March 8, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arizona State University track and field senior Jordan Clarke took one step closer to history on Friday, winning his fourth consecutive NCAA shot put championship at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
Despite not being entirely one hundred percent following a minor hand injury suffered early this season, Clarke dominating his competition at the Randal Tyson Track Center with a winning mark of 20.50m (67-03.25) that was just shy of his season's best in the event. The mark was well over a foot better than his closest competition, Kole Weldon of Texas Tech.
With the victory, Clarke has now won four straight NCAA titles in the shot put event, winning the 2011 outdoor championship, sweeping the 2012 indoor and outdoor titles before winning on Friday. Clarke now has a chance to make history, as a win at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championship would make Clarke just the second person in NCAA history to win five consecutive shot put titles. Kansas' Karl Salb accomplished the feat across the 1969-70-71 seasons, winning six straight.
Clarke's victory was notable on a grander scheme as well, as Arizona State has now won nine of the last 11 total shot put championships (indoors and outdoors) that have been contested with Ryan Whiting having one five of his own before passing the torch to Clarke - all coming under the tutelage of throws coach David Dumble.
In the women's long jump, senior Christabel Nettey set a new career-best with a leap of 6.55m (21-06.00) in a runner-up finish - her best ever at an NCAA Championships.
Oddly enough, Nettey's leap was equivalent to the winning mark, which was shared by Kansas' Andrea Geubelle. However, in the event of a tie, the tiebreak goes to the next best jump where Geubelle held the advantage with a second-best jump of 6.53m (21-05.25) to Nettey's 6.44m (21-01.50).
Nonetheless, Nettey became a first-team All-American indoors for the first time in her career while also extending her school record indoors in the event while also earning eight valuable points toward the team standings.
In the men's pole vault, junior Derick Hinch was part of an absolutely cutthroat competition but would take sixth overall as he matched his career best with a clearance of 5.50m (18-00.50). Hinch entered the competition as the 10th-seed but steadily remained alive while others fizzled to earn his first All-American honor indoors.
The finish matched Hinch's second-place mark in the ASU record books and gave ASU three points that they didn't originally have on paper heading into the meet.
Early in the day, Chelsea Cassulo posted an impressive fourth-place finish in the women's weight throw - despite coming into the day ranked 14th in the field in the category.
Cassulo had two career-bests in the event with a best mark on the day of 21.23m (69-08.00). It was the third-best mark in ASU history in the event and Cassulo's first indoor All-American honor.
The heartbreak of the day came in the women's 800-meter prelim finals. Shelby Houlihan, who entered the meet with the seventh-fastest time in the country, found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time as a tumble in front of her left her with no place to go with 400 meters left.
After hitting the track, Houlihan promptly got back up and ran down several competitors on her way to a fifth-place finish in the heat in 2:07.26. The time was 12th overall and did not advance her on time. An official protest was filed but not accepted. Houlihan will earn second-team All-American honors, nonetheless.
Following the first day of competition the Sun Devil men sit fifth overall with 13 points while the women are third with 13 points as well. The Sun Devil men will have Chris Benard (triple jump), Bryan McBride (long jump) and Nick Happe (3,000m) in action tomorrow while the women will look to Anna Jelmini (shot put), Keia Pinnick (pentathlon) and the 4x400-meter relay to round out the scoring for the squad. For live coverage of the event, feel free to follow along at: /ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30300&ATCLID=207815331