May 11, 2013
LOS ANGELES – The Arizona State University track and field teams logged three conference championships and two conference meet records on the opening day of competition at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships in Los Angeles.
The No. 9 Sun Devil women finished up the first day of competition with 45 points and currently sit second in the standings after eight events while the men are fifth with 29 points after seven events.
Competing over at Cal State Los Angeles, Chelsea Cassulo got the day started in a big way for the Sun Devil women, scoring a Pac-12 Championship meet record in the women’s hammer throw with her winning mark of 68.00m (223-01).
Cassulo scored that winning mark on her first throw of the day to defeat the rest of the field by about six feet. In doing so, she became the first Sun Devil hammer champion since Sarah Stevens in 2008 and she knocked off USC’s Eva Orban’s previous Pac-12 meet record of 67.53m (221-07) in the process.
That set the stage for Christabel Nettey over at Catherine B. Loker Stadium, who soared 6.68m (21-11.00) to win her second career Pac-12 long jump title and the third straight for the Sun Devils in the process. Nettey’s leap set a Loker Stadium record and was a Pac-12 Championship meet record of its own, knocking off the legendary Gail Devers’ previous 1987 record of 6.65m (21-10.00).
The victory gave ASU the first three conference titles contested this season, following Keia Pinnick’s heptathlon victory last season.
Additionally, Constance Ezugha rounded out the scoring with her jump of 6.07m (19-11.00) to finish eighth.
Jordan Clarke scored the first men’s victory of the weekend with his winning throw of 19.35m (63-06.00) in the shot put for his third straight Pac-12 title. With the victory, Clarke became the first student-athlete since Olympian John Godina (1993-95) to win three conference shot put titles and became just the fourth in conference history to accomplish the feat.
Nathan Estes was sixth with his new outdoor career best of 17.00m (55-09.25).
In other scored events on the day, Dylan Austin took fourth in the men’s pole vault with a jump of 5.06m (16-07.25) while Chris Manuele scored in his first appearance at a Pac-12 meet, taking eighth overall in that event with a jump of 4.91m (16-01.75).
In the men’s steeplechase, Garrett Baker-Slama ran the race of his life, smashing his career best with a time of 8:51.34 to finish fifth overall. It was the seventh-fastest time in ASU history and tentatively among the top-30 times in the nation so far this year.
Also scoring for the Sun Devil women on Saturday was Alex Hartig, who took fifth in the women’s javelin despite entering as the ninth seed with her best mark on the day of 44.62m (146-05).
Hartig would go on to take eighth in the women’s shot put while teammate Anna Jelmini finished third in that same event with a season’s-best throw of 17.01m (55-09.75).
The throw was actually equal to the second-place mark but Jelmini fell to third on the tiebreaker. She will be the favorite in tomorrow’s discus competition.
There were numerous qualifying events on Saturday with chances to advance to Sunday’s finals.
It was a good day in the men’s sprints for Ryan Milus and Devan Spann as both advanced to the finals in the 100 and 200-meter dashes.
Milus was second in his 100-meter heat with a time of 10.20 to advance on time while winning his 200 in 20.99 to automatically advance in that race. Spann clocked career bests of 10.35 and 20.71 in the two sprints, respectively. He just missed moving into the all-time top-10 at ASU at 100 meters with that time.
Keia Pinnick and Ke’Nya Hardge did their part in the hurdle events as they each advanced in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles.
Pinnick clocked a wind-aided time of 13.23 to win her heat of the high hurdles while Hardge ran a time of 13.59 and won the photo finish against Arizona’s Traci Hicks to take the eighth and final qualifying spot there.
Pinnick then went on to take second in her heat of the intermediate hurdles in 57.92 while Hardge ran a career-best of 59.35 that was the third-fastest of the qualifying round and the 10th-fastest time in ASU history.
The women also advanced two in the 400-meter dash as Sarah Geren both advanced on time, clocking times of 53.32 and 54.06, respectively.
In the men’s 1,500, both Darius Terry advanced to tomorrow’s final on time with their runs of 3:43.95 and 3:44.22, respectively.
In the women’s 1,500-meter run, Shelby Houlihan ran the third-fastest time in the preliminary round in 4:20.03 to automatically advance to tomorrow’s final.
Ryan Herson just missed on scoring in the men’s 10,000-meter run as the freshman finished ninth in 30:02.15 in his first-ever 10k, which was the ninth-fastest time in school history.
Tomorrow’s field events will begin with the men’s hammer at 9 a.m. PT while the running events will get going with the 4x100-meter finals beginning at 1 p.m.