latosha Wallace, who is 16th in the 400m hurdles (56.39).

According to the latest update of the NCAA's descending order lists (May 5), eight women's and six men's marks currently rank in the Top 8 of their respective events. On the women's side, Sarah Stevens is in the Top 8 in a trio of events, including fourth in the hammer, sixth in the discus and seventh in the shot put while Jessica Pressley is in the same boat with a first-place mark in the shot put, third in the hammer and seventh in the discus. Jacquelyn Johnson is first in the heptathlon while April Kubishta is tied for first in the pole vault. For the men, Ryan Whiting and Matt Turner both are in the Top 8 in two events with Whiting standing second in the shot put and sixth in the discus while Turner is fourth in the long jump and tied for seventh in the high jump. Kyle Alcorn (steeple) and Joel Phillip (400m) are both fourth in their respective events.

The MPSF announced its annual indoor academic honors this week with nine Sun Devil men and seven women earning placement on the list. The men's honorees included Kyle Alcorn, Ben Engelhardt, Andy Haas, Joey Heller, Jeff Helmer, Jeff Helwig, Justin Kremer, Jason Lewis and Ryan Whiting while the women's honorees included Jacquelyn Johnson, Ali Kielty, Jenna Kingma, April Kubishta, D'Metra Macedon, Sarah Stevens and Alana Waterford.

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.

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).

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.

The Sun Devils will have one week off from competition before starting their push for national titles as the team will travel to Northridge, Calif., on May 30-31 for the NCAA West Region Championships hosted by CS Northridge. The meet is used as a selection tool for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (June 11-14) in Des Moines, Iowa.

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