Feb. 23, 2013
SEATTLE, Wash. – The No. 13 Arizona State University men’s track and field team defended their Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship on Saturday while the No. 8 women took second overall following an action-packed day of competition at the Dempsey Indoor Facility in Seattle, Wash.
The Sun Devil men scored two conference titles and finished the competition with 125.50 points to knock off Oregon, who was second with 102 points. The Sun Devils came up just shy of matching their 2012 total of 131.5 points, which was the highest tally in the past decade of MPSF competition.
Senior Jordan Clarke kicked things off for the Sun Devils, winning his second event of the weekend on the very first throw of the shot put with a mark of 20.03m (65-08.75). Clarke, who won the weight throw yesterday, wasn’t challenged on Saturday as the next closest finished had a mark that was inferior by four feat to the three-time NCAA Champion.
Clarke has won every competition this season with a mark of over 20 meters, having scored seven such throws this season. Only one other NCAA student-athlete has sniffed the 20 meter mark in Wyoming’s Mason Finley who has a season’s best of 20.06m.
The shot put marked a large point haul for the Sun Devils as senior Kyle Lillie was sixth overall with a mark of 16.70m (54-09.50).
Chris Benard scored his second consecutive MPSF Championships in the triple jump with a season’s best mark of 16.14m (52-11.50) that moved him back within the top five in the nation and essentially sealed the deal for the Sun Devils as far as the team competition – giving ASU an insurmountable lead heading into the mile relay.
Junior Bryan McBride finished second overall in the men’s high jump with a clearance of 2.21m (7-03.00), which was equivalent to the winning mark but McBride took second based on having more misses.
Nick Happe nearly broke the four-minute barrier in a very competitive mile field, taking fifth overall in 4:00.30 and a new season’s best.
In the sprints and hurdles, Cameron Taylor got things going with a third place finish in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.01 to set up Will Henry’s runner-up finish in the 400-meter dash in 47.63.
Zach Zarda ran the ninth-fastest 3,000m time in school history with his third place finish in 8:05.09 to add six more points to the men’s score as things started coming down to the wire.
The Sun Devils became the first team top win back-to-back MPSF titles since UCLA accomplished the feat during the 2008-09 campaigns.
Were an Athlete of the Meet award handed out at the MPSF Championships, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more deserving than senior Christabel Nettey, who was a one-woman wrecking crew on the weekend on the way to three conference titles – adding two more to her long jump crown earned yesterday.
Nettey kicked things off with a huge personal record and maybe one of the biggest upsets of the day as she clocked a time of 8.25 in the 60-meter hurdles. The time was the fifth-fastest in school history and tentatively places Nettey in the 16th and final qualifying spot for the NCAA Championships in two weeks.
As if that wasn’t enough, Nettey bounced right back logged another career best in the triple jump with a best jump of 12.43m (40-09.50) for a new career best and sneaking by Stanford’s Jordan Merback by five centimeters to complete the trifecta.
That leap was a new career-best for Nettey as well and improved upon her second-place hold in the event in school history.
Nettey finished with 30 of the women’s total of 96 points in a runner-up effort to Oregon, who won the team competition with 112 points.
In the mile run, Shelby Houlihan nabbed her first-ever conference title either indoors or outdoors as she cruised to the victory in 4:42.32 - nearly over two seconds quicker than her closest competition.
ASU also got some valuable points in the pole vault with Heather Arseneau finishing in a tie for third with a best mark on the day of 3.94m (12-11.00). Teammate Shaylah Simpson was tied for eighth overall, also clearing 3.94m but fell back due to misses.
In the women’s shot put, Anna Jelmini had her second consecutive weekend with a throw of over 17 meters, launching on 17.12m (56-02.00) on Saturday for a third-place finish in a stacked shot put field while teammate Alex Hartig took seventh in the event with her throw of 15.39m – a new career best and improving her standing in ninth-place in the event in the ASU record books.
Even with all that said and done, the Sun Devils found themselves tied with rival Arizona for second place heading into the final event – the 4x400-meter relay.
The Sun Devils were up to task though, as the squad of Sarah Geren, Alycia Herring, Keia Pinnick and Brianna Tate clocked their fastest time of the season in 3:34.67 – just half a second behind Oregon for the victory. Arizona was fourth in the heat, granting the Sun Devils the runner-up finish in the team scores.
It was the best finish for the Sun Devil women since claiming the team time in 2008.
The Sun Devils will now set their sights on next weekend’s Last Chance meets as athletes on the bubble in their respective events will try one last time to solidify their ticket to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., in two weeks. The top 16 individuals on the descending order list in each event following the next weekend of competition will advance to the finals.