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NCAA outdoor meet awaits Sun Devil track & field

June 11, 2008

The Arizona State University track and field teams will travel to Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, this week with the Sun Devils looking to sweep the men's and women's national team titles for the second time this season as Drake University will play host to the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 11-14. The winners of the men's and women's NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships earlier this year in Fayetteville, Ark., the Sun Devils will send 12 women and eight men to the national meet where the women will look to defend their crown from last year while the men will look to secure their first since 1977.

The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will see air time on your television sets this week as both CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) and CBS Sports will provide coverage of the meet. On Friday night, CBSCSN will broadcast live from Drake Stadium between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Pacific time before CBS Sports hits the air on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Pacific for a two-hour show.

Last year in Sacramento, the Sun Devil women won their first NCAA Outdoor Championship title, scoring 60 points with LSU taking second at 53 points. The victory marked the first for the women and their second national team title in a row after winning their first overall national title by capturing the NCAA Indoor Championship. With a successful defending of their title, the Sun Devils would become the first women's team to win back-to-back outdoor titles since Texas won in 1998 and 1999. Since then, the victorious teams have been LSU (2000), USC (2001), South Carolina (2002), LSU (2003), UCLA (2004), Texas (2005) and Auburn (2007).

If the women defend their title this week, they will join both LSU and Texas as the only programs to win the indoor and outdoor titles in the same year two years in a row. LSU won 10 titles in a row, sweeping crowns from 1993-1997, while Texas won the indoor and outdoor titles in 1998 and 1999.

The Sun Devil men are coming off their first national indoor title and will look to capture just their second outdoor crown in program history following the victory the 1977 team recorded.

With a team victory by both the men's and women's squads during the indoor championships in March, the Sun Devils are poised for a run at history this weekend as Arizona State will try to become the first school to sweep the indoor and outdoor titles by both the men and women in NCAA history. If the Sun Devils sweep both men's and women's titles this week, it also would mark just the third time in NCAA history that the same school won both outdoor crowns in a season as LSU accomplished the feat in 1989 and 1990.

Arizona State's women have been dominant in championship events as they have won nine titles in a row dating back to the 2007 MPSF Indoor Championships. Since that meet, the Sun Devils have taken team titles at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships, the 2007 Pac-10 Championships, the 2007 NCAA West Region Championships, the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the 2008 MPSF Indoor Championships, the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships, the 2008 Pac-10 Championships and the 2008 NCAA West Region Championships which was won May 30-31 at Northridge, Calif.

Heading into the NCAA Championships this week, the Sun Devils find themselves ranked in the Top 12 nationally as the women are third and the men 12th. The women are third with 302.49 points while LSU (366.30) and Texas A&M (334.51) lead the way. On the men's side, the Sun Devils have 148.88 points while LSU leads the way with 260.84 points.

Two current and one former Sun Devil find their names on the latest world Top 20 list as of June 8. Current athlete Jacquelyn Johnson is ranked eighth in the world in the heptathlon with a score of 6,307 points while Jessica Pressley is 12th in the shot put at 18.79m. Former Sun Devil and reigning Olympic champion Dwight Phillips is currently ranked sixth in the long jump with a leap of 8.25m.

On May 30-31, the Sun Devils traveled to Northridge, Calif., for the NCAA West Region Championships where the women defended their crown and the men captured their first regional title. The women had three individual winners in Tai Battle (discus), Jessica Pressley (shot put) and Charonda Williams (200m) while the team of Dominique' Maloy, Jordan Durham, Stephanie Garnett and Williams won the 4x100m relay. On the men's side Kyle Alcorn (3,000m steeplechase), Matt Turner (long jump) and Ryan Whiting (shot put) each captured regional titles.

The list of Sun Devils competing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships is comprised of eight men and 12 women. Those athletes are: Calvin Abram (100m/200m), Kyle Alcorn (3,000m steeplechase), Nectaly Barbosa (800m), Darryl Elston (200m), Joel Phillip (400m), Brad RothMatt Turner (long jump) and Ryan Whiting (shot put/discus) for the men and women's competitors Tai Battle (discus/hammer), Jeavon Benjamin (400m/4x400m), Jordan Durham (4x100m/4x400m), Shauntel Elcock (4x400m), Stephanie Garnett (4x100m/long jump), Jacquelyn Johnson (heptathlon, long jump), Ali Kielty (10,000m), April Kubishta (pole vault), Dominique' Maloy (200m/4x100m/4x400m), Jessica Pressley (shot put/discus/hammer), Sarah Stevens (shot put/discus/hammer) and Charonda Williams (100m/200m/4x100m) (javelin),

For the second year in a row, both Jessica Pressley and Sarah Stevens will compete in three throwing events, including the shot put, discus and hammer and, for the second year in a row, they will be two of only three women set to compete in all three events as Rachel Jansen of Northern Iowa has qualified in all three as well. Heading into the meet, both Sun Devils are ranked in the Top 8 in all three events, with Pressley ranked first in the shot put, fifth in the discus and third in the hammer while Stevens stands seventh in the shot put, sixth in the discus and fourth in the hammer.

Already a six-time NCAA champion with three indoor pentathlon crowns and three outdoor heptathlon crowns, Jacquelyn Johnson will be going for history in the heptathlon this week as she seeks to become the first four-time champion in the event and only the fourth woman in NCAA history to capture the same event four times in a career. The Pac-10 and Arizona State record holder with a score of 6,307 points (at 2008 Pac-10 Championships), the senior from Yuma, Ariz., will look to join the company of four-time champions Suzy Favor of Wisconsin in the 1,5000m run (1987-88-89-90), Seilala Sua of UCLA in the discus (1997-98-99-00) and Angela Williams of USC in the 100m dash (99-00-01-02).

While Johnson will look to capture her fourth title in the heptathlon, both April Kubishta and Jessica Pressley will seek to repeat as outdoor national champions in the pole vault and shot put, respectively, after capturing crowns last year in Sacramento.

While the Sun Devils have three returning champions competing this week, three others will head to Des Moines looking to win the outdoor title in the same event they have won indoors. For the women, Sarah Stevens will challenge Pressley for the shot put crown as the 2007 indoor champion is ranked seventh in the shot put. On the men's side, Ryan Whiting, the indoor collegiate record holder at 71-03.25, will try to capture the outdoor shot put after winning the indoor title this year with that record heave. Also for the men, Kyle Alcorn will look to add another distance title by capturing the 3,000m steeplechase after winning the indoor 3,000m run earlier this year.

Several other Sun Devils will compete in the meet this week after finding success last year at the same meet. For the women, Tai Battle will look to build upon her runner-up finish in the discus while the 4x400m relay -- with two new members -- will try to capture All-America honors for the second year in a row.

Four men and three women will be competing in their first NCAA Division I Championship meet this week, including two freshmen. On the men's side, Calvin Abram, Darryl Elston and Joel Phillip will all compete at the Division I level after finding success at the junior college level each of the last two years while true freshmen Nectaly Barbosa will also compete. On the women's side, junior transfers Charonda WilliamsJeavon Benjamin will run in the sprints, as will rookie Dominique' Maloy. and

Six men's entries and nine women's are ranked in the Top 8 nationally, the same as where they would need to finish to score points for the team and earn All-America honors. The men's Top 8 entries include Ryan Whiting (third in the shot put and sixth in the discus), Matt TurnerJoel Phillip (fifth in the 400m dash), Kyle Alcorn (fifth in the 3,000m steeplechase) and Brad Roth (eighth in the javelin) while the women's entries include Jessica Pressley (first in the shot put, third in the hammer, fifth in the discus), Sarah StevensJacquelyn Johnson (first in the heptathlon), April Kubishta (tied for second in the pole vault) and Tai Battle (seventh in the discus). (fourth in the long jump), (fourth in the hammer, sixth in the discus, seventh in the shot put),

Last week, six members of the program were honored with academic accolades from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as three men and three women were named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII teams. For the men, Justin Kremer and Ryan Whiting both earned first team honors while Jason Lewis was a second team selection. The women saw April Kubishta and Sarah Stevens each earned first team honors while Ali Kielty was a second-team honoree. The four first-team members are now candidates for Academic All-America honors.

Arizona State's women became only the second team in Pac-10 history to win the conference crown three times in a row as the Sun Devils scored 186.5 points, the second-highest total in conference history (189.5 is the record). UCLA, which leads the league with 15 overall titles, had win streak of eight, four and three with the only other program to win multiple titles being Oregon, which won twice in a row. The Sun Devils' three titles also stands as the second-most in Pac-10 history.

For the second year in a row, the Sun Devil men came up short in the team standings as Oregon walked away with the title. The Ducks scored 144.5 points to defend their crown while the Sun Devils took second at 134, just 9.5 points off the leaders one year removed from finishing three points shy of the gold.

While the Sun Devils fell three points shy of UCLA's all-time point total of 189.5 (set in 1997), Arizona State did set a record as it recorded the largest margin of victory in Pac-10 Championships history. The Sun Devils' 69.5 margin over Stanford (186.5-117) is 8.5 points higher than UCLA's 1989 victory over Oregon (161-100) of 61 points. ASU nearly holds the record for lowest margin of victory as its 2.5 point win over Stanford in 2006 (154-151.5) is the second-smallest behind only UCLA's 2001 victory over USC, 155-153 (2.0 points).

The Sun Devils won a total of 12 events at the main portion of the Pac-10 Championships (not including the heptathlon/decathlon from the previous week), six by each gender, with two women and two men each winning two events. For the women, Charonda Williams swept the short sprints by capturing the 100m and 200m dash events while thrower Jessica Pressley doubled in the shot put and discus. On the men's side, Matt Turner won the long jump and the triple jump with Kyle Alcorn won the 3,000m steeplechase and the 5,000m.

Darryl Elston had a hand in a pair of victories as he captured the 200m dash and ran one of the legs on the victorious 4x400m relay with Justin Kremer, Marquis Profit and Joel Phillip to round out the men's winners while the women saw Sarah Stevens win the hammer throw before the team of Jeavon Benjamin, Jordan Durham, Shauntel Elcock and Dominique' Maloy combined to take the 4x400m relay.

The Sun Devil men and women set victory records for the program at the Pac-10 Championships as both genders won the most titles in a single season in Arizona State history. The women collected seven total crowns (including Jacquelyn Johnson's heptathlon crown the week prior) while the men totaled six. The previous best for the women was five, which was recorded each of the past two meets while the men's previous best also was five, which was recorded in 2005.

With her sweep of the 100m and 200m dashes (11.45 and 23.09, respectively), Charonda Williams became the ninth woman in Pac-10 history to capture both events in the same meet. She also is the first Sun Devil to accomplish the feat.

Also for the ninth time in Pac-10 history, the shot put and discus champion for the women was the same as Jessica Pressley threw 18.79m and 55.93m, respectively, to win the double. It is the second time a Sun Devil has pulled of the feat as Sarah Stevens won both events last year at Stanford.

For only the ninth time since 1976 (when the 5,000m run replaced the 2-mile run), the same man won the 3,000m steeplechase and the 5,000m run in the same meet as Kyle Alcorn captured both for ASU. Alcorn won the steeplechase in 8:43.81 to give ASU the crown in that event for the fifth year in a row before coming back to take the 5,000m in 14:12.76.

While the previous three doubles are quite remarkable, the final double carries a little more history as Matt Turner's wins in the long jump (7.84m) and triple jump (15.63m) made him only the fifth athlete to win both events in the same year since 1960 (48 years). He is the second Sun Devil to win both in the same year as Dwight Phillips did so in 1999.

In the women's shot put, Jessica Pressley not only won the event, she also placed herself among the elite throwers in the history of the collegiate ranks as her winning mark of 18.79m (61-07.75) stands as the second-best toss in Pac-10 history behind Valeyta Althouse of UCLA, who threw 18.85m in 1995. Pressley's mark, which meets the Olympic Games 'A' standard, also stands as the fifth-best toss in the history of the NCAA.

The Sun Devil women's program has some solid performances this year with many coming from the field events, especially the throws. That was evident at the Pac-10 Championships as five throwers combined to win three of the four throwing events and score a total of 74 points, a total that would have placed those five women in sixth place as a team in the overall standings. The discus saw ASU score 24 points as Jessica Pressley was first, Sarah Stevens second and Tai Battle third. The shot put produced 22 points with Pressley winning, Stevens taking second and Battle finishing fifth. The hammer throw earned 21 points with Stevens winning, Battle taking third and Pressley fourth. The javelin produced seven points with Jacquelyn Johnson taking third and Addison McGrath finishing eighth.

The women recorded eight marks that ranked among the Top 10 all-time in ASU history at the Pac-10 Championships while the men recorded seven with two of the women's marks standing as school records. Jessica Pressley's toss of 18.79m in the shot put and Jacquelyn Johnson's throw of 48.58m in the javelin are both school records.

The remaining marks that earned a place on the all-time Top 10 include three women's and one men's mark in the Top 3 all-time, including No. 2 all-time Addison McGrath in the javelin (46.77m) in just her second career meet in the event; third-ranked Tai Battle in the hammer (63.18m) and third-ranked Charonda Williams in the 200m dash (23.09) for the women and Tomas Navarro in the hammer (62.55m) for the men. Also ranking highly were Dominique' Maloy in the women's 200m dash (sixth at 23.28), Battle in the shot put (10th at 15.22m) and discus (seventh at 54.93m), Joel Phillip in the men's 400m dash (ninth at 45.29), Marquis Profit in the 400m hurdles (seventh at 51.12), Nectaly Barbosa in the 800m run (ninth at 1:48.83), Jeff Helmer in the 10,000m run (seventh at 30:36.58), Patrick Milloy in the 10,000m run (10th at 31:25.42) and Jeff Helwig in the hammer (seventh at 59.45m).

New to the Championships this year was the addition of the Pac-10 Athlete of the Meet Award, which will be given to the one man and one woman that score the most points overall. The Sun Devils swept the honors as Jacquelyn Johnson scored 33.5 points towards the women's team score while Matt Turner took the men's honor with 21 points, just one ahead of Kyle Alcorn. Johnson scored her points in the heptathlon (10 points for first), 100m hurdles (8 for second), long jump (8 for second), javelin (6 for third) and high jump (1.5 for seventh-place tie) while Turner scored 10 each in winning the long jump and triple jump with his one point for an eighth-place finish in the high jump giving him the one-point edge.

The Pac-10 meet opened last weekend with the women's heptathlon and men's decathlon competitions that saw Sun Devil senior Jacquelyn Johnson capture her third Pac-10 heptathlon crown with a score of 6,307 points. The senior won four of the seven heptathlon events to capture the crown, which was the fourth of her career (also won HJ in 2004).

Johnson's winning score of 6,307 points not only gave her a third Pac-10 title in the heptathlon, it also broke several records. Her total bettered her school record score of 6,143 points set earlier in the season, bettered the Pac-10 record of 6,205 points scored by Diana Pickler (Washington State) last year, bettered the Pac-10 meet record of 6,018 points scored by Pickler last year and broke Gea Johnson's (ASU) Sun Angel Stadium record of 6,129 points scored in 1990. The 6,307 points scored also ranks as the third-highest total in NCAA history and the best score by a collegiate competitor since 1995.

With her heptathlon crown, Jacquelyn Johnson tied Tonya Sedwick (UCLA) for the most titles won by a mutli-event athlete in Pac-10 history at four. Johnson won the heptathlon in 2004, 2006 and 2008 while also adding the high jump crown in 2004. Sedwick won the heptathlon in 1989 and 1991 while adding long jump titles both years.

On March 14-15, the Sun Devils traveled 21 student-athletes to the 2008 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and returned with both the men's and women's national team titles, accomplishing the feat for just the second time in NCAA history (LSU did so in 2004). The women scored 51 points with LSU finishing second with 43 points in the women's race while the men edged out favorite Florida State, 44-41, for their first indoor team crown.

The titles earned by the Sun Devil men and women are the 134th and 135th national titles captured by Arizona State in school history. The wins are the 39th and 66th national titles for the men and women, respectively, while 30 other titles were won in coed events (20 in mixed archery and 10 in mixed badminton).

With 44 points, the Sun Devil men won their first indoor championship and became the 14th different men's program to capture the indoor crown since the NCAA began sponsoring an indoor meet in 1965. The title is the second in program history for the men as the 1977 team captured the outdoor championship, the first team title in ASU track & field history.

The men's team victory at the NCAA Indoor Championships marked the first men's team title earned for the Sun Devil athletic department since 1996 when the men's golf team captured their second championship (also won in 1990). Prior to the women winning last year and this year, the previous Sun Devil national champions were the 1998 women's golf team.

The women's team, which is one of only seven programs to win an NCAA indoor title since the association began sponsoring the event in 1983, repeated as national champions, marking just the fifth time in NCAA history that a team has won back-to-back titles. The last to do so was LSU (2002-2003-2004). The other schools to do so were UCLA (2000-2001), LSU (1993-1994-1995-1996-1997) and Nebraska (1983-1984).

The women's team was not the only repeat winners on the weekend for the Sun Devils as Jacquelyn Johnson secured her third indoor pentathlon crown in a row, scoring a collegiate and meet record 4,496 points. In her career, Johnson has three titles and one runner-up finish (second as a true freshman in 2004).

When Jacquelyn Johnson successfully defended her indoor pentathlon crowns she won at the 2006 and 2007 NCAA meets, she became just the ninth woman to win the same event three times in a career at the indoor championships and the second Sun Devil, joining Maicel Malone, who won the 400m dash in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Other three-time champions include Regina Cavanaugh of Rice (shot put, 1984-85-86), Suzy Favor of Wisconsin (mile, 1987-89-90), Vicki Huber of Villanova (3,000m, 1987-88-89), Carlette Guidry of Texas (55m, 1988-90-91), Amy Wickus of Wisconsin (800m, 1993-94-95), Amy Acuff of UCLA (high jump, 1994-95-96) and Trecia Smith of Pittsburgh (long jump, 1997-98-99).

The teams and Johnson were not the only champions as two men captured individual titles in remarkable fashion. Ryan Whiting led off by winning the shot put with a huge toss of 71-03.50 (21.73m) to set the collegiate record in the event. In the second-to-last event of the meet, Kyle Alcorn stormed to the front of the pack late in the 3,000m race to capture the national crown and put the Sun Devils in a position to win the team title.

Jacquelyn Johnson and Ryan Whiting both set collegiate records in winning their national crowns over the weekend. Johnson, who entered the meet with a best of 4,312 points in the pentathlon, ended the meet with 4,496 points, breaking the collegiate record of 4,439 points set in 2002 by Austra Skuyte (Kansas State) and bettering the meet mark of 4,412 points scored by Hyleas Fountain (Georgia) in 2004 when she defeated Johnson for the first NCAA pentathlon crown.

While Johnson broke a record that was set a few years ago, Whiting broke the 31 year-old mark of Terry Albritton (Stanford), who threw 70-06.50 (21.50m) in 1977. Whiting, who recorded a toss of 71-03.50 (21.73m) on his final throw of the competition, is now the collegiate, meet and Pac-10 indoor record holder while ranking third all-time on the Pac-10 lists as two marks recorded outdoors are ahead of Whiting.

The 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships mark the end of the collegiate season for the Sun Devils. Many of the current team members will join up with former Sun Devils in Eugene, Ore., at Hayward Field for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field. The meet will be used to select the members of Team USA that will compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (August 8-24).