March 24, 2013
TEMPE -- A day removed from Chelsea Cassulo’s school record-setting hammer throw performance, the Arizona State University track and field team posted a solid day of competition at another early season meet as the squad wrapped up competition at the ASU Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.
The Sun Devils – ranked No. 8 on the women’s side and No. 15 on the men’s - won 10 events on the weekend following Cassulo’s and Jordan Clarke’s sweep of the hammer throw events yesterday.
Shelby Houlihan laid down the hammer over the final 300 meters of the 800-meter run and held off former Florida State standout Violah Lagat down the stretch to win her season opener in a blistering 2:04.38. A little over half a second shy of her career best, the time gave Houlihan the nation’s top mark two weeks into the outdoor season.
Senior Keia Pinnick took part in a typically Keia Pinnick sort of meet, which involves competing in several events and doing well in all of them. Pinnick opened up the running events on Saturday with a victory in the women’s 100-meter hurdles in 13.41, which was under a tenth of a second shy of her career-best in the event.
Pinnick led teammate Christabel Nettey across the line for a Sun Devil sweep with the All-American long jumper clocking her fastest time in the hurdles since her freshman year with a runner-up 13.41.
Pinnick would bounce back later in the competition to set a new career-best in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing second overall by just five-thousandths of a second to Iowa State’s Eseroghene Okoro in a runner-up time of 57.89.
Alycia Herring was also pulling off a busy day on Saturday, taking third overall in the women’s 400-meter dash in a career-best time of 55.89 while winning the women’s long jump with a best leap on the day of 5.93m (19-05.50) and her best jump since her freshman year.
Also in the sprints, Brianna Tate ran a career outdoor best of 24.28 to finish third overall in the women’s 200-meter dash and as the fastest collegian.
Tate, Herring and Houlihan would all team up with Sarah Geren in the women’s 4x400-meter relay in what would prove to be a race against the clock as the team cruised to the victory in 3:37.87.
In the field events, Alex Hartig set a new personal record in the women’s discus with a throw of 50.98m (167-03) to finish fifth overall before taking third in the javelin with a throw of 42.46m (139-04).
On the men’s side of things, sophomore Devan Spann showed glimpses of why he will be a coveted addition to the men’s sprints team after winning the 100-meter dash in a career-best 10.61 to set up a third-place finish in the men’s 200-meter dash in 21.37 – both run into a slight headwind.
Spann didn’t stop there either, running the second leg of the men’s 4x400-meter dash alongside teammates Trae Armstrong and Darryl Morales that ended with a dramatic comeback for the Sun Devils as Henry ran down Kansas State’s Jack Chris Campbell at the wire for a Sun Devil victory. ASU would have won anyway, as the Wildcat team was disqualified, but it provided an exciting end to the competition with Henry edging his foe by about less than a tenth of a second to give ASU a sweep in the relays.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Herson left the field behind in his first career 5,000-meter run in a Sun Devil uniform outdoors as he single-handedly clocked a new career-best time of 14:02.92 for his first career win. Herson was 22 seconds ahead of his nearest competition and currently finds himself with the second-fastest time in the nation in the early-goings of the season.
In the men’s pole vault, senior Dylan Austin scored a career outdoor-best clearance of 5.16m (16-11.00) to finish fourth overall and posting the 10th-best leap in Sun Devil history in the process.
Senior Joe Riccio had a new career best in the men’s shot put as well with a throw of 17.85m (58-06.75) to finish second overall in that event.
Chris Burrows also picked up a ‘W’ for the men’s side, winning the 400-meter dash for the second consecutive week in 47.94.
The Sun Devils will now take a bye week before one of the biggest weekends of the season, which will feature the 34th Annual Sun Angel Classic at home as well as big competition at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto and the Jim Click Combined Events down in Tucson.