Sun Devil track and field scores big in MPSF postseason award haul
With just four conference awards available each year for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor campaign, winning just one is quite the achievement. But that's not enough for the Arizona State University track and field teams.
The Sun Devils swept the Athlete of the Meet honors while head coach Greg Kraft was named the Men's Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season as Arizona State took home three of the four year-end honors, the MPSF announced March 1.
All-American senior Christabel Nettey scored more points than any other student-athlete at the 2013 MPSF Championships, winning all three events she entered. Nettey swept the crowns in the long jump, triple jump and 60-meter hurdles en route to 30 towards towards the Sun Devils' second-place overall total of 96.
Nettey set personal records in the triple jump with a mark of 12.42m (40-09.50) and the 60-meter hurdles 8.25, with the latter currently ranking 18th in the nation in addition to her hold on third place in the nation in the long jump with her school record mark of 6.54m (21-05.50) set earlier this season.
Nettey is the first Sun Devil women's student-athlete to be named the Female Athlete of the Meet since Sarah Stevens earned the honor in 2009.
On the men's side, fellow senior Jordan Clarke earned the Men's Athlete of the Meet honor following a sweep of the shot put and weight throw events.
The nation's leader in the shot put, Clarke scored 20 points towards the men's 125.5 points as the men successfully defending their MPSF title.
Clarke set a new lifetime best in the weight throw with a mark of 19.96m (65-06.00), which was the third best mark in ASU history and his first title in the event - notable as it was the first time Clarke threw the implement in competition all season.
His winning shot put throw of 20.03m (65-08.75) was over four feet better than any competitor and marked his third winning throw of the season by over 20 meters. Only three other NCAA athletes have hit the mark, all doing so just once.
Clarke is the first Sun Devil to earn the Male Athlete of the Meet honors since Ryan Whiting did it in 2008.
Head coach Greg Kraft, now in his 17th season at the helm of the program, directed the Sun Devil men to a repeat of the MPSF Indoor Championship. The team defended its crown with 125.5 points - 23.5 more than runner-up Oregon.
For Kraft, it was the fourth time in his career that he has earned an MPSF Coach of the Year award and the second straight season he has done so on the men's side. Kraft earned the honor with the ASU women in 2007 and 2008.
While Kraft earned this honor for the men's side, it should also be noted that he is the events coach for the jumping events and led Nettey to her sweep of the horizontal jumps as well as Benard's second conference crown in the triple jump.
The Sun Devils will have select members compete in Last Chance Meets this weekend before returning to action next week at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.