Men's track & field wins first MPSF Championship
The Arizona State University men’s track and field team won its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship, Feb. 25, with the women finishing fourth as competition wrapped up at the Dempsey Indoor Center in Seattle, Wash.
Three student-athletes won individual titles and the No. 7 men never relinquished the big lead they built after the first day, cruising to the team’s first ever victory in the 20th year of the competition.
The men finished with 131.50 point to demolish the competition, finishing 50 points ahead of runner-up Stanford’s 81.50 points. The women had 68 points on the day and continued to be a presence in the upper half of the MPSF conference.
The men’s margin of victory is the most in at least a decade at the MPSF Championships and its point total is also tops on that list.
Complete recaps of each team’s competition are below. Some Sun Devils will return to action next weekend as those athletes currently on the bubble for an NCAA bid will look to qualify at Last Chance meets across the country.
Chris Benard got things rolling for the Sun Devils by beating his own school record in the triple jump with a leap of 16.43m (53-11.00) to win the competition and set a Dempsey Indoor facility record. The leap automatically qualifies Benard for the NCAA Indoor Championships and currently ranks him second in the nation, barring other results from across the country this weekend.
The senior’s leap is the second best jump in school history all-around, with outdoor marks included as well.
Sophomore Ryan Milus took the third individual MPSF title of the weekend early on Saturday, taking the fastest time out of the preliminary round of the 60-meter dash and cruising in the finals in a time of 6.65.
It was the first conference title, indoors or outdoors, for Milus and he will now set his sights on the NCAA Indoor Championships in which he has already automatically qualified.
Milus led a sweep of the top two spots for ASU as teammate Daniel Auberry wasn’t far behind in 6.72 seconds. Rashad Ross, fresh off his 200-meter title last night, was sixth overall in 6.87 as the Sun Devils combined for 21 points in the event.
Earlier, senior Kelsey Caesar clocked a season’s best in the 400-meter dash as he won his heat in 47.59 and finished fifth overall.
Ross and Caesar would also join the men’s 4x400-meter relay along with Chris Burrows and Will Henry as the team posted a runner-up finish to Oregon with a season’s best time of 3:09.26 in the final running event of the day.
Junior Jordan Clarke won his first indoor MPSF title in the shot put, edging Arizona’s Bozidar Antunovic in a reversal of last year’s MPSF final. The defending NCAA outdoor champion launched his first throw 18.98m (62-03.25) and that mark was good enough for the victory.
Sophomore Bryan McBride wrapped up an eventful weekend with a fourth-place finish in the high jump with a clearance of 2.17m (7-01.50) and also was able to snag an eighth-place finish in the triple jump to make him a point-scorer in three events on the weekend.
Junior Nick Happe continued his impressive junior campaign, finishing sixth in the men’s 3,000 meters in a new career best time of 7:55.08. The time was just under a second shy of the school record of 7:54.27, set by Brandon Bethke in 2010, and ranks Happe third all-time in ASU history and will put him on the bubble of an NCAA berth.
Shelby Houlihan got things underway in the scoring category for the ASU women on Saturday in the mile run. Houlihan clocked in in a 4:41.58 for a fourth-place overall finish.
In the 400-meter dash that followed shortly afterwards, freshman Brianna Tate scored her first points as a Sun Devil with a seventh-place finish in 54.86 – a new career best.
Senior Kayla Sanchez did a little bit of everything on the day, just missing out on scoring in the 400-meter final but coming back less than an hour later to take eighth in the 60-meter dash final. Teammate Asiah Gooden was sixth overall in 7.62 seconds.
Sanchez was second in last night’s 200-meter dash final and as if that weren’t enough Sanchez teamed up with Tate as well as Alycia Herring and Keia Pinnick to take fourth in the 4x400-meter relay in 3:37.95.
In the pole vault, Shaylah Simpson had her best jump of the year as she cleared 3.93m (12-10.75) to finish in a tie for sixth overall.
Arizona State Point Scorers – Day Two
Ryan Milus, 6.65, First
Daniel Auberry, 6.72, Second
Rashad Ross, 6.87, Sixth
Kelsey Caesar, 47.59, Fifth
John Kline, 1:51.70, Eighth
Nick Happe, 7:55.08, Sixth
Bryan McBride, 2.17m, Fourth
Chris Benard, 16.43m, First
Bryan McBride, 14.87m, Eighth
Jordan Clarke, 18.98m, First
Austin Prince, 5,140, Eighth
Asiah Gooden, 7.62, Sixth
Kayla Sanchez, 8.03, Eighth
Brianna Tate, 54.86, Seventh
Shelby Houlihan, 4:41.58, Fourth
Shaylah Simpson, 3.93m, Sixth
Anna Jelmini, 16.17m, Second
Alex Hartig, 14.73m, Sixth