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Mt. SAC Relays await Sun Devil track & field

April 15, 2011

Sun Devil Notes and Statistics (pdf)

The Arizona State University track and field team, after hosting three meets in the past four weeks, will hit the road as a team this weekend as it will compete in the 53rd Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., Friday through Saturday. The Sun Devils will be well represented across all event groups with entries in the sprints, mid-distances, distances, relays, jumps and throws.

Each week, the ASU Athletic Department selects three student-athletes who led the way athletically the week before and this week, two members of the track and field squad have been honored. Along with Gold Pitchfork winner Kelsey McKenna (tennis), Christabel Nettey was awarded the Silver Pitchfork and Bryan McBride was selected as the Bronze Pitchfork. Nettey’s first long jump competition outdoors this season was a success as the 2010 All-American won the 32nd Sun Angel Track Classic with a leap of 6.38m (20-11.25) and moved up to No. 4 on the current NCAA order lists. Her leap also ranks as the sixth-best all-time at Arizona State and ranks tied for sixth in the world as well. A true freshman, McBride battled through cold and rainy conditions in Tempe to capture the high jump title as he cleared 2.15m (7-00.25) to captured his first collegiate meet title. In the previous two meets, McBride had cleared 2.10m (6-10.75) only to barely miss a clearance at 2.15m. This time, however, McBride broke the 7-foot barrier and nearly cleared 7-02.25, just clipping the bar on his final attempt. With his clearance, the rookie ranks tied for 12th nationally and is the third-ranked freshman in the NCAA while also sitting 11th on ASU’s all-time list.

The USTFCCCA released its latest outdoor rankings that have the Sun Devil women ranked No. 14 this week and the men not in the Top 25 based upon points accumulated based upon where individual event marks rank nationally. The women are up one position from last week where they were No. 15.

Last week, the Bowerman Award committee added freshman Anna Jelmini to its watch list, making her one of 10 women the committee is keeping its eye on this season for the award given annually to the top male and top female collegiate track and field competitors. Jelmini, the national leader in the discus and eighth-ranked in the shot put, is the only freshman on the list with also includes two sophomores, one junior and six seniors. Jelmini also is one of three Pac-10 competitors on the list. Last year, Ryan Whiting was one of three men’s finalists for the Bowerman.

Following the 32nd Sun Angel Track Classic in Tempe last weekend, several Sun Devils moved into the Top 10 nationally while one took over the top spot to give the Arizona State women two national leaders. Last week, Jasmine Chaney ran 56.61 to win the 400m hurdles and post the top time in the NCAA, joining Anna Jelmini on top of the standings after the rookie took the top spot in the discus with a toss of 60.49m (198-5) at the ASU invitational two weeks before.

Along with those two marks, the Sun Devils have four more Top 10 marks in the women’s standings while the men hold a pair. Jelmini not only leads the nation in the discus, but she also ranks eighth in the shot put with her toss of 17.00m (55-09.25) in the shot put. Christabel Netteyranks fourth in the long jump at 6.38m (20-11.25) while Keia Pinnick (5,455 points) and Samantha Henderson (5,424 points) stand sixth and seventh, respectively, in the heptathlon. On the men’s side of things, Jordan Clarke is currently third in the shot put at 18.81m (61-08.50) whileMason McHenry is eighth in the 800m run at 1:48.44.

Heading into the weekend, 10 marks recorded by current and former Sun Devil women rank among the Top 10 in the world, including six by current team members. Leading the way is Jasmine Chaney, who ranks sixth in the 400m hurdles (56.61) and tied for 10th in the 100m hurdles (13.18). The other marks recorded by current Sun Devils include Christabel Nettey (6.38m), who is tied for seventh in the long jump; Anna Jelmini (60.49m), who is 11th in the discus; Keia Pinnick (5,455 points), who is 16th in the heptathlon; and Samantha Henderson (5,424 points), who is 17th in the heptathlon. Former Sun Devils on the lists include Sarah Stevens (10th at 17.70m) and Jessica Pressley (14th at 17.46m) in the shot put; Lisa Aguilera (12th at 10:12.17) in the steeplechase; and Charonda Williams (14th at 23.34) in the 200m dash.

Despite the cold and rainy weather that hit the 32nd Sun Angel Track Classic, several top-notch marks were turned in from the elite field as one men’s time and 13 women’s marks ranked in the Top 20 in the world at the time as of Sunday night. The two events that produced the most Top 20 marks came in the women’s steeplechase, including the No. 7, No. 11 and No. 18 times, and the women’s shot put, which included the No. 10, No. 16 and No. 17 throws internationally.

So far this season, the Sun Devils have recorded 16 marks on the women’s side and 11 on the men that rank among the Top 5 overall in the Pac-10 Conference. Among those marks are four conference leaders for the women and one for the men. On the women’s side, Jasmine Chaney is tops in the 400m hurdles (56.61) and part of the leading 4x400m relay (3:33.72), which also features Keia Pinnick (5,455 points), the top scorer in the heptathlon so far. Anna Jelmini is the final women’s leader as she holds the top toss in the discus (60.49m). For the men,Jordan Clarke is the top man in the shot put (18.81m).

Looking at the Pac-10 order lists, not only is Chaney the conference leader in the 400m hurdles, she currently ranks among the Top 5 in four total individual events and as part of both relays. While the 4x400m relay (first) and the 4x100m relay (third) are in the Top 5, so are her marks in the 400m hurdles (first at 56.61), the 200m dash (second at 23.16), the 100m hurdles (third at 13.18) and the 400m dash (third at 53.37).

On the men’s side of things, Clarke is the only Sun Devil ranked in the Top 5 in more than one individual event as he is ranked highly in all three weight events. Clarke leads the Pac-10 in the shot put at 18.81m and is third in the discus at 54.52m. He also is fifth in the hammer at 60.45m.

Head Coach Greg Kraft is entering his 15th year as the leader of the Sun Devil program, a tenure that has brought Arizona State back to the top of the standings in both the NCAA and Pac-10 events. Since his hiring, the program has continued to evolve into one of the more well-rounded in the nation with strength on the track and in the field as well as in cross country. Kraft and his staff have worked diligently to reach their goals of championships and success in education and that has not been more clearly seen than in the past five years as the hardware has continued to roll in. His program has annually produced some of the top individuals in the nation with 23 of the program’s 55 individual and relay national titles won since 2004 while both his teams and individual student-athletes have garnered national academic acclaim. Prior to his arrival, the program boasted one NCAA Championship (men’s outdoor track & field, 1977) and one Pac-10 Championship (men’s outdoor track & field, 1981). In the last five years, his Sun Devils have captured four national crowns (2007 women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, 2008 men’s and women’s indoor track & field) and added three Pac-10 Championships (women’s outdoor track & field, 2006-08). Kraft’s teams have finished in the Top 10 of the NCAA Track & Field Championships on 20 occasions in 14 years while the program had done so just 14 times prior to his arrival in Tempe.

As he begins his 15th year at Arizona State, Kraft’s tenure ranks as the second-longest in Sun Devil track & field history and the fourth-longest active streak among all current ASU head coaches. The only coach that has led the track & field program longer than Kraft is legendary coach Senon ‘Baldy’ Castillo, who led the way for 26 years (1954-79). Among current Sun Devil head coaches, Kraft’s 15th year ranks behind John Spini, who is in his 31st year with gymnastics; Sheila McInerney, who is in her 27th year with women’s tennis; and Randy Lein, who is in his 19th year with the men’s golf program.

The Sun Devils will return home for the next two weekends, first by hosting the Sun Devil Open on Saturday, April 23, at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe.