ASU captures NCAA West Region track & field crowns
Behind another set of impressive performances from Charonda Williams in the women's sprints and strong team contributions from several men, the Arizona State University track and field squads swept the team titles and qualified 21 entries into the national championships as the 2008 NCAA West Region Championships came to a close Saturday night, May 31 at the Matador Track Complex in Northridge, Calif.
The women easily defended their regional crown as they accumulated 114 points to secure their ninth team title in a row, dating back to the 2007 MPSF Indoor Championships. UCLA (87.50), USC (78), Stanford (74) and Oregon (50) rounded out the Top 5 teams in the women's standings. The men's team race came down to the final event, the 4x400m relay, with the Sun Devils sporting a seven-point lead over USC. The relay squad placed fourth to earn six points while USC won the race, but it was not enough as ASU's 74 points won the team crown with USC in second with 72 points. The men's Top 5 was rounded out by UCLA (68.5), Washington (54) and Oregon (53).
Williams had a solid day for the Sun Devils as she opened the day by anchoring the team of Dominique' Maloy, Jordan Durham and Stephanie Garnett to a victory in the 4x100m relay, rolling past two other teams, to record a time of 44.48, the sixth-fastest in school history. Williams then stepped on the track to earn automatic berths in the 100m dash and 200m dash as she placed fourth in the 100m at 11.52 before winning the 200m in 23.30. Maloy also qualified in the 200m as she finished third at 23.76 before helping the relay squad of Durham, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin to second place in the 4x400m relay (3:34.71) and berth in the national meet. Benjamin (53.88) and Durham (54.30) also qualified for the 400m dash, placing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Off the track, Jessica Pressley and Sarah Stevens punched their tickets to the national meet in their third event of the weekend as the duo finished first and third, respectively, in the shot put. Pressley, the national leader, finished the day with a toss of 17.40m while Stevens threw 16.31m. Both women will compete in the shot put, hammer and discus at nationals.
On the men's side, Kyle Alcorn clocked a time of 8:36.74 to win the 3,000m steeplechase and secure a place in the national meet where he placed seventh one year ago. In the sprints, Calvin Abram earned berths in the 100m and 200m events as he placed fifth (10.60) and third (20.96), respectively, while Darryl Elston placed fourth in the 200m (20.98) to join Abram in the meet. Joel Phillip placed second (46.60) in the 400m dash to earn his berth while freshman Nectaly Barbosa took third at 800m (1:49.26) to join the field. Elston, Marquis Profit, Barbosa and Phillip were the four members of the relay team that placed fourth (3:07.50) in the 4x400m relay to secure the team title.
Over the course of the past two days, the Sun Devils automatically qualified 14 women's entries and seven men's for the national meet with numerous others finishing in the Top 12 of their respective events at the regional meet. Those athletes that finished between sixth and 12th are now in contention for an at-large berth to the national meet, which will be announced next week by the NCAA.
Next up for the Sun Devils will be the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, June 11-14.