Iowa State Last Chance Meet Awaits ASU Track & Field

March 3, 2010

Sun Devil Meet Notes (pdf)

TEMPE - With the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships set for next weekend, a handful of Arizona State University track and field athletes will travel to Ames, Iowa, and the Iowa State Last Chance Meet where the Sun Devils will look to improve their top marks for the season and gain entry into the national meet. The last chance competition will be held at the Leid Recreational Center on the ISU campus this Saturday.

There are a handful of meets being held this weekend throughout the nation that mark the final chance for athletes to post marks that could qualify them for the NCAA Championships. Following the weekend, the NCAA will select athletes for each event with the full list of competitors being released on the NCAA web site ( at 7 p.m. ET (5 p.m. Arizona) on Monday, March 8. The NCAA meet gets underway in Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday, March 12.

Iowa State will play host to one of a handful of last chance qualifier meets that will be held this weekend throughout the nation with all events for the ISU meet being held on Saturday. The field events begin at 10 a.m. CT with the women's weight throw and running events open with the women's 60m hurdle preliminary rounds. The meet is slated to end with the running of the men's distance medley relay starting at 4:35 p.m. CT.

The U.S. Track & Field, Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its latest national rankings on Tuesday with the Sun Devil men remaining in the No. 5 position for the fourth week in a row while the women are unranked. The men's Top 5 includes Texas A&M, Florida, Oregon and LSU while the women's Top 3 is Oregon, Texas A&M and Florida.

Along with the updated national Top 25, the update regional indexes were released this week with both Sun Devil squads moving into the Top 4 in the West. On the men's side, Arizona State is ranked No. 2 behind leader Oregon and just ahead of Stanford. In the women's rankings, Oregon, Arizona and Stanford make up the Top 3 with ASU at No. 4.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Wednesday the latest update to the Bowerman watch list with Ryan Whiting remaining among the 10 men to watch this season. The watch list for the 2010 awarding of The Bowerman, as selected by The Bowerman Men’s Watch Committee, is designed to keep tabs on the top collegiate athletes in track & field with an award that will be given to the top male and top female collegiate track & field athlete at the end of the season. ( Whiting is the two-time defending indoor shot put national champion and recently finished second in the shot put at the 2010 USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.

Three current Sun Devils have posted marks that rank highly on the world lists, including Ryan Whiting, who stands third in the men's shot put with a toss of 21.52m. Fellow thrower Jason Lewis is 13th on the weight throw list at 21.92m while Donald Sanford has run 46.19 in the 400m dash, which stands as the 14th-best time in the world. Also holding positions on the world list are Trevell Quinely (long jump, 20th, 7.99m) for the men and women's athletes Amy Hastings (3000m, 21st, 8:58.45) and Sarah Stevens (shot put, 19th, 17.99m).

TOP 16
Heading into the final weekend of qualifying for the NCAA Championships, three women's and nine men's marks have already been recorded that rank among the Top 16 nationally, which is the common cut-off point for the national meet. On the women's side, Constance Ezugha (eighth) and Christabel Nettey (11th) both have automatically qualified for the national meet while the women's 4x400m relay has turned in a time of 3:38.40, which is the 16th-best in the nation so far this year. For the men, six marks currently rank among the Top 8 (scoring positions at the NCAA meet), including Ryan Whiting (1st, shot put), Jason Lewis (4th, weight throw), the men's 4x400m relay (fourth), Brandon Bethke (6th, 3,000m run), the distance medley relay (seventh) and Donald Sanford (8th, 400m). The others in the Top 16 include Lewis in the shot put (9th), Mason McHenry in the 800m run (12th) and Jordan Clarke in the shot put (16th).

Speaking of the three men in the Top 16 nationally of the shot put, the trio currently makes Arizona State one of just two schools to have three men automatically and/or provisionally qualified in the event with Texas being the other. The distinction that the Sun Devil men hold is that all three of their qualifiers currently hold marks in the Top 16, which is the customary cut-off number for qualifiers to the national indoor meet (Top 16). ASU's athletes stand first, ninth and 16th while Texas is sixth, ninth and 20th.

With one week remaining to qualify, the Sun Devil men still stand as the only institution to have at least one man automatically qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in each of the throws. Currently, Ryan Whiting (shot put) and Jason Lewis (weight) have both surpassed the automatic qualifying mark.

Jason Lewis, the defending national champion in the weight throw, is one of two men that have posted marks in both the shot put and weight throw this season that rank among the Top 10 nationally as he stands fourth in the weight throw and ninth in the shot put. The only other to hold that distinction is Aaron Studt of Minnesota, who is third in the shot put and seventh in the weight throw. Both men have automatically qualified for the national meet in one event, with Lewis doing so in the weight throw and Studt in the shot put.

Over the weekend, the Sun Devils competed in the MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships with both squads placing fourth overall in the team standings as the men scored 79 points and the women 75 while UCLA (108.5) and Oregon (133) took the team titles in the men's and women's races, respectively. Overall, the Sun Devils collected seven total conference crowns and posted 17 marks that qualified for the NCAA Championships, including two automatic qualifiers in the women's long jump, seven total provisional qualifiers for the women and eight provisional qualifiers for the men.

Five individual and two relay titles were captured by the Sun Devils at the MPSF Championships, including a sweep of the open 400m dash and the 4x400m relay. For the women, true freshman Constance Ezugha jumped 6.45m (21-02.00) to win the long jump and automatically qualify for the NCAA meet while Jasmine Chaney took the 400m dash in 53.83. Chaney, who was second in the 60m hurdles, came back later in the meet and joined Dominique' Maloy, Keia Pinnick and Kayla Sanchez to win the 4x400m relay in 3:38.40. For the men, Lawrence Trice took the title in the 60m dash (6.68), Donald Sanford won the 400m dash (46.19) and Mason McHenry repeated as the 800m dash champion (1:48.89). Sanford also helped the team of Allante Battle, Justin Kremer and Joel Phillip win the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:07.38.

As the season has progressed, so have the marks of two true freshmen in the women's long jump with both recording marks at the MPSF Indoor Championships last weekend that not only allowed them to sweep the Top 2 places in the conference, but also automatically qualified both for the NCAA Indoor Championships next weekend. In the MPSF competition, Constance Ezugha took the top honor with a leap of 6.45m (21-02.00) while Christabel Nettey was just behind her with a mark of 6.42m (21-00.75). The Sun Devil duo are two of only four freshmen that have recorded automatic and/or provisional qualifying marks in the event this year and are the only two that have automatically qualified in the class. Currently, 11 women have automatically qualified for the women's long jump with the two Sun Devils being the only two non-seniors and juniors in the Top 11.

While Ezugha and Nettey are the lone Sun Devil women with NCAA automatic qualifying marks, they are not alone in the ASU program as three men have already punched their tickets to the national meet. On the track, Brandon Bethke currently ranks sixth overall in the men's 3,000m run after running 7:54.27 to automatically qualify at the Husky Classic in Seattle. In the field, Ryan Whiting holds a national-leading and automatic qualifying mark of 21.52m in the shot put while Jason Lewis ranks fourth in the weight throw at 21.92m.

Two sprinters were busy over the weekend at the MPSF Championships as both Jasmine Chaney and Joel Phillip were part of three events with Top 2 finishes recorded in all six. Chaney won the 400m dash (53.38) and took second in the 60m hurdles (8.33) before helping the 4x400m relay to victory (3:38.40) while Sanford won the 400m dash (46.19) before helping the 4x400m relay take the title (3:07.38) and the distance medley relay take second with a school-record time of 9:31.34.

The team of Nectaly Barbosa, Donald Sanford, Mason McHenry and Brandon Bethke came together to compete in the distance medley relay and took second with a time of 9:31.34, which is the school record. Barbosa was a member of the former record relay that saw Joey Heller, Justin Kremer, Barbosa and Kyle Alcorn run 9:32.49 to take second at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2008. As the anchor of the relay, Bethke is now part of two record runs this year as he set the standard in the 3,000m run earlier this year by running 7:54.27 at the Husky Classic, bettering a 19 year-old record of 7:54.31 run by Todd Lewis in 1991.

While many of the Sun Devils were in Seattle at the MPSF meet, a handful of current and former members of the program competed at the USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., with several Top 4 finishes recorded. Current Sun Devil Ryan Whiting took second in the shot put with a toss of 21.03m (see below) while the women's shot put competition saw former team members Sarah Stevens and Jessica Pressley take third (17.99m) and fourth (17.31m), respectively. Desiree Davila took fourth in the women's 3,000m run, finishing in 9:21.05. Also competing in the meet were current Sun Devils Anna Jelmini, who placed seventh in the women's shot put (16.36m), and Jason Lewis, who was 10th in the men's shot put (17.43m), and former Olympic champion Nick Hysong in the men's pole vault, placing 12th overall (5.25m).

With the conclusion of the USATF Indoor Championships over the weekend, Team USA for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, have been set with one Sun Devil earning a position in the world event set for March 12-14. That qualifier, Ryan Whiting in the men's shot put, will not be competing for Team USA, however, as the NCAA Indoor Championships will be taking place the same weekend in Arkansas where Whiting will try to win his third indoor shot put title in a row. While Whiting will not be representing the U.S., former Sun Devil Amy Hastings will wear the red, white and blue, only she will do so at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships later in the month (March 28) in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Hastings competed at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Spokane, Wash., on February 13, and finished third overall in the women's open race with a time of 26:06. The Top 7 finishers qualified for the national team.

News and notes from off the track:
• Former Sun Devil Kenny Frazier has been selected to join the San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame, the Hall announced this week. A two-sport standout in football and track & field for Mission High School in San Francisco, Frazier competed for the Sun Devils for two years (1983 and 1984) and was a Pac-10 Champion and NCAA All-American in the long jump. He will be enshrined at the 28th annual ceremony on May 15.
• The USTFCCCA began announcing academic honors for 2009 cross country season this week with Brandon Bethke earning individual honors for the men. Team honors will be announced later this week.

A pair of Sun Devil men are back for their seniors seasons with both carrying the distinction of defending national champion after winning a throwing event last year. Ryan Whiting returns and will look to become a three-time champion in the indoor shot put after winning the past two titles while also adding the 2009 outdoor crown to give him a sweep of the event last year. Also returning is Jason Lewis, who hit a personal-best and school-record mark of 75-00.75 last year to win the weight throw for his first title and All-America honor.

With a victory in the shot put at the 2010 NCAA Championships, Whiting would become just the third man to win the shot put three years in a row and the first since Hans Hogland (UTEP) did so in 1973-1974-1975. He also would become only the fourth to win the event three or more times in a career and first to do so since Michael Carter (SMU) won crowns in 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984.

Lewis not only will look to defend his national title this year, but also continue a recent streak of success in the event that was started in 2005. That year, Spyridon Jullien (Virginia Tech) won the title and then again in 2006. Following that, Egor Agafonov (Kansas) won the next two titles in a row (2007, 2008) before Lewis won last year.

Last year, three men earned All-America honors from the USTFCCCA, including both returning national champions and one true freshman. Jason Lewis collected the first honors of his career by winning the weight throw and taking fourth in the shot put while Whiting added another All-America honor by winning the shot put. Lewis (discus & hammer) and Whiting (shot put & discus) also earned a pair of accolades during the outdoor season. Rookie Mason McHenry ran in the 800m event and earned All-America honors as well.

Four other men also return that have earned All-America honors in recent years, including Brandon Bethke, who earned national honors at the 2009 NCAA outdoor meet in the 5,000m run before taking seventh overall this past fall at the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The three other returning All-Americans earned their honors during the 2008 season: Nectaly Barbosa was an All-American outdoors in the 800m and on the indoor distance medley relay team; Justin Kremer was a member of two indoor All-American relays, including the 4x400m and the DMR; and Joel Phillip earned honors in the indoor and outdoor 400m dash along with the indoor 4x400m relay.

Five women earned All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships one year ago with just one athlete, Dominique' Maloy, returning this season. Maloy was a member of the 4x400m relay team that finished second in the nation. She also was a member of the All-American 4x100m and 4x400m relays outdoors while adding an individual honor in the outdoor 200m dash.

Three women return this year that earned All-America honors during the 2009 outdoor season, including two that were freshmen. Jasmine Chaney is back after helping the 4x100m and 4x400m relays to All-America status last year while Kayla Sanchez, a member of that same 4x100m relay, also is back. In the field Cj Navarro is back after placing eighth in the discus in her first national meet appearance last spring. Two distance runners also return this winter after earning All-America honors in cross country during their careers, including 2007 honoree Ali Kielty and 2008 honoree Kari Hardt.

Speaking of returning, head coach Greg Kraft is back to lead the way for the 14th year in a row and will look to guide the Sun Devils back to the top of the podium at the NCAA Championships as his squads did in 2007 (women's indoor and women's outdoor) and 2008 (men's and women's indoor). Since taking over the program in 1996, Kraft has built Arizona State into one of the top all-around programs in the nation. Among the coaches that have led the program, his tenure with the Sun Devil men is surpassed only by the 17 years of service legendary coach Senon 'Baldy' Castillo put in (1954-79 and 1985) while his 14 years leading the women's program is the longest in ASU history (Anne Pittman, 1958-67).

This year's roster features over 90 student-athletes with several newcomers joining the program. The Sun Devils have added 29 newcomers this season, including 16 women and 13 men while 24 women return and 41 men return from last year.

The coaching staff also has two newcomers this year with the additions of Ronnie Williams and Isley Gonzalez. Williams was brought in to work with the men's sprinters while Gonzalez helped with the cross country team and will continue on during the track and field season with the mid-distance/distance runners as the program's graduate assistant.

For those Sun Devils that qualify either automatically or through selections from the provisional list by the NCAA next Monday, the next competition will be the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 12-13. The rest of the team will have one week off from competition before opening the outdoor season in two weeks as the Sun Devils play host to the Baldy Castillo Invitational at Sun Angel Stadium on March 19-20.

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