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MPSF Championships await ASU track & field

February 23, 2012

ASU Notes and Stats -- 2012 MPSF Championships Get Acrobat Reader

The Arizona State University men’s and women’s track and field teams will begin the indoor postseason this weekend as the squad heads to Seattle, Wash., for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships at the Dempsey Indoor Track Facility.  Essentially the indoor version of the conference championships, the Sun Devils will square off against the majority of the teams from the Pac-12 Conference as well as from the Big West.  The event begins at 12:30 p.m. PST on Friday, Feb. 24 and resume at 10:30 a.m. PST on Saturday.


•  The Sun Devil men are currently ranked #7 in the country and have eight individuals and one relay currently ranked in the top 25 nationally on the year.

•  Senior Chris Benard set the school triple jump record in the season opener with a leap of 16.14m (52-11.50) in Flagstaff - which is also the the fourth-best jump in the nation this season.

• The ASU men currently have eight student-athletes ranked in the top-25 in the country: Ryan Milus (60m), Daniel Auberry (60m), Mason McHenry (800m), Jordan Clarke (shot put), Chris Burrows (200m), Nick Happe (3,000m), Bryan McBride (High Jump) and Chris Benard (triple jump) along with the team’s DMR.

•Jordan Clarke returns to the Sun Devils as the defending outdoor NCAA shot put champion and automatically qualified for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships with a throw of 19.44m 

Ryan Milus clocked the fourth-fastest 60-meter time in the country at the Kirby Invitational in 6.60 seconds, automatically qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

Shelby Houlihan set the school mile record at the Husky Invitational, beating Lisa Aguilera’s 12-year-old school record by three seconds in a time of 4:41.26

Anna Jelmini currently ranks ninth in the nation in the women’s shot put with a mark of 16.91m (55-5.75).


The Sun Devil men’s team remains at the No. 7 spot in this week’s USTFCCCA computer rankings.  The men entered last weekend in the ‘moving week’ where the rankings stopped taking times from last season into account and only took marks from this year. The men jumped 17 spots into the top-10 for the first time since 2010 and remained there this week. 


The ASU men continued to find themselves in the top spot in the West Regional rankings and with a hefty point advantage over No. 2 Oregon, arguably making the team the favorite at this week’s MPSF Championships.. The Arizona State women find themselves in fourth in regional rankings behind Oregon, Stanford and Arizona.


Senior Chris Benard had an impressive season for the Sun Devils last year, advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the triple jump after transferring from Riverside College. Benard got 2012 started with a bang though with a 16.14m  (52-11.50) leap at the Lumberjack Invitational to take down Dwight Phillips’ 12-year-old indoor school record in the event and give Benard the top jump in the country in the early part of the season. It was just the third time in school history that a student-athlete had cleared the 16-meter barrier indoors.  


Nick Happe is having a career year in his junior campaign, having set three marks that currently rank in the top-five on ASU’s all-time lists.  Happe continued his tear by becoming just the third athlete in Sun Devil history to go under four minutes in the mile with an altitude-adjusted time of 3:59.93 to rank third all-time at ASU.  Happe has also clocked the second fastest 5k time in school history at 13:54.51 and the fifth-best 3,000-meter run time of 8:00.66 -- all of which rank in the top 40 nationally this season.


Shelby Houlihan introduced herself to the world in the cross country season in earning Pac-12 Newcomer of the year honors.  Now, she has wasted no time letting everyone know there will be no dropback during the track season.  Houlihan clocked the third-fastest indoor 800-meter time in school history at the Texas A&M Challenge in a time of 2:07.58 as she went toe-to-toe with two National Champions  in the event.  Houlihan is expected to open up with the first mile run of her collegiate career this weekend.


As if her 800 performance wasn’t good enough, Houlihan backed it up by setting the school record in the indoor mile with a time of 4:41.26 to unseed Lisa Aguilera’s 12-year-old Sun Devil record in the event at the Husky Invitational.  Houlihan topped Aguilera’s mark by over three seconds and has cemented herself as one of - if not the top ASU middle distance runner in history - and her freshman season isn’t even over yet.


Sophomore Ryan Milus has been the definition of consistency in the 60-meter dash this season and saw it come to fruition as he clocked an altitude-adjusted 6.60 time at the Kirby Invitational, two hundredths of a second behind the two-time defending NCAA champion in the event, Jeff Demps of Florida.  Milus’ time is currently fourth in the nation, second in school history and automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in March.


Quickly and subtly moving up the record books in the 60-meter dash behind Milus as well.  Auberry currently has the 13th-best mark in the nation at 6.67 seconds and ranks four all-time at Arizona State.  He has been a competitor in every finals race this season next to Milus and will give the Sun Devils a powerful 1-2 punch in the event


Junior college transfers Chris Burrows and Rashad Ross have been making quite the splash for the men’s sprints team, adding depth in the 200-meters to go with the team’s strength at 60 meters.  Burrows, out of Lake Erie College, posted the fourth-best indoor 200-meter dash in school history at the Kirby Invite with a time of 21.23. Ross, a member of the ASU football team who joined the track team at the conclusion of the football season, grabbed attention at the Kirby Invite in the 200-meter fash with a time of 21.25 (altitude adjusted) that placed him seventh on ASU’s all-time 200m list. Ross’ accomplishment is even more impressive with the fact that it was his third race he has ran for ASU and his second indoor race ever. 


Sophomore Bryan McBride continued to make impressive strides in the high jump, match the school indoor record at the Kirby Invite with a leap of 2.26m (7-5.00) to match Kyle Arney’s mark set back in 1979.  McBride has set personal indoor records three times in 2012 so far and has improved by just under five inches from his best leap as a freshman.  He ranks third in the nation this season and will be the top seed heading into the MPSF Championships.