Sun Devils punch NCAA ticket on final day in Austin

The Arizona State University track and field team wrapped up competition at the 2012 NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, Texas, on Saturday as three more student-athletes and three relays punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa in two weeks.

With the final day, the ASU men and women brought their combined total to 15 entries to the NCAA Championships, the majority of which coming from the team’s exceptional field events.

Derick Hinch was one of those but made sure to keep everyone on the edge of their seats in the men’s pole vault competition to open the day at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Saturday.  The sophomore found himself tied with Ethan Ostrom of UC Davis for the 12th and final qualifying spot after the preliminary round, forcing a decisive jump-off.

The two vaulters exchanged misses as each came up short on their first attempts at 5.40m (17-08.50), 5.35m (17-06.50) and 5.30m (17-04.5), forcing the bar down to 5.25m (17-02.75).  There, each athlete cleared for the first time in the jump-off to move the bar back to 5.30m.  With each vaulter starting down the runway almost simultaneously, Hinch cleared his attempt at the height seconds before Ostrom missed his to give Hinch a ticket to his first-ever NCAA Championship.

Continuing in the vertical jumps, Bryan McBride was solid though the first couple jumps in the men’s high jump and finished the day in third overall to advance to his first NCAA Championship final.   McBride had a couple misses over the course of the day but was one of just five student-athletes to clear the bar at 2.20m (7-02.50) to easily advance in the event. McBride is one of ASU’s top local products, coming out of Peoria, Ariz., and competing during his prep career at Sandra Day O’Connor HS.

The women’s 4x100-meter relay was the first running event of the weekend to punch a ticket to Des Moines as the squad of Asiah Gooden, Keia Pinnick, Alycia Herring and Kayla Sanchez took fourth in their heat of the quarterfinals in 44.84 – the 10th fastest time of the preliminary round – to advance to the semifinals in Iowa.

Pinnick, Herring and Sanchez would all come back to team with Brianna Tate in the 4x400-meter relay to wrap up the night and qualify the second relay of the evening.  The team finished fourth in their heat and was 10th overall in 3:35.30 to advance to fight another weekend.

Pinnick also will earn a qualification in the women’s heptathlon - even though that event was not contested this weekend - as she has one of the top-10 scores nationally in the event this season.

ASU’s lone individual qualifier to advance out of the running events in Austin was junior Chris Burrows.  Burrows clocked a time of 20.54 – slightly wind-aided – in the 200-meter dash to take second in his heat and fourth overall in the quarterfinals and move on his first NCAA berth.

Burrows recovered to leadoff the men’s 4x400-meter relay less than two hours later and helped guide the team to a berth of their own as they took second in their heat in 3:05.17 – the fifth-fastest overall time - to automatically advance to the semifinals in Iowa.

The Sun Devils will now turn their sights to Des Moines, Iowa, and the NCAA Championships with events slated to begin on June 6 and continue through June 9.  Be sure to follow along at for continued coverage of the ASU track and field team in the weeks leading to the big event.

NCAA Championship Qualifiers for Arizona State


Jordan Clarke (shot put)

Jordan Clarke (hammer)

Chris Benard (long jump)

Chris Benard (triple jump)

Derick Hinch (pole vault)

Bryan McBride (high jump)

Chris Burrows (200m)

4x400m Relay (C. Burrows, J. Kline. K. Caesar, W. Henry)

Christabel Nettey (long jump)

Constance Ezugha (long jump)

Anna Jelmini (shot put)

Anna Jelmini (discus)

4x100m Relay (A. Gooden, K. Pinnick, A. Herring, K. Sanchez)

4x400m Relay (K. Sanchez, A. Herring, B. Tate, K. Pinnick)

Keia Pinnick (heptathlon)