ASU T&F To Open Season At NAU On Friday
TEMPE, Ariz. -The Arizona State University track and field teams are set to kick off the 2015 season on Friday, opening the indoor portion of the schedule in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona’s Friday Night Duals at the Walkup Skydome.
Competition is set to begin at 3 p.m. MT with the men’s pole vault, women’s long jump, and women’s shot put. The events on the track are set to kick off at 5 p.m. MT with the men’s mile.
“We’ll open up this year at the Friday Night Duals,” Director of Track and Field Greg Kraft said. “It’s a chance for a lot of our athletes to get out there and give an effort and shake off the competition rust. The primary focus is just to get out there and to get the season rolling. This is an important opportunity for us as a coaching staff to see the athletes compete in a live setting.”
Along with facing off against the Lumberjacks, ASU will see competition from Pac-12 rival Arizona, Grand Canyon University, Southern Utah, and San Diego State. Meet results will be available via nauathletics.com, and follow along as the meet progresses on Twitter at @SunDevilTFXC.
MEET EVENT BREAKDOWN
NAU Friday Night Duals
FIELD EVENTS (All Times MT)
Men’s Pole Vault (3 p.m.)
Tanner Greeley, Dillon Groener, Jacob Flores, Matthew Eckles, Josiah Becker
Women’s Pole Vault (To follow completion of men’s PV)
Kristiana Warth, Nicole Kennedy, Haleigh Fritts
Women’s Long Jump (3 p.m.)
Jasmine Gibbs, Kendra Purifoye
Women’s Shot Put (3 p.m.)
Magdalyn Ewen, Alex Hartig, Ashley Weber
Men’s Shot Put (Follows women’s SP)
Lyle Lillie, Thomas Anderson, Kyle Long
Women’s Weight Throw (Follows men’s SP)
Ashley Weber, Jessika Byrd, Magdalyn Ewen
Men’s Weight Throw (Follows women’s WT)
Ryan Leslie, Kyle Lillie, Kyle Long
Women’s Triple Jump (To follow after completion of men’s long jump at 3:30 p.m.)
Keyasia Tibbs, Darryel Woodson, Chelsea Chess
Men’s High Jump (4 p.m.)
Women’s High Jump (Follows men’s HJ)
Men’s 60m Dash Final (5:20 p.m.)
Women’s 60m Dash Final (5:30 p.m.)
Men’s 800m Run (5:40 p.m.)
Michael Julian, Trevor Landry
Women’s 800m Run (5:45 p.m.)
Men’s 40m Dash (5:55 p.m.)
Cody Moore, Ronny Hall
Women’s 400m Dash (6:05 p.m.)
LaTroya Franklin, Melese Crozier
Men’s 60mH Final (6:25 p.m.)
Women’s 60mH Final (6:35 p.m.)
Women’s 200m Dash (7 p.m.)
Brianna Tate, Sara McDonald
Men’s 4x400m Relay (7:45 p.m.)
Ronny Hall, Cody Moore, Trevor Landry, Michael Julian, Devan Spann
Women’s 4x400m Relay (8 p.m.)
Sara McDonald, LaTroya Franklin, Melese Crozier, Brianna Tate, Paisley Pettway
THE 2015 INDOOR SCHEDULE
Following the season opener at NAU, the Sun Devils will head to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M Quadrangular on Jan. 24, and will follow that meet with a trip to Albuquerque, N.M., for the New Mexico Collegiate Invitational on Jan. 31.
ASU’s first split weekend is Feb. 13-14, with the distance runners going to the Husky Classic, while the rest of the team returns to New Mexico for the Don Kirby Elite Invitational.
The MPSF Indoor Championships are set for Feb. 27-28 in Seattle, Wash., and athletes who qualify for the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships will compete on March 13-14 in Fayetteville, Ark.
“Our season really takes off when we go to Texas A&M,” Kraft said. “Then we have another opportunity to compete as a team when we go to New Mexico at the end of January. We will have a couple weeks to regroup and give the team some rest before we have our split weekend, with the distance athletes running at the Husky Classic, and the rest of the team back in New Mexico for the Don Kirby Elite Invitational. The unique part of the indoor season is that it’s very difficult to end the season in the top-16 in the country, which is how you qualify for the NCAA meet. I think this schedule gives our student athletes three or four times to get a really solid qualifying mark. ”
SUN DEVILS TO HOST FOUR HOME MEETS IN 2015
ASU will host four meets at Sun Angel Stadium in 2015, opening the outdoor portion of the schedule with the Baldy Castillo Invitational on March 20-21.
The Sun Devils will also debut the new Arizona State Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Invitational, where ASU will host Arizona UCLA, Indiana, Michigan, and Nebraska, in a meet that will be scored by team and by league affiliation.
April 9-11 will mark the running of the 36th Sun Angel Track Classic, and then the Sun Devils will close out the home slate on May 2 with the Duel in the Desert against the Pac-12 rival Wildcats.
“At the meets we’re hosting, there will be traditional powers, like Texas A&M, who will run at our meets, and we will also be having a Pac-12/Big Ten challenge, where UCLA and Arizona will pair up with us as we go against Michigan, Nebraska and Indiana,” Kraft said. “The Sun Angel Classic continues to grow and be refined and will be an outstanding event for us.”
Complete 2015 Home Schedule:
March 20-21: Baldy Castillo Invitational
March 27-28: ASU Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Invitational
April 9-11: 36th Sun Angel Track Classic
May 2: Duel In the Desert - Arizona vs. Arizona State
The 2015 Pac-12 Outdoor Championships are set for back-to-back weekends on May 9-10 and May 16-17. UCLA will host the meet at Drake Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. Athletes who qualify for the NCAA West Regional will travel to Austin, Texas, on May 28-30, with hopes to qualify for the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships, June 10-13, in Eugene, Ore.
ASU TO COMPETE AT 2015 DRAKE RELAYS
On April 23-25, the Sun Devils will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to compete at the 106th Drake Relays, presented by Hy-Vee at Drake Stadium.
“The Drake Relays has really tried to do a lot of unique things for the sport of track and field,” Kraft said. “They have asked us to come for years and this year we agreed to go back and participate in the relays and be a part of the team challenge there. Obviously, Shelby Houlihan is very excited because that’s where her first great races were, winning the Iowa State Championship at Drake Stadium. It really is a neat situation for us to go back and do something a little different from a relay standpoint but also to try and support our sport of track and field as we continually fight to carve a niche and try to make ourselves a little more fan friendly and a little more TV friendly. As the stature of our program increases, we have to be sensitive to the overall needs of our program from an exposure standpoint.”
HOULIHAN EARNS INVITATION TO MILLROSE GAMES
Senior Shelby Houlihan, reigning NCAA outdoor champion in the 1500m run is one of the few collegiate competitors to earn an invitation to run in the 2015 NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Armory in Washington Heights, Manhattan, N.Y.
The women’s Wanamaker Mile is set to run at 7:20 p.m. ET.
“Shelby Houlihan has been invited to run this year at the Millrose Games,” Kraft said. “The mile is one of the signature events of the Millrose Games and her being invited shows you the kind of respect she has nationally. Shelby will be running against some of the best milers in the world. She’ll have her first experience of running in prime time under the lights in indoor track.”
Assistant and head cross country coach Louie Quintana ran in the men’s Wanamaker Mile when he competed at Villanova.
More information is available at nyrrmillrosegames.org.
ASU’S 2014 NCAA CHAMPIONS-HOULIHAN & MCBRIDE
The Arizona State track and field squads added to its streak of producing at least one NCAA Champion since the 2006 season, adding two more in 2014 with Shelby Houlihan becoming ASU’s first-ever 1500m champion and Bryan McBride winning ASU’s first title in the high jump since Kyle Arney won the event in 1977. Houlihan won her race in 4:18.10, while McBride set a new lifetime best with a clearance of 2.28m (7-05.75), which sits as the No. 2 mark in school history.
COACH KRAFT’S THOUGHTS ON 2015
“I think this year our team is probably slanted toward more of an NCAA Championship type team,” Kraft said. “On the men’s side we have Bryan McBride, a returning national champion, and on the women’s side we have Shelby Houlihan back this year. One of our goals is always to be in the top 10 nationally, which normally takes around 20 points. With a national champion, you already have 10 points so you are halfway there.”
“I think last year we had a little more veteran experience and this year we are relying a bit more on some new people that I think will develop into champions, like if you look at a student athlete like Maggie Ewen. A realistic goal for us would be to finish in the top three of the conference, given the youth of our team. As of right now, I wouldn’t consider us to have championship depth. I’m not saying that we won’t develop it, but going into our first meet and looking at our roster and all the new people we added to the program, it remains to be seen.”
“Arguably our best sprinter, Jamol James, who has competed in the Olympic Games and the World Championships, won’t compete until outdoors. So when you are missing a component like that, it has a tremendous impact on your team score at the indoor conference meet. When you look at our returning veterans like Bryan (McBride) and Shelby (Houlihan) you feel comfortable and start to think that their 10 points at the conference level can become 10 points at the national level. We try and just focus on ourselves and our development.”
THE COACHING STAFF
The Sun Devils have added two assistant coaches to the staff this season, Jeremy Rasmussen, returning to his role of assistant, which he previously held in 2006-07, and Otis McDaniel joining the program from Alabama,
Rasmussen is in his second year back at ASU after an assistant coaching stint at Illinois from 2007-13. Last season, Rasmussen served as director of operations, and will now coach the distance athletes both during track season and cross country, along with head cross country coach Louie Quintana. Rasmussen will also continue to serve as ASU’s home meet director.
McDaniel spent the last two years as a volunteer assistant at Alabama, and was a four-time All-American on the track at TCU from 2006-09. A PanAm Junior champion in the 200m, McDaniel will assist Ronnie Williams with the sprinters.
MORE ON THE 2014 SEASON
The Sun Devils also picked up second-team All-America accolades for the women’s 4x100m relay team of LaTroya Franklin, Asiah Gooden, Alycia Herring, and Brianna Tate, while Anna Jelmini earned second-team honors in the discus. Both men’s relays earned first-team All-America honors, with Daveon Collins, Will Henry, Devan Spann, and Ryan Milus competing in the 4x100m, while Collins, Henry, Spann, and Keith Cleveland ran the 4x400m.
Indoors, Houlihan earned first-team All-America honors in the mile and second-team honors in the 3000m, while Jelmini earned first-team honors in the shot put. Ryan Milus finished as the national runner-up in the 60m, while Tatum Benard-Taylor earned second-team honors in the same event.
HEAD COACH GREG KRAFT
Head Coach Greg Kraft is entering his 19th year as the leader of the Sun Devil program, a tenure that has brought Arizona State back to the top of the standings in both the NCAA and Pac-12 events. Since his hiring, the program has continued to evolve into one of the more well rounded in the nation with strength on the track, in the field, and in cross country. Kraft and his staff have worked diligently to reach their goals of championships and success in education. His program has annually produced some of the top individuals in the nation with 28 of the program’s 59 individual and relay national titles won since 2004, while both his teams and individual student-athletes have garnered national academic acclaim. Prior to his arrival, the program boasted one NCAA Championship (Men’s Outdoor Track & Field, 1977) and one Pac-12 Championship (Men’s Outdoor Track & Field, 1981). In the last seven years, his Sun Devils have captured four national crowns (2007 Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field, 2008 Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track & Field) and added three Pac-12 Championships (Women’s Outdoor Track & Field, 2006-08). Kraft’s teams have finished in the Top 10 of the NCAA Track & Field Championships on 22 occasions in 16 years while the program had done so just 14 times prior to his arrival in Tempe.
LONG TENURE IN TEMPE
In his 19th year at Arizona State, Greg Kraft’s tenure ranks as the second-longest in Sun Devil track & field history and the third-longest active streak among all current ASU head coaches. The only coach that has led the track & field program longer than Kraft is legendary coach Senon ‘Baldy’ Castillo, who led the way for 26 years (1954-79). Among current Sun Devil head coaches, Kraft’s 19th year ranks behind Sheila McInerney, who is in her 31st year with women’s tennis.
NEXT TIME OUT
On Jan. 24, the Sun Devils will head to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M Quadrangular, and will face off against the Aggies, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech.