Sun Devils add 3 All-Americans
The Arizona State University men got on the scoreboard and the ASU women added another All-American as the Sun Devils finished up the third day of competition at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
The first Arizona State men’s points of the weekend came from perhaps the most unlikeliest of sources as sophomore Derick Hinch took third in the pole vault, matching his career-best with a clearance of 5.50m (18-00.50).
Hinch, who needed a jump-off just to earn the 12th and final NCAA qualifying spot at the NCAA West Prelims, struggled at his opening height of 5.15m (16-10.75) and needed a third-attempt clearance just to avoid a no-height in the competition. Hinch found that jump in him though and proceeded to heat up from there.
Hinch would post second-attempt clearances at 5.30m (17-04.50), 5.40m (17-08.50) and 5.50m as the competition around him continued to dwindle. A series of misses and passes from the few remaining at the 5.50m handed Hinch the third-place finish and his first All-America award of his career.
The finish gave Arizona State its first pole vault All-American since 1994, a remarkable feat for the junior college transfer out of Cuesta College in California that might earn the sophomore a few more votes in the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year competition.
Junior Keia Pinnick earned the first USTFCCCA first-team All-America honor of her career on Friday as she took home a fifth-place finish in the women’s pentathlon.
Pinnick opened the day with a leap of 5.91m (19-04.75) in the long jump to improve from eighth to sixth in the competition before a throw of 33.33m (109-04) in the javelin dropped her back to eighth heading into the final event.
In the 800-meter run, however, Pinnick smoked the field on her way to a time of 2:09.29 and scored 975 points in the process to jump up to fifth place and her best finish at an NCAA meet in her career. The 800m time was just off the NCAA heptathlon record and broke her own school heptathlon 800m record in the process.
Senior Chris Benard finished out his Sun Devil career on Friday with a first-team All-American finish in the triple jump, overcoming a rough start to hit 16.36m (53-08.25) and take seventh overall and earn two points towards the Sun Devil cause.
The heartbreak of the day came in the men’s hammer throw, as junior Jordan Clarke launched his third throw of the preliminary round 63.67m (208-10) to move into eighth place with only the top nine advancing to finals. Two clutch throws by his competition would bump him down to 10th, however, and he was the first one out of finals. Clarke did, however, earn second-team All-America accolades with the finish.
Anna Jelmini was the final competitor in action on Friday, taking 18th place in the women’s shot put with a mark of 15.94m (52-03.75) to earn All-America honorable mention.
The ASU women head into the final day of competition in 11th place with 13 points but have no competitors in action tomorrow. The Sun Devil men are currently in 26th place with eight points and one competitor in action.
The Sun Devils will round out competition at the NCAA Championships on Saturday at Drake Stadium as Clarke will be the lone individual in action, seeking to defend his NCAA shot put title.