ASU women take third, men take fourth at Pac-12 Track and Field Championships
The No. 9 Arizona State University women's track and field team added two individual titles on Sunday and finished third overall at the 2013 Pac-12 Track and Field Championships in Los Angeles.
The Arizona State men scored victories in the 4x100-meter relay and the 5,000-meter run and finished fourth overall with 94 points and took the Territorial Cup point with the effort. The women scored 110.33 points but finished 13 points behind second-place Arizona and did not earn the series point.
ASU won seven individual championships and one relay title over the course of the competition. Only Oregon had more titles over the course of the weekend.
Keia Pinnick was named the Pac-12 Women's Athlete of the Meet for her performances over the past two weekends.
The ASU men's 4x100-meter relay team of Devan Spann, Will Henry, Chris Burrows andRyan Milus opened up the day big for the Sun Devils, cruising to a victory for the second consecutive year in a time of 39.41. The time was over half a second better than second-place USC and the margin of victory was enough that anchor Milus even had time to look back at the field before crossing the line.
With the victory the Sun Devils became the first team to repeat as 4x100-meter since UCLA in 2009 and 2010. The Sun Devils have now won four titles in the event since 2004, more than any other team in the conference.
Milus also scored for the Sun Devils in both the short sprints, taking third in the 100-meter dash in 10.25 before posting a fifth-place finish in 21.28 in the 200. Spann was seventh in both races, scoring at the conference meet in just his first season for the Sun Devils.
Shelby Houlihan continued her incredible sophomore campaign as she led from tape-to-tape in the women's 1,500-meter run as she held off four All-Americans down the stretch to win the event in 4:14.84.
It was the first Pac-12 title of Houlihan's career as she became the first Sun Devil to win at 1,500 meters since Kim Toney did it in 1994.
As if that weren't enough, Houlihan bounced back in the women's 5,000-meter run at the end of the day - her first-ever collegiate run at the distance - and clocked a time of 16:15.85 to finish second overall.
Houlihan closed it out strong to run down multiple-time All-American Jennifer Bergman of Arizona down the final stretch for the runner-up finish, giving her 18 points on the weekend.
Shortly after Houlihan's victory at 1,500, Anna Jelmini gave Arizona State its fifth individual title of the weekend on the women's side in the discus. The junior struggled through the early rounds as she sat fifth through the first four rounds of the competition.
Jelmini locked it up on her fifth-throw, showing why she's the top-ranked discus thrower in the nation with a throw of 58.04m (190-05). She improved to 58.50m (191-11) on her final throw to solidify the victory,
With the victory, Jelmini became just the second student-athlete in conference history to win three titles in the event. Only UCLA's Dawn Dumble, who won four back in the early 90's, had accomplished the feat before. Ironically enough, Dawn is the sister of ASU throw coach David Dumble, who coaches Jelmini. Dawn was also Jelmini's first throwing coach.
In perhaps the most exciting race of the day, the men's 5,000-meter run was part of a massive rally for the Sun Devils that saw the team climb from the middle of the pack in the team standings to the fourth-place finish.
Nick Happe, mere hours after being named the Pac-12 Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year, laid down the hammer over the final 600 meters, jumping from ninth to first and clocking a 57-second final lap to run down UCLA's Lane Werley to win his first-ever conference title.
Happe finished in 14:05.20 to give ASU its third victor in the event in the last six seasons.
In a tactical race, it was teammate Darius Terry that navigated traffic and kept he and Terry in the front pack for the majority of the race. Terry had the lead with a lap left, but still held on for a third-place finish in 14:09.19 and his best finish in a Pac-12 competition in his career.
The pair of Happe and Terry accomplished the feat after running a phenomenal race in the men's 1,500-meter run earlier in the day.
Competing in a stacked field that featured four of the top 20 runners in the nation in the event, Happe came across in 3:43.56 for a sixth-place finish with Terry right behind him in seventh in 3:43.58.
The late surge was also helped along by a solid performance in the men's triple jump as freshman Josh Dixon had a leap of 14.94m (48-05.25) to finish third overall while Jordan Benesh had a leap of 14.28m (46-10.25) for an eighth-place finish.
That set up a strong run by the men's mile relay as Darryl Morales, Chris Burrows, Trae Armstrong and Will Henry took second in 3:08.06. Armstrong, a freshman, got called up after essentially zero warning, having to take Devan Spann'sspot in the lineup after Spann suffered an injury in the 200-meter dash just half an hour earlier and kept the Sun Devils right in the thick of things on the third leg.
The run capped a 31-point swing for the Sun Devils over the final half hour of competition to give them the fourth-place finish, just 4.5 points behind UCLA and just 14 points behind second-place USC.
Keia Pinnick had an impressive day in the hurdles, clocking a new career-best of 13.17 in the 100-meter hurdles for a third-place finish overall. It was the fifth-fastest time in ASU history. Pinnick bounced right back for a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 58.35.
She then came out and joined the 4x400-meter relay team in the final event of the day, helping the team to a second-place finish in 3:32.53 - just .14 behind the champion USC.
After winning the heptathlon competition last weekend, Pinnick was honored as the Female Athlete of the Meet for the performance, contributing to 29 of ASU's 110.33 points.
Tate threw together an epic quarter-mile as the anchor, coming back in the final 25 meters to nip Arizona's Olympian Georganne Moline at the line for the second-place run.
Earlier in the day, Tate ran a solid 52.84 in the open 400 to finish fourth overall and under a second behind the team champion. Geren took seventh in the race.
The women scored two in the pole vault competition as Heather Arseneau finished seventh with a jump of 3.97m (13-00.25) while Shaylah Simpson finished in a tie for eighth with a best clearance of 3.82m (12-06.25).
Christabel Nettey, after winning the long jump yesterday, took seventh in the triple jump with a leap of 12.39m (40-07.75).
With the team performances on Sunday, the ASU women extended their streak to 14 top-five finishes at the conference meet while the men finished in the top half of the conference standings for the 13th time in the last 15 seasons.
The Sun Devils will now prepare for the opening round of the NCAA Championships, set to begin with the West Preliminaries in Austin, Texas, in two weeks.