Track & field opens outdoor season at home

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The Arizona State University track and field program will set to the Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium this weekend to play host to the Baldy Castillo Invitational on Friday and Saturday. After a strong finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships last weekend, the Sun Devils are now working toward preparations for the Pac-12 and NCAA Outdoor Championships to be held in May and June, respectively.

Last weekend, eight Sun Devils competed in the NCAA indoor meet with the men finishing in fourth place overall. Mason McHenry and Jordan Clarke led the way for ASU in Nampa, Idaho as both earned national titles in the 800-meter run and shot put, respectively.

McHenry and Clarke were ranked eighth going into a meet that marked the second time in Arizona State’s indoor history that two Sun Devils have won their event in the same year.   McHenry posted a facility-best time of 1:47.87 in the prelims to send him on his way into the finals and into first place.

Clarke’s 20.86m (65-05.25) toss on his final throw of the competition not only won him the title but also destroyed his prior career-best mark by over a meter. The title was Clarke’s second NCAA title after winning the 2011 NCAA Outdoor shot put event.

Senior triple jumper Chris Benard also had a hand in the men’s fourth place finish with his career-record jump of 16.50m (54-01.75) to finish second and post a new school record along the way.

Sophomore high-jumper Bryan McBride finished sixth to aide the team to the finish. On the women’s side, sophomore Anna Jelmini had a new career-best throw indoors in the shot put of 17.15m (56-03.25) to place fifth overall at the competition and earn her second consecutive first-team All-America award.

The USTFCCCA announced its list of student-athletes that earned All-America honors following their appearances at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships with five Sun Devils earning First Team honors and three earning Second Team honors. On the men’s side, McHenry, Clarke, Benard and McBride received First Team honors while Nick Happe (mile) and Ryan Milus (60m) received Second-Team honors. For the women, Anna Jelmini was the first-team honoree for the Sun Devils while Christabel Nettey earned second-team in the long jump.

With the indoor season finally coming to a close, the Sun Devils head into this weekend with a different mindset. This weekend the Sun Devils will switch their focus to the outdoor season as several teams and individuals will visit at Sun Angel Stadium on Friday and Saturday for the Baldy Castillo Invitational.

The first event of the outdoor season is the first of four home meets this year and the first of two in a row (ASU Invitational next weekend in Tempe). Schools that will be represented with at least one athlete in the meet include: ASU, Texas A&M, UC Riverside, Manhattan, Mesa CC, Scottsdale CC and Glendale CC.

On Friday, the men’s hammer will open the competition starting a 2 p.m. MST with the women’s hammer following afterwards.  This season will also see a couple other changes to the Friday schedule as there will be a couple running events, beginning with the men’s 2,000-meter steeplechase at 6:30 p.m. MST, followed by the men’s and women’s 1,500-meter runs.

Events will resume on Saturday, March 17, with the women’s pole vault beginning at 10:30 a.m. to start the field events while the running events will commence at 1 p.m.

Next weekend, the Sun Devils will play host to the ASU Invitational on March 23-24, holding a similar schedule to this weekend’s event in Tempe.