June 5, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - Arizona State University track and field senior>Chelsea Cassulo won the national title in the hammer throw on Wednesday as the Sun Devils finished up the first day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
It was a tearful and joyous end to Cassulo’s career as she overcame five sub-par rounds of throws before sending the hammer 69.12m (226-09) on her final attempt of the day for a dramatic come-from-behind victory at Hayward Field.
Cassulo trailed for the majority of the final rounds of throws as her day's best of 67.35m leading into the sixth and final round of throws was only good for third place. Cassulo had never trailed in any of her primary meets this outdoor season in and needed to dig deep to surpass Illinois State's Brittany Smith's best throw of the day of 68.51m (224-09).
The national leader and favorite in the event did what national champions do, however, and came through in a clutch situation to give ASU it’s first-ever NCAA champion in the women's hammer throw. Additionally, Cassulo’s victory marked the first individual NCAA title for the Sun Devil women since the 2008 national championships.
On the year, Cassulo set the school record with a mark of 70.07m (229-11) at the NCAA West Prelims, a throw that ranks Cassulo as the sixth-best collegiate performer of all time. Cassulo’s victory gave throws coach David Dumble his 16th NCAA champion in the throwing events.
Jordan Clarke wrapped up his illustrious Sun Devil career with a runner-up finish in the men’s shot put with a best throw of 20.28m (66-06.50) and was just three centimeters out of a fifth NCAA title.
Clarke, who has battled injuries all season, posted four throws over 20 meters on the day compared to the one legal throw by Texas’ Ryan Crouser, but couldn’t quite get over the hump.
Clarke concludes his career as a four-time NCAA Champion and an eight-time All-American in one of the most decorated tenures by a Sun Devil in any sport. Clarke won three Pac-12 titles during his stead, becoming the first to do so since John Godina back in the 1990s. He also finishes as the school’s second-ranked indoor shot putter in history and the No. 3 outdoor shot putter.
The Sun Devil men’s 4x100-meter relay narrowly missed advancing to Saturday’s final as the team finished ninth overall in 39.44 and were the first team that did not advance into the final The squad of Devan Spann, Will Henry, Chris Burrows and Ryan Milus will earn second-team All-America honors.
Milus would go on to run a seasonal best in all conditions with a wind-aided 10.14 in the prelims of the 100-meter dash that was good for 11th-place overall. He did not advance to the final, but did earn second-team All-America honors with the result.
Christabel Nettey took 13th overall in the women’s long jump with a best leap of 6.24m (20-05.75) as she struggled to find the board in the competition. She did not advance to the final but will earn second-team All-America recognition as well.
The Sun Devils return to action tomorrow with the women’s heptathlon getting underway at 1 p.m. PT featuring Keia Pinnick. The day also features Anna Jelmini in the women’s discus, Shelby Houlihan in the 1,500-meter prelims, Cameron Taylor in the men’s 110-meter hurdle prelims and the women’s 4x400-meter relay.
WEDNESDAY SUN DEVIL NCAA RESULTS
Chelsea Cassulo (Hammer) – NCAA CHAMPION – 69.12m (226-09)
Jordan Clarke (Shot Put) – Second – 20.28m (66-06.50)
4x100m Relay (Spann, Henry, Burrows, Milus) – Ninth – 39.44
Ryan Milus(100m) – 11th – 10.14
Christabel Nettey (Long Jump) – 13th – 6.24m (20-05.75)