March 21, 2013
TEMPE -The Arizona State University track and field teams continue the 2013 outdoor track and field season with its second of three home meets set to take place over four weeks at the ASU Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday at Sun Angel Stadium. The men's and women's hammer throw competition will take place on Friday afternoon but the brunt of the competition will be taking place on Saturday. The weekend - the second of the outdoor season - will see several student-athletes start competing in their primary events. This comes as opposed to last weekend, which was used as more of a tune-up to get ready for the outdoor season than anything. Among those opening up this weekend will be All-American Chelsea Cassulo for the eighth-ranked ASU women, who will be making her Sun Devil debut in the hammer throw. All-Americans Keia Pinnick and Christabel Nettey will take part in some hurdling competition while defending NCAA shot put champion Jordan Clarke will open up in the hammer throw for the No. 15 men. Friday's hammer throw competition will take place at 1 p.m. PT and Saturday's field events start rolling at 10 a.m. with the discus. Their will then be a break prior to several other field events that will start at 3 p.m. while the running events will start at 5:35 p.m.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS
• Jordan Clarke enters the season on the Bowerman Watch List and has won four consecutive NCAA Championships in the shot put, including the 2013 indoor title
• 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 men became the sixth team in the history of the MPSF to defend their conference crown
• Clarke and Nettey swept the MPSF Athlete of the Meet awards on the men's and women's sides while Greg Kraft was named the MPSF Men's Coach of the year for the second consecutive season
The Sun Devil media relations staff will be bringing you live updates on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. PT through a live blog. Fans are encouraged to tune-in for updates and "live results" while interacting with other fans and our staff. A link to the blog and live results is available here: /ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30300&ATCLID=207845022
A LOOK BACK: BALDY CASTILLO INVITE
The ASU track and field team opened the 2013 outdoor season with the Baldy Castillo Invite in Tempe. It was a strong day in the javelin throw with Eddie McClain setting the eighth-best throw in school history for the men while Alex Hartig had the sixth-best throw for the women. Heather Arseneau set the sixth--best pole vault mark in school history with her victory on Saturday while Joe Riccio posted the sixth-best hammer throw in school history on Friday. Asiah Gooden clocked two personal records on the day, finishing second in the 400-meter dash in 56.18 before coming back about an hour later to take fourth in the 200-meter dash in a time of 23.48 that was only just outside ASU's all-time top-10 in the event.
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 at least three different throwing events in Jordan Clarke (1st/shot put;26th/weight throw), Anna Jelmini (6th/shot put) and Chelsea Cassulo (14th, weight throw).
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's 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.
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. Heading into the outdoor season, Jelmini is the two-time defending NCAA runner-up and two-time defending Pac-12 Champion in the discus throw. Jelmini also won the shot put competition last year at the conference championships and is someone who will be key to ASU's cause as the season goes on.
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 gives ASU an immediate threat in the hammer throw this outdoor season, having earned All-America honors in the event two years ago at UNLV. She will be making her Sun Devil debut this weekend.
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.
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 (LJ/TJ/60mH) to score 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 has point potential in numerous events during the outdoor campaign and will challenge for the 23-year-old school record in the long jump that is currently held by Jacinta Bartholomew.
SHELBY GT 800
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 will be a threat in the middle distance outdoors, where she already holds the school's second-fastest 800-meter time in school history. Houlihan will open at 800 meters this weekend in what is shaping up as one of the most competitive events of the meet.
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. Now, Pinnick sets her sights to the outdoor campaign where she will look to challenge for the NCAA heptathlon title following her All-American performance last season. Pinnick will open the season this weekend in the hurdle events.
LIFE OF BRYAN
Junior Bryan McBride nearly made his way back to the podium in an absolutely stacked high jump field at the NCAA Indoor Championships that featured two Olympians. McBride would end up taking ninth in the competition, even though he set a season's best mark of 2.23m (7-03.25). McBride is now a three-time All-American and will be looking for the first First-Team honor of his outdoor career this year after setting the school's seventh-best outdoor mark of all time last year on his way to Second-Team honors.
RUNNING RELAY FAST
The Sun Devil men's sprints team will be the defending Pac-12 Champions in both the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays. The team lost the likes of Daniel Auberry, Rashad Ross, Kelsey Caesar and John Kline from those squads but returns the likes of Ryan Milus, WIll Henry and Chris Burrows while bringing in talented newcomers in Trae Armstrong and Devan Spann. Last season was the first sweep for the Sun Devil relays since 2005 and they will look to make it two straight this season.
OH, HAPPE DAY
Nick Happe had a career year during his junior campaign, setting three marks that ranked in the top-five on ASU's all-time lists. Happe continued his tear by becoming just the third athlete in Sun Devil history to go under four minutes in the mile, breaking the 10-year-old school record formerly held by Brandon Strong in a time of 3:58.73, and going on the be a Second Team All-American in the event. Happe also clocked the third-fastest 5k time in school history at 13:54.51. 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.
RUNNING FOR MILUS AND MILES
If there was such a thing as a sophomore slump, Ryan Milus showed no symptoms of it in the 2012 outdoor season. The second-year runner broke the meet record at the ASU Invite with a career-best time of 10.21 in the 100-meter dash and followed it up with a then-career-best 20.86 in the 200-meter dash later in the event. Milus had the 17th best time in the nation at 100 meters and was fourth in the event at the Pac-12 Championships. Milus also ran the anchor leg for the Pac-12 Championship 4x100-meter relay team. An untimely injury at the NCAA West Regionals kept Milus out of a bid for the NCAA Championship, but he will be a key force to the Sun Devils cause this year.