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All eyes on Whiting as track team takes the lead

June 11, 2010

The first day of action at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships came to a close Wednesday night with the Arizona State track & field program posting several strong showings, including Ryan Whiting winning the national title in the discus, Donald Sanford advancing to the final of the 400m dash, and Jasmine Chaney reaching the final of the 400m hurdles at the meet being held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Despite on-and-off rain showers in the area, the men’s discus throwers and 400m dasher took care of business with the throws producing 12 teams points, which puts the Sun Devils in third place through the first day. The overall Top 5 in the men’s team scoring includes Texas A&M (14 points), Florida (13), ASU, Kansas (8) and Texas Tech (6). The women have not scored in the meet yet.

Whiting went to work right away in the first event of the day for the men as he stood in third place at 54.93m (180-03) after the first flight and slipped to seventh overall as Jason Lewis was fifth overall in 55.66m (182-07). As members of the Top 9, both Sun Devils advanced to the finals where neither improved their mark in the fourth round. In the fifth, however, Whiting launched the discus to 59.06m (193-09) to take the lead while Lewis improved in the sixth and final round with a toss of 55.72m (182-09). With their marks, Whiting won the title and Lewis finished seventh to earn 10 and two points, respectively, and give the team an early overall lead through one event.

For Whiting, the title is the fifth of his stellar career and his first in the discus. He was a three-time indoor champion ion the shot put by winning each of the last three meets (2008, 2009, 2010) and also won the outdoor shot put title last year for his first outdoor crown. If he is able to win the shot put on Saturday, he will become the 10th different man (11th time) to sweep the shot put and discus in the same NCAA meet since the first meet was held in 1921. Whiting also claimed his 10th All-America honor and is the first ASU male track & field athlete to reach double-digits for national awards. Lewis earned his seventh career honor by finishing in the Top.

On the track, Sanford ran a solid race in the semifinals of the 400m dash and needed to finish in the Top 2 of his heat to automatically advance to the finals. In the third and final heat, Sanford got out fast and made all the turns to hit the main straightaway where, with 50m remaining, he was running in third place. Sanford turned it on and raced past the two leaders and crossed the finish line first in 45.49 to win his heat and automatically advance to the final on Friday.

Chaney, in her second event of the day, clocked in at 57.71 in the first of three heats of the 400m hurdles to finish fourth in the race and had to watch the final two heats to see if she would advance on time. After the other two heats ran, including the second heat in which Keia Pinnick ran 59.47 to finish 20th overall, Chaney held the eighth-best time and earned the final qualifying spot in the event’s final that will be held on Friday.

The women also had entries in a pair of races earlier in the day, including one individual run and one relay. In the first race of the day, the 4x100m relay of Dominique Maloy, Kayla Sanchez, Christabel Nettey and Chaney combined to run 44.96 and placed 16th overall. Maloy came back later in the day and competed in the 400m dash, where she was 15th overall in 54.42.
The Championships continue on Thursday with a light day of competition for the Sun Devils. First up will be Chaney in the semifinal of the 100m hurdles at 5:55 p.m. before the men’s 4x400m relay runs in the semifinal at 6:45 p.m.

2010 NCAA Championships - Eugene, Ore.

Day 1 Arizona State Results (Wednesday)

Men’s 400m Dash - Semifinal
3. Donald Sanford - 45.49 - advances to final on Friday.

Women’s 400m Dash - Semifinal
15. Dominique Maloy - 54.42.

Women’s 400m Hurdles - Semifinal
8. Jasmine Chaney - 56.71 - advances to final on Friday
20. Keia Pinnick - 59.47.

Women’s 4x100m Relay - Semifinal
16. Arizona State - 44.96
D. Maloy, K. Sanchez, C. Nettey, J. Chaney.

Men’s Discus - Final
1. Ryan Whiting - 59.06m (193-09) - NCAA Champion and All-American
7. Jason Lewis - 55.72m (182-10) - All-American.