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Johnson, Pressley win titles as ASU places second in NCAA

June 14, 2008

Jacquelyn Johnson made history by winning her fourth NCAA heptathlon title and Jessica Pressley successfully defended her shot put crown, but it was not enough as the Arizona State University women's track and field team fell just shy of their fourth national title in a row at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday. The women scored 63 points with LSU taking the title with 67. The Sun Devil men also earned a Top 10 finish, placing sixth with 28 points while Florida State repeated with 52.

In the team race, the Sun Devils and Tigers were tied with 59 points with only the 4x400m relay remaining and making it so that which ever team crossed the finish line first would take the team title. In the race, LSU placed second in 3:28.33 while the Sun Devil team of Dominique' Maloy, Jordan Durham, Shauntel Elcock and Jeavon Benjamin came in fifth with a solid 3:33.45 to garner All-America honors.

Johnson scored 6,053 points and led from start to finish in the heptathlon to become the first woman in NCAA history to capture the event four times in a career while also becoming only the fourth female student-athlete to win the same event four times in a career. The first day leader with 3,606 points, Johnson opened the day with 887 points in the long jump with a mark of 6.12m, the third-best in the competition, before throwing the javelin 46.20m to garner another 787 points while placing fourth in the event. With an over-200 point lead, Johnson cruised to a time of 2:23.75 in the 800m run, securing 773 points and finishing ahead of runner-up Liz Roehrig of Minnesota and her 5,811 points.

Pressley, who already had place fourth in the hammer and seventh in the discus in the meet, stepped into the shot put ring as the national leader and exited her final collegiate competition as the two-time champion in the outdoor event as her mark of 18.13m brought home the gold. Undefeated in the event all outdoor season, Pressley took the lead on her first throw and improved during the competition as the only thrower over 18-meters. Teammate Sarah Stevens, like Pressley, earned her third All-America honor of the meet (NCAA champion on the discus and third in the hammer) with a sixth-place finish with a toss of 17.21m.

On the men's side, Ryan Whiting, the indoor national champion and indoor collegiate record-holder, led the entire competition with his mark of 20.24m, but was passed in the final round by Auburn's Cory Martin (20.32m) to fall to second place in the event. Joel Phillip was the final man to compete for the Sun Devils, running 45.76 in the 400m dash to finish seventh overall.

The conclusion of the NCAA meet closes out the end of the collegiate season. Next up for several Sun Devils will be the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field in Eugene, Ore., June 27-July 6 while several others will compete in the U.S. Junior National Championships in Columbus, Ohio, June 20-22.

NCAA Outdoor Championships - Day 4 (Saturday)
Women's Heptathlon - Day 2
1. Jacquelyn Johnson - 6,053 points - Four-time NCAA Champion & All-American
• 3. Long Jump - 6.12m (887 points) - first overall
• 4. Javelin - 46.20m (787 points) - first overall
• 15. 800m Run - 2:23.75 (773 points) - first overall

Women's Shot Put - Final
1. Jessica Pressley - 18.13m - Two-time NCAA Champion (outdoor shot put) & All-American
6. Sarah Stevens - 17.21m - All-American

Women's 4x400m Relay - Final
5. Arizona State - 3:33.45 - All-American
- Dominique' Maloy, Jordan Durham, Shauntel Elcock, Jeavon Benjamin

Men's Shot Put - Final
2. Ryan Whiting - 20.24m - All-American

Men's 400m Dash - Final
7. Joel Phillip - 45.76 - All-American

Final Team Standings - Top 5
1. LSU - 67
2. Arizona State - 63
3. Texas A&M - 48
4. Penn State - 39
5. Texas Tech - 32

1. Florida State - 52
2. LSU and Auburn - 44
4. Texas - 35
5. Texas A&M - 32
6. Arizona State - 28