Eight Sun Devils selected to compete at NCAA meet
The NCAA announced Monday the qualifiers for the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships that will be held this Friday and Saturday inside the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at the McFerrin Athletic Center on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas, with the eight members of the Arizona State University program earning berths into the national meet. Five women and three men will compete for national titles and All-America honors this weekend while looking to defend the two national team titles ASU won last year in Fayetteville, Ark.
On the women’s side, Sarah Stevens had already earned entry into the shot put and weight throw with automatic qualifying marks achieved during the season and will enter the meet ranked No. 2 in both events. Stevens holds marks of 17.57m in the shot put and 21.59m in the weight throw and is one of only four women to qualify for both throwing events. Of those four women, Stevens was the lone athlete to automatically qualify for both.
Another busy Sun Devil will be Charonda Williams, who was accepted to the meet in the 60m dash and the 200m dash individually and will also compete in the 4x400m relay. Williams enters the meet ranked eighth in the 200m dash at 23.44 and 12th in the 60m dash at 7.31. While she is one of 10 women that will double in the two short sprints at the Championships, she is only one of three that helped a school’s 4x400m relay qualify for nationals. She will join Dominique’ Maloy, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin as the eighth-ranked relay in the meet with a season-best time of 3:35.86 achieved over the weekend.
On the men’s side, all three entrants qualified automatically, including two-event participant Jason Lewis. The only man in the nation this year to qualify for both events, Lewis enters the meet ranked fourth in both the shot put (19.30m) and the weight throw (22.04m). Ryan Whiting will join Lewis in the shot put as the defending national champion and NCAA indoor record-holder qualified second with a toss of 20.01m.
The final Sun Devil in the qualifying group is Mason McHenry in the 800m run. A true freshman and the only freshman in the field of 14 runners, McHenry is ranked second nationally with his time of 1:47.74. That time, which was achieved at the Iowa State Last Chance meet on Saturday, is a school record, bettering the mark of 1:49.51 set in 1985 by Treg Scott, who ran that time to finish fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
The meet opens on Friday with five Sun Devils competing. In the field events, Stevens will compete in the weight throw while Whiting and Lewis will compete in the shot put. On the track, Williams will compete in the preliminary rounds of the 60m dash and the 200m dash with the final of the 200m dash taking place later in the evening. McHenry also will run in the preliminary round of the 800m run on Friday.
On Saturday, Stevens will take part in the shot put, the event she won in 2007, while Lewis will throw the weight as well. On the track, Williams (60m) and McHenry (800m) will compete in the finals should they qualify with the women’s 4x400m relay rounding out the day.
Action can be followed on-line at several locations throughout the meet. Fans can visit ESPN360.com for live streaming video of the meet while also checking NCAA.com and/or AggieAthletics.com for live statistic updates.