FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.—The Arizona State track and field teams wrapped up competition at the NAU Invitational on Saturday with numerous improvements from the first weekend of competition.
Competing in her first race of the indoor season, junior Shelby Houlihan picked up a win for the No. 23-ranked Sun Devil women’s team with a time of 2:09.80 in the 800m. Freshman Mia Townsend finished in seventh with a time of 2:26.93.
“Overall, I really think we improved a lot from last week,” head coach Greg Kraft said. “We had Shelby Houlihan open up in the 800m with a win, and we wanted her to come up to altitude to get some experience in, since the national championships will be up at 5,000 feet in Albuquerque.”
ASU placed three runners in the men’s 60m finals, with freshman Tatum Benard-Taylor winning the collegiate heat with a time of 6.59. redshirt Ryan Milus followed in second with a time of 6.63, while freshman Marcus Setoki finished fourth at 6.93.
“Tatum Benard-Taylor ran well in the 60m dash, and even with conversion should qualify for the national meet,” Kraft continued.
In the women’s invitational pole vault, senior Heather Arseneau cleared a career-best 4.10m (13-5.50) for fifth place was and the top collegiate competitor. Senior Shaylah Simpson cleared a season best 3.85m (12-7.75) for a tie for ninth place.
The Sun Devils continued their dominance in the 4x400m relay, with the men’s team of senior Keith Cleveland, redshirt junior Devan Spann, senior Daveon Collins, and senior Will Henry picking up the win in 3:15.08.
On the women’s side of the 4x400m relay, junior Sara McDonald, senior Alycia Herring, freshman Troya Franklin, and junior Brianna State won with a time of 3:41.42.
Cleveland won his heat of the 400m dash with a time of 48.10, while Henry took third in the sixth section with a time of 47.91.
Herring also won the long jump with a season best distance of 6.04m (19-9.75), while freshman Micha Auzenne placed sixth at 5.48m (17-11.75)
“Micha Auzenne has a very nice day in the 60m and 60m hurdles, Troya Franklin made a lot of progress, especially running a strong leg in the four-by-four,” Kraft said. “Brianna Tate had a solid in her events, including the anchor leg of the mile relay.”
In the 60m hurdles for the men’s side, junior Cameron Taylor won his heat of the preliminaries with a time of 8.15, and followed with a victory of the finals with a time of 7.97.
ASU had a trio of runners in the 60m dash finals, with senior Asiah Gooden taking second with a time of 7.46 after she qualified with time of 7.51. Auzenne took second in the finals with a time of 7.55, while Franklin rounded out the ASU finishers in sixth with a mark of 7.77.
Senior Sarah Geren finished second in her heat of the 400m dash with a time of 55.81, followed by McDonald’s time of 56.59, while sophomore Kiera Bulluck ran a 58.46 for third in her heat.
ASU placed five runners in the second section of the 800m run, with redshirt sophomore Jesus Rivera taking second with a time of 1:53.25. Redshirt sophomore Tommy Williams followed in third at 1:54.37, while freshman Bernie Montoya took fifth at 1:56.56. Rounding out ASU’s competitors was redshirt sophomore Trevor Landry in sixth at 1:56.73, while redshirt senior Kevin Rayes took seventh at 1:57.26.
Redshirt sophomore Daniel Wong was the top collegiate runner in the men’s mile, taking fourth with a time of 4:20.03, while senior Garrett Baker-Slama took seventh at 4:27.33.
Junior Edmond Baker took fourth in the high jump with a best of 2.08m (6-9.75), while redshirt senior Derick Hinch finished second in the pole vault, matching last week’s best height of 5.20m (17-0.75). Also in the pole vault, redshirt senior Chris Maneuele and redshirt sophomore Tanner Greeley tied in fifth place with matching heights of 4.75m (15-7.00)
Sophomore Josh Dixon finished in fifth overall in the long jump at 6.80m (22-3.75), while senior Jordan Benesh jumped 6.52 (21-4.75) for third in the first flight. Dixon followed with a second-place jump of 14.49m (47-6.50) in the triple jump, while Benesh took fourth at 14.22m (46-8.00).
In the shot put, redshirt freshman Thomas Anderson placed fifth with a career best toss of 18.40m (60-4.50), besting his previous career mark of 17.66m from last week’s Lumberjack Invitational.
Also in the shot put, redshirt senior Nathan Estes’ toss of 16.09m (52-9.50) for eighth marked a new season best. Redshirt freshman Kyle Long threw a 16.01m (52-6.50) for ninth, while redshirt junior Kyle Lillie finished in 11th with a mark of 15.81m (51-10.50). Rounding out ASU’s competitors was redshirt junior Michael Ohakwe, who finished with a career-best throw of 14.96m (49-1.00).
“We made good progress from last week,” Kraft said. “Next week we will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, competing on a banked track to simulate the conditions of the national championships. It was a step in the right direction. It was good to see us collectively get better.”
Up next, the Sun Devils will compete in the New Mexico Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 1 in Albuquerque, N.M. The event will be contested at the same site of the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14-15.