Track & field continues home slate with ASU Invite
The Arizona State University track and field team will host its second consecutive home meet this season in the ASU Invitational, set the take place on Saturday, March 24 at the Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. While the outdoor season technically started last weekend, some might view this competition as the true season opener with a number of the Sun Devils prime contenders opening the season in their strongest events. The team will welcome competitors from Kansas State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Air Force, Iowa State, Northern Arizona, CSU Los Angeles and Western State in addition to a number of strong post-collegiate competitors for what should prove to be a solid early-season meet across the board. The men's hammer will open the event on Friday, March 23 at 1 p.m. PT and the remainder of the events will take place on Saturday starting with the women's discus at 11 a.m. PT. The running events will commence at approximately 5:15 p.m. PT.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS
• The Sun Devil men are coming off a trophy-earning fourth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boise earlier in March. The men saw two national champions crowned in Jordan Clarke in the shot put and Mason McHenry at 800 meters while Chris Benard (triple jump) and Bryan McBride (high jump) both earned first team All-America honors.
• Head coach Greg Kraft is in his 16th season at Arizona State, the third longest tenure of any of ASU's current sports coaches.
• For those into competitive sibling rivalries, be sure to check out the women's 1,500-meter run this weekend as ASU freshman phenom Shelby Houlihan will take on her sister Shayla, a post-collegiate competitive runner for Brooks.
• Jordan Clarke is the NCAA"s returning shot put champion outdoors and will be the returning champion when the team reaches the 2013 indoor season as well after his performance in Boise earlier this year.
IN THE RANKINGS: USTFCCCA TOP 25
The USTFCCCA released its preseason computer rankings on Thursday and both the Sun Devil men and women find themselves ranked in the top-20 nationally heading into the bulk of the outdoor season. The men, fresh of a fourth-place finish at the NCAA indoor meet, will open the season at No. 20 in the country while the women sit at No. 17. The preseason rankings take data from the previous season and use a series of mathematical formulae to determine the team with the most potential to do well at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. As the season goes on, results from the current season will be taken into account until later in the year when ONLY mark from the current season will count towards the computer rankings.
IN THE RANKINGS: USTFCCCA WEST REGION
The USTFCCCA will release its 2012 regional rankings within the next two weeks.
Due to insufficient Internet connection at the track there will be no live results from Saturday's competition. However, the ASU media relations staff will provide a live blog available to all that will serve as `live coverage' in its stead. The blog will begin around 4:15 p.m. PT on Saturday and can be found at the following link: http://www.thesundevils.com/sports/c-track/spec-rel/031712aaa.html
A LOOK BACK: 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships
The Arizona State track and field team had just one first-team All-American at last year's NCAA Championships in Anna Jelmini, who took fifth in the shot put last season. Jasmine Cheney (200m) and the 4x400-meter relay of Sarah Geren, Keia Pinnick, Kayla Sanchez and Cheney all earned second-team honors for the women. On the men's side, the team did not score and Jordan Clarke was the only individual in action, finishing ninth overall in the shot put and earning second-team All-America honors.
THROWING THEIR WEIGHT
Over the past 10 years, David Dumble has continued to bring in top talent and build the throws program at Arizona State, which has collected 13 total national titles, including the shiny new trophy earned by Jordan Clarke at the NCAA Indoor Championships just two weeks ago. With Clarke the defending indoor AND outdoor national champion and Anna Jelmini the top returning discus thrower in the nation, the ASU throws team looks to continue their perennial dominance of the event into the outdoor season.
Christabel Nettey looked up to snuff with her outdoor long jumping self that earned first-team All-America honors last season as she soared 6.58m (21-07.25) in the team's season opener at the Baldy Castillo Invitational for a new career best and improved her second-place hold on ASU's all-time list in the event.
RUNNING RELAY FAST
The ASU relay teams wasted no time making their presence known at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. The men's 4x100-meter team of Daniel Auberry, Kelsey Caesar, Justin Freeman and Chris Burrows clocked a season-opening time of 40.05 without Ryan Milus before Caesar and Burrows teamed with John Kline and Will Henry to clock the second-quickest 4x400-meter relay of the early season in 3:05. 29. The women's 4x400-meter relay also opened strong as Kayla Sanchez, Alycia Herring, Keia Pinnick and Brianna Tate teamed up to post a time of 3:38.48 for another top-10 mark nationally.