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NCAA Championship Finals await ASU track and field

June 07, 2011

Sun Devil Meet Notes, Results and Marks (pdf)

Thirteen members of the Arizona State University track and field program will travel to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and compete in the NCAA Championship Finals that will be held at Drake Stadium, June 8-11. Nine women and four men will compete for the Sun Devils as national champions will be crowned in all individual and relay events, as well as the team races.

There will be several ways to watch much of the Championships as both the and will stream live action on their web sites throughout the competition. The two exceptions will be Friday night’s broadcast by CBS Sports Network (cable) from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Arizona time (6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Des Moines) and then Saturday’s track session from 10 a.m. to Noon Arizona time live on CBS (Noon to 2 p.m. in Des Moines).

The NCAA Championship Finals is the last collegiate competition of the season and will be used to determine the national champions in all events, including the team races. The Top 8 individuals and relays in each event will earn points toward their respective team’s point total in the chase for team championships while also earning All-America honors.

The final USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings have been released heading into the NCAA Championship Finals where the Sun Devil women are ranked No. 11 and the men are not among the Top 25. The women are one of five Pac-10 teams in the Top 15 of the rankings with Oregon, Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas and Oklahoma making up the Top 5 teams in the rankings. On the men’s side, the Top 5 heading into Des Moines include Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, LSU and Texas Tech. Five Pac-10 men’s teams also are ranked in the Top 15 this week.

Jasmine Chaney and Kayla Sanchez both will be busy this week as they will compete in four and three events, respectively. Chaney has qualified in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles and will also run on both relays. Sanchez qualified in the 400m hurdles and both relays as well. The remaining members of the relays include Asia Gooden on the 4x100m, Keia Pinnick on the 4x400m and Alycia Herring on both. Pinnick, along with Samantha Henderson, will compete in the heptathlon, while Christabel Nettey (long jump), Cj Navarro (hammer) and Anna Jelmini (shot put and discus) will compete in the field. For the men, Ryan Milus (100m dash) and Darius Terry (1,500m run) will run on the track while Chris Benard (triple jump) and Jordan Clarke (shot put) will compete in field events.

Both Jasmine Chaney and Jordan Clarke are returning to the NCAA Championship Finals one year after earning All-America honors in the same meet last outdoor season. Chaney was the lone scorer for the women in 2010 as she placed fourth in the 400m hurdles to earn her first individual All-America honor. Clarke was one of three Sun Devil All-Americans in the shot put as he placed fifth overall as a rookie. Four other Sun Devils head to Des Moines this week having earned All-America honors in their careers, including 2011 indoor honorees Anna Jelmini (shot put) and the duo of Keia Pinnick and Kayla Sanchez (4x400m relay). Cj Navarro also will compete in the hammer this weekend after earning All-America honors in the discus in 2009.

Heading into Des Moines, six Sun Devils will be making their NCAA Division I Championship debut, including three men and three women. For the women, true freshmen Asia Gooden and Alycia Herring will join senior Samantha Henderson, who is no stranger to championship events as she competed in the NJCAA Championships four times (twice indoor, twice outdoor) before transferring to ASU. In those meets, she earned All-America honors four times and placed third in the heptathlon outdoors twice. For the men, rookie Ryan Milus joins a pair of juniors in Darius Terry and Chris Benard as first-time NCAA competitors.

Freshman Anna Jelmini was selected on Monday as the USTFCCCA West Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. The rookie from Bakersfield, Calif., is the national leader in the discus with a toss of 60.54m and is undefeated against collegiate competitors this season. The only woman with a mark of 60-meters or better (she did that five times in nine meets this year), Jelmini is set to compete in the discus and shot put (ranked No. 8 this year) at the NCAA Championship Finals this week. She is the fourth Sun Devil woman to earn the regional honor, joining track honoree Charonda Williams and field athletes Sarah Stevens and Jacquelyn Johnson.

Looking at the women’s throwing events heading into Des Moines, there are only four schools that have qualified at least one woman in each of the three weight events (discus, shot put, hammer) with the only team from the west being Arizona State (Jelmini in the discus and shot put and Navarro in the hammer). The three other schools include Indiana State, Louisville and Virginia Teach.

With both Samantha Henderson and Keia Pinnick earning berths into the heptathlon at the NCAA Championship Finals, Arizona State is one of only two women’s teams to qualify more than one athlete into the heptathlon and just one of four schools with two qualifiers in either of the multi-event competitions. Ranked eighth and 10th, respectively, Henderson and Pinnick also make Arizona State the only school with two qualifiers in the Top 10. The other schools are Wisconsin in the heptathlon (18th and 21st) and men’s decathlon entries from Georgia (11th and 12th) and Texas (10th and 15th).

As mentioned earlier, Jasmine Chaney will have quite the busy week, running in at least four races with the hopes of running in eight at most. A qualifier in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles, Chaney is one of just five women nationally (and one of two from the West) to qualify in both events. Miami (Fla.) has two women that qualified in both while Stanford and Penn State each have one.

The only difference among those five women is that Chaney has helped her school qualify both relays to the NCAA Finals as none of the other women either ran on a qualified relay or their school did not qualify a relay to Des Moines. Chaney has run the anchor leg all season for both relays with the 4x100m relay ranking 18th heading into this week while the 4x400m relay was the final qualifier (24th).

With Chaney earning All-America honors in the 400m hurdles last year, she put herself in position to become only the second Sun Devil woman in program history to earn the national distinction in the intermediate hurdle event more than once in a career, joining Omolade Akinremi, who was an All-American in the event in 1993, 1994 and 1995. If Chaney joins Akinremi on that list, she also will give ASU an All-American in the 400m hurdles in back-to-back years for just the second time in program history after three women combined to be All-Americans four years in a row (1992-95).

Actually, it has been 18 years since an ASU woman has earned All-America honors in the 100m hurdles, dating back to Ime Akpan doing so at the 1993 Championships. Chaney will now look to become the first Sun Devil in program history to earn All-America honors in both hurdle events in the same Championships while also becoming the first Sun Devil to earn at least one All-America honor in both hurdle events in a career. To date, Chaney is one of five women to earn the distinction in the 400m hurdles while three different women earned the honor in the 100m hurdles.

Three Sun Devils heading to the Des Moines this week were long shots to even make the NCAA Championship Finals, but did what they had to do in Eugene two weeks ago to advance. Chris Benard was ranked 16th in the West and 33rd nationally in the triple jump before a season-best leap of 15.75m put him in 10th place in the West and qualified him for the Finals. Cj Navarro entered the women’s hammer ranked 23rd in the West and tied for 45th in nation, but hit a personal-best toss of 58.97m to finish eighth in the West to move on. Based on national rankings, Darius Terry was the biggest long shot as he ranked 52nd overall and was 20th in the West in the 1,500m run, but he ran his races and posted the seventh-fastest qualifying time to reach Des Moines out of the 24 semifinalists.

Now that Terry is in the NCAA Championship Final, he can turn his focus to advancing from the semifinal round and into the finals where he can run for a national title and All-America honors. Looking at the history of the program, there is only one event that has never had a Sun Devil All-American, including both the men’s and women’s events, and that is the men’s 1,500m run in which Terry will compete. The closest ASU has come to an All-American in this event came in the 1969 Championships as Chuck LaBenz earned the national honor while running the outdoor mile, which was eventually replaced by the 1,500m (metric mile).

The last time the NCAA Championships were held in Des Moines was in 2008 with the Sun Devils capturing four individual titles and both teams placing among the Top 6 nationally. For the women, then the defending champions after claiming the 2007 crown, their 63 points put them in second behind LSU’s 67 while the men took sixth with 28 points as Florida State won with 52. Individually, Jacquelyn Johnson won her fourth heptathlon national title in as many tries (and the seventh multi-event national title in her career) while Jessica Pressley won the shot put and Sarah Stevens the discus. The men were led by Kyle Alcorn, who won the steeplechase.

Heading into the NCAA Finals, Anna Jelmini will look to remain perfect on the year in the discus and capture the national title to cap her first year competing for the program. If she is successful, that will give coach David Dumble’s throws group at least one national title earned outdoors in each of the last five seasons. Dating back to Dumble’s first season in Tempe (2002) and including all four throwing events (discus, hammer, javelin, shot put), Dumble’s athletes have collected six national titles outdoors with only Georgia (seven) having won more. Oddly enough, all of ASU’s titles came in the shot put and discus while UGA’s came in the hammer and javelin. If ASU extends it’s streak to five years in a row with at least one throwing title, it will move ahead of UGA for the longest streak in that time (UGA had four in a row from 2007-09). When including the indoor meets since the 2002 season, Dumble’s Sun Devils and Florida have tied for the most titles won (men and women combined) with 11 total with the Sun Devils accumulating all 11 of those in eight-consecutive meets, starting with the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships and going through the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Three members of the program were recently honored as Capital One Academic All-District VIII selections with Ben Engelhardt and Jamie Sandys earning first team accolades for the men and Samantha Henderson being selected second team for the women. Both Engelhardt and Sandys are now eligible to for the distinction of Capital One Academic All-America, which will be announced later this month. This is the second CoSIDA award for Engelhardt, who was a second-team selection in District VIII in 2009, while being the first selections for Sandys and Henderson.

The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) released its list of Academic All-MPSF honorees for the indoor season with 17 Sun Devils earning the distinction, including nine men and eight women. The men’s honorees included Dylan Austin, Ben Engelhardt, Duggan Grant, Nick Happe, John Kline, Daniel Lovell, Jeremy Marcinko, Jamie Sandys and Doug Smith while the women’s recipients included Samantha Henderson, Anna Jelmini, Linda Kuenzi, Ashley Lampley, Catherine Loden, Dominique’ Maloy, Cj Navarro and Kauren Tarver.

At the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships in Tucson two weeks ago, five different Sun Devils captured individual crowns as both teams finished third in their respective team races. For the women, Samantha Henderson won the heptathlon (one week earlier) with a career-best 5,470 points before Jasmine Chaney took the 400m dash in 52.23. In the field, Anna Jelmini won the discus (60.33m/197-11) while Christabel Nettey won the long jump (6.54m/21-05.50). On the men’s side, Jordan Clarke was the lone champion for ASU as he won the shot put (19.05m/62-06.00) after taking second last year.

Two of those women that won Pac-10 titles also won the same event during the indoor season at the MPSF Indoor Championships in Seattle as Jasmine Chaney won the 400m dash (along with the 200m dash) and Christabel Nettey was the long jump champion.

Two of those Pac-10 wins kept streaks going for the Sun Devils with both coming in the throws. Jelmini’s win in the discus gave Arizona State that event title for the fifth year in a row while Clarke’s win in the shot put is ASU’s third in a row. In the discus, the Sun Devils have seen four different women claim the title, including Sarah Stevens (2007, 2009), Jessica Pressley (2008) and Cj Navarro (2010) before Jelmini. That streak of five in a row is one shy of tying the Pac-10 record that is held by UCLA (1990-95) with six in a row. In the shot put, Clarke continued a streak of three in a row that was started by Ryan Whiting winning the past two years. Those three titles give ASU six total since 1960.

In 2008, the Pac-10 coaches decided to honor the top point scorers at the Pac-10 Championships by naming the highest scoring man and highest scoring woman as the Pac-10 Athletes of the Meet. That year, Jacquelyn Johnson and Matt Turner earned the distinction and fellow Sun Devil Sarah Stevens followed with the women’s honor in 2009. This year, for the third time in four years, another Sun Devil woman earned the honor as Jasmine Chaney’s 24.25 points made her the 2011 Pac-10 Women’s Athlete of the Meet. Chaney scored 10 points in the 400m dash, six in the 100m hurdles, five in the 400m hurdles, two as part of the 4x100m relay and 1.25 as part of the 4x400m relay.

Jordan Clarke was the top scorer for the men at the Pac-10 Championships this year as he tallied 20 points in three events. The sophomore won his first Pac-10 title by capturing the shot put (10 points) before finishing second in the discus (eight points. His final two points came on his seventh-place finish in the hammer. The Top 5 scorers for the Sun Devil women this year were Chaney (24.25), Christabel Nettey (18), Samantha Henderson (17), Anna Jelmini (15) and Keia Pinnick (13.25) while Clarke was followed in the men’s Top 5 by Ryan Milus (15), Chris Benard (10), Allante Battle (7.5) and a tie between Bryan McBride and Corey Phallen, both of whom scored six points each.

Eight women’s marks and three men’s marks recorded at the Pac-10 Championships two weeks found a place on the school’s all-time Top 10 list, including three each by Jasmine Chaney and Kayla Sanchez. Both women, along with freshmen Asia Gooden and Alycia Herring, combined to run 44.28 in the 4x100m relay and post the seventh-best time in ASU history. Chaney also ran 13.15 in the 100m hurdles (fourth) and 52.23 (fifth) in the 400m dash while Sanchez ran 11.52 in the 100m dash (10th) and 57.70 in the 400m hurdles (sixth). In the field, Christabel Nettey moved up on the long jump and triple jump lists as she is now second in the long jump at 6.49m (21-03.50) and third in the triple jump at 12.52m (41-01.00). She had a better mark in the long jump (6.54m), but it was wind-aided and can’t be counted for records. Samantha Henderson cleared a personal-best bar twice in the high jump and ended up at 1.80m (5-10.75), which ranks her sixth all-time. On the men’s side, Ryan Milus ran 10.23 in the preliminary round of the 100m dash to post the fourth-best time in ASU history while Bryan McBride moved up to 10th in the high jump with a clearance of 2.17m (7-01.50). In the throws, Marc Peck hit a mark of 67.20m (220-05) to move into seventh in the javelin.

In the horizontal jumps on the women’s all-time Top 10 lists, four Sun Devils have etched their names onto those lists in both the long jump and the triple jump and current sophomore Christabel Nettey is one of them. What is remarkable is that she is the only one of those four women in the Top 3 in both events as she stands second in the long jump (6.49m) and third in the triple jump (12.52m). What is even more remarkable is that she has only competed in the triple jump three times this season, which are the only three times in her athletics career as well. Only one other woman is in the Top 4 in both events and that is Valerie Williams, who stands fourth in the long jump (6.46m) and is the record holder in the triple jump (12.84m).

Over the past two years, the Pac-10 has seen the versatility possessed by Jasmine Chaney as she competed in the 100m dash, 100m hurdles, 200m dash, 400m dash, 400m hurdles and both relays. Looking at the Arizona State Top 10 list, it is no surprise to see Chaney’s name all over the individual sprint lists as she has etched her name in the Top 10 of the 100m hurdles, the 200m dash, the 400m dash and the 400m hurdles. She is No. 4 in both hurdle events with times of 13.15 and 56.61 and fifth in the 400m dash, all three of which were recorded this season, while sitting 10th in the 200m dash (23.44). Her times in the 100m hurdles and 400m dash came two weeks ago at the Pac-10 Championships.

Hailing from Alaska, Jordan Clarke’s journey to Arizona is certainly one with lots of distance. Upon arriving in Tempe, his throwing skills have also equated into long distances as he is the only man in Sun Devil history (and one of four athletes overall) that hold marks in all three weight events that rank in the Arizona State all-time Top 10. He currently stands fifth in the hammer (62.00m/203-05), eighth in the shot put (19.32m/63-04.75) and 10th in the discus (56.66m/185-11) with all three marks recorded this season. The other three to hold this distinction are current Sun Devil Anna Jelmini (third in shot at 17.24m (56-05.25), third in discus at 60.49m (198-05) and ninth in hammer at 54.52m (178-10)) and former ASU NCAA champions Jessica Pressley (first in shot, sixth in discus, first in hammer) and Sarah Stevens (second in shot, fourth in discus, second in hammer).

Heading into this weekend’s action, Anna Jelmini remains as the NCAA leader in the discus as she threw 60.54m at the UCSD Triton Invitational. She is one of seven individual Sun Devils that currently have marks ranking them in the national Top 10 this week.

Three men and three women that once competed for the Sun Devil program remain in the Top 20 in the world this week, including two in the Top 10. For the men, Ryan Whiting leads the way as he stands seventh in the shot put at 21.23m. Both Kyle Alcorn in the steeplechase (8:23.27) and Dwight Phillips in the long jump (8.07m) are currently ranked 19th. For the women, Desiree Davila remains sixth in the marathon (2:22:38) while Lisa Aguilera is 14th in the steeplechase (9:43.95) and Charonda Williams is 20th in the 200m dash (22.85).

Three current Sun Devil rookies are on the World Junior Top 20 list with William Henry leading the way as he stands seventh in the 400m dash with his time of 46.27 from the Pac-10 Championships. On the women’s side, Shaylah Simpson is 19th in the pole vault with her clearance of 4.02m while Alycia Herring stands 14th in the long jump with her mark of 6.25m. All three are eligible to compete in the USATF Junior Championships for a spot on Team USA for the Pan Am Junior Championships that will take place in August.

As the USATF Championships draw closer, two Sun Devil women already hold ‘A’ standard qualifying marks while three women and eight men have met the ‘B’ standard for the meet in Eugene in late June. Jasmine Chaney and Anna Jelmini hold ‘A’ standards in the 400m dash (52.23) and discus (60.49m), respectively, while both also hold ‘B’ standards in other events: Chaney in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles and Jelmini in the shot put. Kayla Sanchez holds a ‘B’ in the 400m hurdles while Keia Pinnick is 0.02 off the needed time for a ‘B’ qualifier in the same event. On the men’s side, the following current Sun Devils all have met the ‘B’ standard: Ryan Milus (100m), William Henry (400m), Kelsey Caesar (400m), Mason McHenry (800m), Darius Terry (1,500m), Bryan McBride (high jump), Chris Benard (triple jump) and Jordan Clarke (shot).

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 NCAA Championship Finals concludes the 2011 collegiate season. The Sun Devils will be back in action in September with the start of the cross country season before the indoor track and field season gets underway in January and the outdoor season in March.