May 22, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - The Arizona State University men’s and No. 9 women’s track and field team will open up the first rounds of NCAA Championships this weekend as the squad heads to Austin, Texas, for the NCAA West Preliminaries at Mike A. Myers Stadium. The Sun Devils will be in action beginning Thursday, May 23 and continuing through Saturday, May 25 with events running over the course of the day on all three days. The NCAA Preliminaries are, in essence, the qualifying or advancement rounds for the NCAA Championships, which are set to take place in Eugene, Ore., beginning June 5.
The top 48 student-athletes per event per region (East and West) advance to the NCAA Preliminaries where the fields will face off in an elimination format until only 12 student-athletes per event in each region are remaining. Those 24 final student -athletes will converge in Eugene for the NCAA Finals. The lone exception to the rule is the relay events, where only the top 24 relays per region have advanced to the preliminaries with 12 eventually advancing to the finals.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS
• The ASU women finished in the top 10 at the indoor championships for the first time since 2009 while the men posted a top-25 finish for the eighth time in the last 10 years
• The Arizona State women currently have three student-athletes ranked No. 1 in the country in their respective events: Christabel Nettey (long jump), Anna Jelmini (discus) and Chelsea Cassulo (hammer)
• Two of ASU’s longest-standing school records were dropped this past season at the Sun Angel Classic, with Christabel Nettey knocking off Jacinta Bartholomew’s 24-year old school record in the long jump and Shelby Houlihan taking the reins in the 1,500-meter run after unseeding Priscilla Hein’s 14-year old record as well.
• Chelsea Cassulo set the NCAA Dual Meet hammer throw record with her winning mark of 69.52m (228-01) at the Double Dual. She set the eighth-best throw in NCAA history earlier this season
• Cassulo, Nettey and Ryan Herson (5k) have all been named Pac-12 Athletes of the Week with their performances this season
• In finishing third overall, the ASU women have been in the top-three at the conference championships in eight of the last nine seasons (since 2005). No other school can lay such a claim.
• On the men’s side following the team’s fourth-place at the Pac-12 Championships, the Sun Devils have been a top-four team in 11 of the last 14 seasons (since 2000). Only USC and Oregon (both 12 of 14) have a better track record in that time.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
The meet will also be streamed live via CBSSports.com all three days. Links to the live stream will be available on TexasSports.com. Live results will be available through http://www.texassports.com/livestats/c-track/. Additionally, the Sun Devil media relations staff will be maintaining a running live blog through the entirety of the weekend’s competition that will be available on the Track and Field page at www.TheSunDevils.com beginning Thursday morning.
A LOOK BACK: Pac-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
The No. 9 Arizona State University women’s track and field team finished third overall at the 2013 Pac-12 Track and Field Championships in Los Angeles while the men took fourth overall with 94 points and were just 4.5 points out of third. The women scored 110.33 points and were just 13 points out of second. ASU won seven individual championships and one relay title over the course of the competition. Only Oregon had more titles over the course of the weekend. Keia Pinnick was named the Pac-12 Women’s Athlete of the Meet while Nick Happe was named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year for Men’s Track and Field. A complete list of milestones completed on the weekend can be found here: http://pitchforkposts.tumblr.com/post/50525354446/what-a-weekend-asu-t-f-pac-12-championship-recap
LOOKING FURTHER BACK - 2013 NCAA WEST PRELIMS
The Sun Devil contingent qualified 15 entries toward the NCAA Finals at the NCAA West Prelims in Austin, Texas last year.(Jordan Clarke (hammer/shot put), Chris Benard (long jump/triple jump), Anna Jelmini (discus/shot put) and Keia Pinnick (heptathlon/4x100m/4x400m) all advanced in multiple events last season. Clarke, Jelmini and Pinnick all return this season though Clarke is only entered in the shot put this year. The team advanced three of the four relay squads last season as well with both the 4x100m and 4x400m advancing for the women while the men’s 4x400-meter advanced as well.
THROWING THEIR WEIGHT
Over the past 11 years, David Dumble has continued to bring in top talent and build the throws program at Arizona State, which has collected 15 total national titles. ASU continues to build on that legacy as(Jordan Clarke successfully defending his indoor title in the shot put and has now won four straight NCAA Championships in the event. During the 2013 indoor season, Arizona State was the only program at the Division I level to have four athletes ranked in the top-26 nationally in all four different throwing events. The outdoor season has been strong for ASU as well with Chelsea Cassulo the current NCAA leader in the hammer throw while Anna Jelmini leads the country in the discus while four-time defending NCAA Champion(Jordan Clarke sits fifth in the shot put. All three won their respective events at the Pac-12 Championships. Of ASU’s total of 40 entries at this weekend’s regional meet, nine are entered in the throwing events. Joe Riccio (shot put/hammer) and Alex Hartig (javelin/discus) are two of several Sun Devil athletes entered in two events this weekend.
THROWING MORE WEIGHT
Jordan Clarke is primed to make history this season and could do some that not even ASU legend Ryan Whiting could do. Clarke has a chance to win five consecutive NCAA shot put titles by the conclusion of his senior year. The reigning NCAA Champion indoors and outdoors, Clarke won his fourth-straight NCAA title at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a mark of 20.50m (67-03.25) and now sets his sights on a third-straight outdoor title. Should Clarke win out this year, he would become just the second individual in NCAA history to win five consecutive NCAA titles in the shot put. Only Kansas’ Karl Salb, who won every shot put title from 1969 to 1971, would have a better a record after winning six titles during his tenure as a Jayhawk. Clarke won his third conference shot put title at the Pac-12 Championships, a feat that put him in an elite class in the conference record books as there had only been three three-time shot put champions in Pac-10/12 history and none have achieved the feat since Olympian John Godina did it for UCLA from 1993-95. He enters the weekend ranked fifth in the country with his Pac-12 winning mark of 19.35m (63-06.00).
JEL-ING AT THE RIGHT TIME
Junior Anna Jelmini became a three-time All-American in the shot put indoors with her fifth-place finish in the event at the NCAA Indoor Championships . With the effort, Jelmini opened the door to match Sarah Stevens as the lone Sun Devil in school history with four straight first-team All-America honors. She is the two-time defending NCAA runner-up and now three-time defending Pac-12 Champion in the discus throw. Jelmini set a new career-best in a Sun Devil uniform at the Mesa Classic this past weekend with a mark of 60.61m (198-10). The throw was the 10th-best in NCAA history and garnered Jelmini recognition on the Watch List for the Bowerman award, given annually to the top male and female track and field athletes at the NCAA level. Jelmini won her third-consecutive Pac-12 title in the event earlier, a feat had only been accomplished once before in conference history. Former UCLA standout Dawn Dumble won four titles as a Bruin (1991-93, ‘95) - the only athlete in conference history to accomplish the feat in the event. Dawn is the sister of David Dumble, Jelmini’s coach and the coach of the throws team at Arizona State. She also happened to be Jelmini’s first throws coach. As if that weren’t all impressive enough, Jelimini is also ranked 13th nationally in the shot put.
Chelsea Cassulo is fast-becoming one of the best transfer pick-ups in recent history for the Sun Devils. The former UNLV standout finished fourth in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a mark of 21.23m (69-08.00) - the third-best mark in ASU history. Oddly enough, that’s not even her best event. Cassulo was named the USTFCCCA Field Athlete of the Week following the ASU Invite after set ting a new school record in the hammer throw with a mark of 69.80m (229-00). The throw was the eighth-best individual throw in NCAA history and the 15th-best throw ever at the NCAA Division I level. Cassulo followed the performance with three throws over 68 meters at the Sun Angel Classic, finishing second only to Olympian Jessica Cosby. Cassulo went on to set the NCAA Dual Meet record in the hammer throw at the Double Dual with her winning mark of 69.52m (228-01) and then set the Pac-12 Championship meet record with her winning throw of 68.00m (223-01), knocking off former USC standout Eva Orban’s previous best from 2006.
CHRISTABELS AND WHISTLES
One of the key pieces to the Arizona State women’s effort this season has been senior Christabel Nettey. Nettey was an absolute monster at the MPSF Championships, winning all three events she was entered in and scoring 30 points toward the team cause and earning herself MPSF Athlete of the Meet honors. She set the school indoor long jump record with a mark of 6.55m (21-06.00) and a runner-up effort at the indoor championships. The mark was actually equivalent to the winning jump but Nettey had to settle for second in the tiebreaking process. Nettey came out guns blazing in her 2013 outdoor long jump opener at the Sun Angel Classic, which featured a rematch against Geubelle, as she set the nation’s leading mark in a winning performance with two leaps of 6.75m (22-01.75). The performance knocked off Jacinta Bartholomew’s 24-year-old school record in the event, matched a Sun Angel Stadium venue record and was the third-best jump in the history of the Pac-12 Conference. Nettey was named the Pac-12 Women’s Field Athlete of the Week for the Performance and currently remains first in the nation in the event and is undefeated outdoors this season. Nettey won her second career Pac-12 long jump title and gave ASU three straight and did so by knocking off one of the longest-standing records in the conference as she downed Gail Devers’ 1987 long jump record with her winning leap of 6.68m (21-11.00).
SHELBY GT 1500
Shelby Houlihan introduced herself to the world last season as she became the first student-athlete in Pac-12 history to sweep the cross country and track and field Newcomer of the Year awards. Houlihan locked up the school record in the indoor 800-meter run this season, earning second-team All-America honor as well while also taking the MPSF title in the mile (where she also owns the school record). Houlihan absolutely obliterated the previous school record in the 1,500-meter run at the Sun Angel Classic, clocking a time of 4:13.64 that was three-and-a-half seconds better than Priscilla Hein’s former 1999 school record. The time ranks ninth in the nation. She would go one to lead from wire-to-wire at the Pac-12 Championships with a time of 4:14.84 to take down a field that included no fewer than five former All-American seniors – including the two-time defending Pac-12 Champion, Jordan Hasay of Oregon. In doing so, she became the first Sun Devil to win a Pac-10/12 title in the event since Kim Toney did it in back-to-back years in 1993 and 1994. She backed that up with a phenomenal runner-up finish at 5,000-meter - her first ever collegiate track race at the distance - in 16:15.85 and the eighth-fastest time in school history. Houlihan will only compete at 1,500 meters this weekend.
KEIA TO THE CITY
Senior Keia Pinnick nearly gave ASU two NCAA Champions following the NCAA Indoor Championships, staging a huge comeback over the final two events of the pentathlon to challenge for the title. Pinnick came up just shy, but set a new career best of 4,327 points in the process while breaking school pentathlon records in the 60-meter hurdles, long jump and 800 meters - all marks previous held by Olympian and former NCAA record-holder Jacquelyn Johnson. Pinnick set a new career best at the Pac-12 Multis last weekend in the heptathlon with a score of 5,801 to win the competition and with that, her first career Pac-12 title. The score ranks third nationally and gave ASU its fifth conference champion in the last decade in the event. Pinnick would come back to take third in a career best 13.17 in the 100-meter hurdles and fourth in the 400-meter hurdles at the Pac-12 Championships. She then helped the women’s 4x400-meter relay to the ninth-fastest time in school history in 3:32.53 in a runner-up finish for a complete effort that garnered her the Pac-12 Female Athlete of the Meet honor. Pinnick will only compete in the long jump and relays this weekend, having already sealed her spot in the heptathlon.
I’VE GOT A HINCH
Before the 2012 season, head coach Greg Kraft believe that one of the team’s dark horses this season could be incoming vaulter Derick Hinch, a transfer from Cuesta College. Hinch went on to take third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, becoming just the second Sun Devil to ever clear 18 feet and doing it twice on the season. He became just the second Sun Devil in indoor history to clear 18 feet indoors behind Olympian Nick Hysong with a season’s best of 5.50m (18-00.50) this year, earning All-America honors with a sixth-place finish indoors. He is currently ranked 23rd nationally outdoors in the event. Hinch had one of the more exciting finishes at this competition last season, needing a jump-off to advance to the NCAA Finals in Des Moines, where he would go on to take third.
RUNNING RELAY FAST
In winning the men’s 4x100-meter relay for the second consecutive season at the Pac-12 Championships, the Sun Devils became the first team to do so since UCLA in 2009 and 2010 and just the seventh team in Pac-12 history to repeat as champions. With the win, the Sun Devils continued to exact their dominance in the men’s relays since 2000. The victory was ASU’s 12th relay victory since the turn of the millennium, more than any school in the conference. USC is second on that list with nine. The men will enter as the fifth-seed in the 4x100 and eighth seed in the 4x400 this weekend. The women’s runner-up finish of 3:32.53 at the Pac-12 Championships was the fastest relay time since 2009.
OH, HAPPE DAY
Nick Happe got the 2012-13 season off to a good start, earning All-Conference and All-Region honors during the cross country season while also being named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Not only is he getting it done in the classroom, but the senior logged his second indoor school record at the Husky Classic with his time of 7:52.18 at 3,000 meters to finish sixth overall in the event and third in his heat behind two 2012 Olympians. Happe clocked a blistering time of 3:42.78 at the Sun Angel Classic for the fourth-fastest 1,500m time in ASU history went on to take sixth in the event at the Pac-12 Championships. He backed that up by running a fantastic final mile in the men’s 5,000-meter run to claim his first-ever Pac-12 Championships just hours after being named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the year for Track and Field. He will be entered in both the 1,500 and 5,000 this weekend.
Darius Terry became the first Sun Devil in the program’s history to earn an All-America honor at 1,500 meters, doing so at the NCAA Championships two years ago. Following a redshirt season last year, Terry is looking for a repeat of that performance and has the marks to back it up. Terry posted a strong run at the Sun Angel Classic last month in a blistering race that saw Nick Happe post the fourth-fastest time in ASU history. Terry nabbed that spot away from him at the Double Dual, however, pushing multiple-time NCAA Champion Lawi Lalang to the brink in a runner-up effort that saw Terry clock a time of 3:42.34. Terry took seventh in the event at the Pac-12 Championships and will compete in it this weekend.
RUNNING FOR MILUS AND MILES
The Arizona State men’s sprints program has been a force through the past decade and junior Ryan Milus has played a big part in that. The junior was a monster at the annual Double Dual meet, sweeping the 100 and 200-meter sprints and winning the 100 in a career-best time of 10.19 that ranks third in ASU history. Milus also anchored the 4x100-meter relay to a season’s best time of 39.40 that currently ranks ninth in the country. Milus took third at 100 meters and fourth at 200 meters at the Pac-12 Champions while anchoring the men’s quarter-mile relay to a dominating victory in 39.41.
BETTER TATE THAN NEVER
One of the most impressive improvements from a freshman to sophomore this season has been the rise of Brianna Tate. The quarter-miler clocked a new career-best of 52.65 at the Double Dual, a time that currently ranks 10th in school history. Additionally, Tate runs the anchor leg for the women’s mile relay, which currently sits 12th in the nation following the team’s runner-up finish at the Pac-12 Championships in 3:32.53. Tate also went on to take fourth in the open 400-meter dash in that event.
The Sun Devils have produced some pretty good steeplechasers over the past decade and it looks like redshirt freshman Garrett Baker-Slama wants to be the next on of those. Having only started running during his senior year of college, the youngster broke through at the Pac-12 Championships with a huge PR in 8:51.34 to take fifth overall. It was the seventh fastest time in the school history and the 17th-best mark in the West Prelims this weekend.
A LONG LIFE SPANN
One of the biggest surprises of the season may have been the addition of Devan Spann to the roster. One part of the surprise was the fact that he was originally a member of the football team that landed with track after suffering an injury-plagued couple of years. The bigger surprise may be how well the sophomore has performed. Spann was crucial in the sprints this season, going sub-21 and sub-10.50 on the track despite not having run in over two years. He has also been a vital cog to the team’s effort in the relays, helping the team to a top-10 ranking in the 4x100 and top-20 ranking in the 4x400.
VAULTING TO THE TOP
ASU’s most well-represented single event this weekend comes in the pole vault. The Sun Devils qualified two men and two women to the NCAA Prelim field. Derick Hinch returns as a two-time All-American and brings along Dylan Austin on the men’s side, who was fourth at the Pac-12 Championships. Shaylah Simpson returns to this meet on the women’s side while former high school teammate Heather Arseneau transferred to the Sun Devils from San Diego State this year and has been one of the top pickups of the season, taking seventh at the Pac-12 Championships.
IN THE TOP 10 ALL-TIME
During the indoor campaign, 20 student-athletes set 26 marks that improved upon or moved into the top-10 in ASU history. ASU is right back on track with that during the 2013 outdoor season as 20 athletes have set 26 marks that moved into or improved upon marks held on ASU’s top-10 list in their respective events. The list includes Amber Pasternak (pole vault), Nick Happe (1,500m), Ryan Herson (5,000m/10,000m), Garrett Baker-Slama (3,000m Steeple),>Darius Terry (1,500m), Shelby Houlihan (1,500m/5,000m), Ke’Nya Hardge (400mH) and Brianna Tate (400m) all making their debuts on the top-10 list while Alex Hartig (javelin), Keia Pinnick (heptathlon/100mH/400mH), Christabel Nettey (long jump/100mH), Anna Jelmini (discus),(Jordan Clarke (discus/hammer) and Ryan Milus (100m) all improved upon marks already held on the list.