Whiting Defends Indoor Crown while Williams Blazes Track at NCAAs

March 13, 2009


COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The first day of action at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships came to an end for the Arizona State University program on Friday night with four All-America honors, one national title and several impressive performances at the national meet being held in College Station, Texas. Ryan Whiting successfully defended the shot put crown he captured one year ago while Charonda Williams continued to burn the track with a pair of school records to lead the charge.

As a team, the men have accumulated 15 points and stand second in the standings behind Oregon’s 23 points through six scored events. Nebraska and Arkansas currently share third with 14 points while Rice and Baylor are tied for fifth with 10 points. On the women’s side, the Sun Devils have scored 11 points and stand sixth while the Top 5 includes leader BYU (18 points), Texas in second (15) and three teams tied for third with 13 points, including Penn State, Oregon and Texas A&M, the meet host.

For the men, Whiting and Jason Lewis combined to place among the Top 4 and account for the team’s 15 points as they placed first and fourth, respectively. Whiting took the overall lead right out of the gate with a mark of 19.64m (64-05.25) that was good enough to win the meet before his second throw landed at 20.16m (66-01.75) for the eventual winning mark. The victory for Whiting gave him his second national title in as many years in the indoor shot put and also made him only the second Sun Devil man to repeat as a national champion in the same event. The last time that happened came in 1963 and 1964 when Ulis Williams won the outdoor 440y dash.

On the track, Williams continued her meteoric climb into the national scene as she ran three races on the day and recorded three school records. First up, she ran 7.30 to finish third in her heat and sixth overall in the 60m dash to advance to the finals and also lower her school record by 0.01. Then, she lined up for the 200m dash and lowered her school record to 23.23 (from 23.44) to finish second in her heat and fifth overall while also advancing to the final. In the final of the 200m event later in the evening, Williams lit it up as she won heat one with a blazing 22.89 to not only smash her own school record again, but also record what would become the fourth-fastest time in the world this year. The second heat produced two faster times, pushing Williams to third overall.

Williams, who competed in the preliminary round of the indoor 200m dash last year and didn’t advance to the final nor even qualify for the 60m dash in 2008, bettered her entry times in both events on the day. Entering the weekend, Williams was ranked 12th overall in the 60m dash and now will place among the Top 8. She also entered the 200m dash with the eighth-best mark on the season and moved up five spots to take third. Also for Williams, her finish in the 200m dash not only posted six team points to the Sun Devil total, it also gave her All-America honors for the first time indoors while also making her the first Sun Devil woman to ever earn All-America honors in the indoor event.

Back in the field, Lewis, who was in the second flight of the shot put competition to open the event, led the second set of throwers through three tosses with a mark of 18.92m (62-01.00) to stand third and eventually slipped to fourth overall by the end of the finals despite posting a better mark of 19.17m (62-10.75). The fourth-place finish for Lewis not only gave the team five points, it also marked his first career All-America honor.

Staying in the field, Sarah Stevens scored five points for the team as she placed fourth in the weight throw with a mark of 21.11m (69-03.25). Stevens, who entered the meet with the second-best mark in the nation, was in second heading into the finals before two throwers passed her with personal best throws. With her finish, Stevens earned All-America honors for the 11th time in her career, making her the most decorated Sun Devil -- male and female -- in program history and breaking a tie atop the list with three other former greats (Jacquelyn Johnson, Jessica Pressley and Amy Hastings).

The final Sun Devil to compete on the opening day was true freshman Mason McHenry, who took part in the 800m run. Running in the first of two preliminary sections, McHenry stayed with the pack and looked for an opening where he could, but could not break away and clocked in at 1:49.85. His time, however, placed him ninth overall in the standings, making him the first person to miss the final as only the Top 8 advanced.

On Saturday, Stevens will compete in the shot put where she will look to recapture the crown she won in 2007 and Lewis will compete in the weigh throw to round out the field events for the Sun Devils. On the track, Williams will have another busy day as she will first run in the finals of the 60m dash before joining up with Dominique’ Maloy, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benajamin to run in the 4x400m relay.

Meet Highlights - NCAA Indoor Championships, Day 1
Friday, March 13 • College Station Texas
NCAA National Champions
Ryan Whiting - M Shot Put - 20.16m (66-01.75)

Women’s NCAA All-Americans
Charonda Williams - W 200m - 22.89 - ­Third place
Sarah Stevens - W Weight Throw - 21.11m (69-03.25) - Fourth place

Men’s NCAA All-Americans
Ryan Whiting - M Shot Put - 20.16m (66-01.75) - NCAA champion
Jason Lewis - M Shot Put - 19.17m (62-10.75) - Fourth place

On the ASU All-Time Top 5 Lists
Charonda Williams - W 200m - 22.89 - ­school record and fourth-fastest in the world this year

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