ASU's Kraft, Johnson & Whiting earn MPSF track & field honors
Three members of the Arizona State University track and field team have earned annual awards from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) following the 2008 MPSF Indoor Championships, the Federation announced Wednesday. In a vote of the MPSF coaches, Sun Devil Head Coach Greg Kraft was selected as the Women's Coach of the Year for the second year in a row while Jacquelyn Johnson and Ryan Whiting were named the Women's Athlete of the Year and Men's Athlete of the Year, respectively.
Under Kraft's direction, Arizona State's women won their second MPSF Indoor Championships in a row in 2008 and has the No. 2 team in the nation heading into the NCAA Indoor Championships where the Sun Devils will look to defend their national title won last year in Fayetteville. Kraft has built a solid program in Tempe, both women and men, with depth in all events as the Sun Devils women won MPSF titles on the track in the 60m hurdles, 200m dash and 4x400m relay in 2008 while adding crowns in the long jump, pole vault, shot put and weight throw. His women also finished as the runner-up in seven events as well. As a testament to ASU's strong program, Coach Kraft was recently selected as the 2008 USTFCCCA Women's West Region Coach of the Year while David Dumble has been named the 2008 USTFCCCA Women's West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. Jacquelyn Johnson, a five-time individual national champion, was selected as the USTFCCCA Women's West Region Field Athlete of the Year.
Johnson won three events at the MPSF Indoor Championships and scored in another event as she won the 60m hurdles, the long jump and anchored the victorious 4x400m relay team while also placing fifth in the high jump. The five-time NCAA Champion is in line to become only the ninth woman to win the same event three times at the NCAA Indoor Championships as her score of 4,312 points is the national leader in the pentathlon, the event she has won in 2006 and 2007. Johnson currently ranks fifth in the long jump and eighth in the high jump nationally and will compete in both, along with the pentathlon, at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Only a redshirt sophomore, Whiting has become one of the top shot put competitors in the nation and the world as his mark of 21.47m (70-05.50) not only won the MPSF, but also gave him the national lead in the shot put and ranks him fourth in the world currently. His mark is the fourth-best all-time in Pac-10 history and the second-best among Pac-10 schools behind Stanford's Terry Albritton, who threw 21.50m (70-06.50) in 1977. Whiting is a two-time All-American in the shot put, taking third indoors in 2007 and fourth outdoors.
The Sun Devils will compete in the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships this Friday and Saturday inside the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.
2008 MPSF Honors
Women's Coach of the Year - Greg Kraft (Arizona State)
Men's Coach of the Year - Vin Lananna (Oregon)
Women's Athlete of the Year - Jacquelyn Johnson (Arizona State)
Men's Athlete of the Year - Ryan Whiting (Arizona State)