Devil track plays host to ASU Invitational
The Arizona State University track and field team returns to action this weekend as members of the team will compete in a trio of events, including the program's second home meet of the season, the ASU Invitational. While a majority of the team will remain in town to compete in the home meet on Friday (hammer) and Saturday (all other events), two men will also compete in the Big Green in the Desert Multis at Scottsdale Community College (hosted by Dartmouth) on Wednesday and Thursday while two women will travel to the Bay Area on Friday to run at the Stanford Invitational.
IN THE FIELD
The ASU Invitational will feature representatives from 14 schools, including: Air Force, ASU, Colorado State, Dartmouth, Georgia, Illinois (men), Kansas State, Nebraska, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Purdue, Texas A&M, UC Riverside and Utah (women). Numerous standout athletes also will be on hand, including members of the defending national champion women's 4x100m relay from Texas A&M, members of the Top 2 women's 4x400m relays at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships from TAMU (first) and ASU (second), the defending men's outdoor javelin champion in Chris Hill from Georgia and a trio of Sun Devil champions in indoor shot put champion Ryan Whiting (will compete in the hammer and the discus), indoor weight throw champion Jason Lewis (will compete in the hammer and the discus) and defending discus champion Sarah Stevens (in the hammer as well). Former greats also in the meet include Olympian Jacquelyn Johnson, two-time outdoor shot put champion Jessica Pressley and 2000 Olympic Champion Nick Hysong (pole vault).
LOTS OF TALENT
In all, 15 women and 15 men that attained All-America honors within the past year, including the 2008 NCAA Outdoor and the 2009 NCAA Indoor meets, will compete in the Valley of the Sun this weekend. Of those 30 athletes, five placed among the Top 3 at the most recent NCAA meet (indoors), including the following: Porchea Lucas (TAMU), second in the 200m dash; Jessica Beard (TAMU), second in the 400m dash; Sharif Zuheir (TAMU), third in the triple jump; Ryan Whiting (ASU), champion in the shot put; and Jason Lewis (ASU), champion in the weight throw.
LAST TIME OUT: BALDY
The Sun Devils opened their 2009 outdoor schedule at home last weekend as they played host to the Baldy Castillo Invitational and walked away with two victories, 14 Top 3 placements and seven total NCAA regional qualifying marks. The Sun Devils swept the 100m dashes as true freshman Kayla Sanchez ran 12.22 to take the women's race and Marcus Duncan clocked in at 10.41 to win the men's event.
Two women and five men recorded NCAA regional qualifying marks at the Baldy Castillo Invitational with four total coming in the sprints and three in the field. For the women, Jasmine Chaney returned from an injury sustained last year and wasted little time qualifying as she ran 13.63 to meet the standard while redshirt freshman Cj Navarro also qualified in her first event by hitting a mark of 50.66m (166-02) in the discus. For the men, Marcus Duncan qualified in the 100m (10.41) and 200m (20.80) events while Calvin Abram (10.53) also punched his ticket in the 100m. Off the track, Ryan Whiting qualified in the discus (59.13m/194-00) while Jeff Helwig qualified in the hammer (57.86m/189-10).
ON THE LIST
Of the seven regional-qualifying marks attained by the Sun Devils, five rank among the Top 5 nationally, including a tie for the national lead in the 200m dash by Marcus Duncan at 20.80. Duncan also ranks second in the 100m dash at 10.41 while Ryan Whiting currently stands second in the discus at 59.13m. Both women's qualifiers also rank among the Top 5 nationally, including rookie Cj Navarro, who is fourth in the discus at 50.66m, and Jasmine Chaney, who stands tied for fifth at 13.63.
WHERE IN THE WORLD?
One current Sun Devil and three former team members currently hold marks that rank them among the Top 20 in the world this week with current sprinter Marcus Duncan standing tied for ninth in the 200m dash at 20.80. Another sprinter with a similar name, Marcus Brunson, is second in the world at 100m with a time of 10.12. On the women's side, Jacquelyn Johnson's time of 13.35 in the 100m hurdles is the 11th best in the world while Jessica Pressley currently ranks 18th in the shot put at 16.69m.
AMONG THE BEST
The women recorded six marks at the Baldy Castillo Invitational that rank among the Top 10 all-time in ASU history, including three marks coming in the pole vault. In that event, Cara Carpenter cleared 3.70m (12-01.50) to tie for fifth on the all-time list while Lisa Navarro (3.55m/11-07.75) and Stacy Orosz (3.40m/11-01.75) placed their names at seventh and tie for 10th, respectively. Also in the field, Erika Simington improved upon her sixth-best throw with a toss of 43.28m (139-00) in the javelin while Cj Navarro threw the discus 50.66m (166-02) to move into 10th. The lone top mark returned on the track came from Jasmine Chaney in the 100m hurdles where her time of 13.63 ranks her ninth all-time.
On March 13-14, the 2009 indoor season came to a close for the Sun Devils as eight members of the team traveled to College Station, Texas, for the NCAA Indoor Championships and returned to Tempe with a pair of fifth-place team finishes and 12 total All-America honors. Jason LewisRyan Whiting (shot put) each won national titles to pace the three men while Charonda Williams earned All-America honors in three events to lead the five women at the meet. (weight throw) and
THEY'RE ALL ALL-AMERICANS
All three men and all five women that competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships over the weekend earned All-America honors with three athletes earning multiple awards. Jason Lewis was the lone man to earn multiple honors as he finished first in the weight throw and fourth in the shot put while Sarah Stevens earned honors in the same women's events with finishes of fourth and second, respectively. Charonda Williams led the way, though, as she was an individual All-American in the 60m dash (sixth) and 200m dash (third) before joining Dominique' Maloy, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin to place second in the 4x400m relay. The final All-American was true freshman Mason McHenry in the men's 800m run, where he placed ninth overall and was the eighth American to finish.
Heading into the NCAA Championships, Jason Lewis, who came to the program as a walk on, had not earned an All-America honor. But that all changed last weekend as Lewis not only earned two All-America honors, he placed among the Top 4 in both events and captured the weight throw national title with a three-foot personal-best throw. Ranked No. 4 in both events heading into the meet, Lewis opened the Championships by finishing fourth in the shot put with a toss of 19.17m (62-10.75) to earn his first national honor. The next day, however, he topped that performance with a school and facility record and three-foot personal best toss of 22.88m (75-00.75) in the weight throw to capture the national title.
Ryan Whiting broke his own facility record to win the shot put and successfully defend the crown he won last year as he recorded a winning mark of 20.16m (66-10.75) to take the shot put by almost three feet. With his back-to-back crowns in the event, Whiting became the ninth man in NCAA indoor history to win the shot put twice in a career and became the first back-to-back winner since Carl Myerscough of Nebraska in 2002-03.
HOOKED ON A FIELD-ING
The Arizona State throws program made a big name for itself once again at the national meet as Assistant Coach David Dumble's three throwers combined for two national titles, one national runner-up and five All-America honors in the only two throwing events available. Along with the three Top 3 placements, the other two finishes remained among the Top 4 as well. On the men's side, the 25 points earned tied the team for fifth-place, just four points shy of finishing tied for fourth and earning a trophy.
WILLIAMS RUNS WILD
Charonda Williams had an outstanding meet for the Sun Devil women at the NCAA Indoor Championships as the sprint standout earned three All-America honors while recording two school records as well. Last year, Williams qualified only in the 200m dash and did not advance out of the preliminary round. This year, she was the eighth qualifier for the national meet and advanced to the final with the sixth-best time in the field at a then-school record 23.23. In the finals later that night, she crushed that time down to 22.89, the fourth-best in the world this year, to take third overall. Then, in the finals of the 60m dash, she advanced to the finals with the sixth-best time of 7.30 (school record) after entering the meet ranked 12th. In the finals, she finished sixth to earn her second All-America honor. In the final event of the meet, she ran the second leg of the 4x400m relay, helping the team to a time of 3:34.30 to finish as the national runners-up.
STEVENS SHINES AGAIN
In her previous six trips to the NCAA Championships (three indoor and three outdoor), Sarah Stevens had collected one indoor shot put crown, one outdoor discus crown and a school record-tying 10 career All-America honors. Over the weekend, Stevens competed in both throws and took national runner-up honors in the shot put for the second year in a row one day after taking fourth in the weight throw to give her a school record 11th and 12th All-America honor. And, to top all of that, she accepted a marriage proposal at the end of the meet from her boyfriend, Ross.
NEXT TIME OUT
ASU will take a week off from competition before returning to a pair of meets in the Valley of the Sun on April 10-11. On the 10th, the hammer throw portion of the 30th Sun Angel Track Classic presented by Coca-Cola will be held at ASU while Mesa Community College will host athletes at the Mesa Classic. Then, on the 11th, the finals of the 20th Tempe Wynn-Zucco Relays will be held at ASU along with the remaining running and throwing events scheduled for the Sun Angel meet. The field for the 30th SATC is large and impressive with numerous Olympians, national champions and All-Americans slated to compete.