Feb. 22, 2013
SEATTLE, Wash. – A solid first day of competition has both the Arizona State University No. 8 women’s and No. 13 men’s track and field teams eyeing a potential sweep of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships, set to conclude tomorrow in Seattle, Wash.
The Sun Devil men lead the pack through six of 17 events following the first day at the Dempsey Indoor Facility with 55.50 points while the women are within shouting distance as their 41 first day points are just 4.5 points behind the leader, UCLA, after seven events.
Competing without standout Keia Pinnick, the women did their part to make up for her absence, scoring two conference titles on the first day on the heels of Christabel Nettey.
Cassulo opened up the competition with a bang, winning the first event of the meet with her throw of 20.76m (68-01.50) in the weight toss to edge Oregon’s Jillian Weir and continue her impressive unbeaten streak, now up to six straight in the event.
Nettey did what she has proven she does best all season – jump far and run fast. Nettey claimed her second career MPSF crown in the long jump with a leap of 6.49m (21-03.50). It was the second-best indoor jump ever for the senior, who earlier in the evening clocked the second-fastest time in the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles in 8.38 to advance to tomorrow’s final.
Constance Ezugha added some much-needed points in the long jump as well with her third-place finish with a mark of 5.98m (19-07.50).
In the women’s sprints, Asiah Gooden advanced to tomorrow’s final in the 60-meter dash with her heat-winning time of 7.46 – the fourth-quickest run of the opening round.
Gooden would go on to score five points for the Sun Devils with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter dash in 24.28 and just edging teammate Brianna Tate who was fifth in 24.32 to round out the first day of scoring for the ASU women.
On the men’s side, senior Jordan Clarke made it a sweep of the weight throw for the Sun Devils. Competing in the event for the first time this season, Clarke launched his fifth throw 19.96m (65-06.00) for a new career best and the fourth best throw in ASU history to claim the crown.
Not far behind Clarke was senior Joe Riccio who finished third with a career best of his own and a mark of 19.23m (63-01.25) to put ASU on the board early with 16 points. Riccio’s mark was the fifth-best throw in ASU history.
A series of runner-up finishes for the men helped ASU stack up the points on the opening day , beginning with a solid showing in the men’s 200-meter dash.
Will Henry clocked a time of 21.58 for the second-place finish ahead of teammate Chris Burrows, whose time of 21.60 was good for third.
Devan Spann did his part as well, scoring a sixth-place finish in 21.71 to give ASU 17 points in the event. Spann would also go on to join teammate Ryan Milus in the finals of tomorrow’s 60-meter dash with Milus clocked the third-quickest time of the prelims in 6.79 with Spann advancing with his sixth-fastest time of 6.81.
In the men’s long jump, senior Chris Benard nearly matched his career indoor best with a leap of 7.63m (25-00.30) to take second in that event and potentially a spot in the NCAA Championships as the mark tentatively ranks 12th in the nation.
Junior Bryan McBride also just missed his career best but his leap of 7.35m (24-01.50) was good enough for three points and a sixth-place finish.
Following the trend of runner-up finishes was Derick Hinch in the pole vault, who had a best clearance on the day of 5.28m (17-03.75) for the second-place finish.
Dylan Austin nabbed the first points of his Sun Devil career in the event as well with his best leap on the day of 4.98m (16-04.00) to finish in a tie for seventh.
Also scoring for the Sun Devils on Friday was Zach Zarda in the men’s 5,000-meter run. Despite falling early in the race, Zarda climbed back for a seventh-place finish in 14:06.14. While just missing on scoring, freshman Ryan Herson was tenth overall in the race with a huge 18-second personal record to finish in 14:17.59.
The final day of the competition will get underway tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. PT. Live coverage of the events can be found by following this link.