Sept. 2, 2011
DAEGU, South Korea- After his 10th-place finish at the U.S. Championships and with his age creeping up, many might have doubted former Arizona State University track and field standout Dwight Phillips’ chances to defend his world title in the men’s long jump. Phillips put those doubts to rest Friday, however, soaring to his fourth IAAF World Championship crown in Daegu, South Korea.
Phillips saved his best jump of 2011 for the biggest stage, leaping 8.45m (27-8 3/4) on his second attempt for a mark that would hold true, giving the Sun Devil his fourth victory in the last five IAAF meets in the event. Phillips, now 33, had only cleared eight meters once in 2011 before having three jumps at the championship competition over that mark.
Wearing the number 1111 on his bib - fitting for an athlete notching his fourth finish at the top spot in the competition - Phillips was never really challenged in his attempt to repeat the repeat the performance that earned him the 2009 crown in Berlin. Phillips never reliniquished the lead (including having the top jump of the qualifying round) and only Australia’s Mitchell Watt was able to pull anywhere near the ASU alumnus, though his best leap of 8.33 (27-4) was still several inches shy of superseding the world champ.
Phillips, the 2004 Olympic Champion as well, attended Arizona State to finish up his undergraduate years in 1999 and 2000 after transferring from the University of Kentucky. In those two years, the Decateur, Ga., native scored several All-America honors, won four conference crowns and set the school long jump record before going on to become one of the most dominant long jumpers of the past decade.
Phillips wasn’t the only former Sun Devil representing the university at Friday’s competition. Ryan Whiting, one of the more exceptional throwers in school history, took seventh in the shot put finals in his very first international championship appearance with a best throw of 20.75m (68-1). Former cross country and distance standout Amy Hastings took home a 15th-place finish in the finals of the 5,000-meters as well.
Of the six former Sun Devils who competed at the IAAF Championships over the past week, three advanced to the finals and four advanced beyond the qualifying rounds in what was a very solid showing for a program that has established itself as one of the best in the country, in terms of turning out successful runners in the present and sending many of them on to successful post-collegiate careers. The ASU track and field team is set the begin its 2011-12 slate in Janaury with the start of the indoor season.
Sun Devils at the 2011 IAAF World Championships
Place, Name, Mark/Time
Men's Long Jump
1.) Dwight Phillips, 7.45m (24-5 1/2)
Women's Shot Put
11.) Sarah Stevens-Walker, 17.20m (56-5 1/4)