April 3, 2013
TEMPE -The Arizona State University track and field teams return from their bye week this weekend as the squad gets set to host one of the largest meets in the nation in the form of the 34th Annual Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Ariz. This year’s event welcomes over 20 colleges and universities and over a thousand entries in one of the largest Sun Angel competitions to date. The event also serves as the third-largest high school track and field competition yearly in Arizona and this year welcomes over 50 teams and 3,000 entries in the largest high school competition to date as well. Friday’s collegiate competition will consist of the men’s and women’s hammer throw and 5,000-meter runs, with the hammer throw getting underway at Noon PT and the running events beginning at 7:30 p.m. the ‘C’ section of the 1,500-meter run and followed by the 5k events beginning at 8:40 p.m. Saturday’s events will begin with the open field competitions set to start at 10 a.m. PT, followed by running events at 2:15 p.m. The “premiere’ section of the competition, featuring numerous exceptional competitors, will get underway at 6 p.m. PT.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS
• Jordan Clarke remains on the Bowerman Watch List (track and field’s version of the Heisman) 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 indoors this season
• 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
• Chelsea Cassulo was named the USTFCCCA National Field Athlete of the Week following her school-record setting performance in the hammer throw at the ASU Invite two weekend’s ago
• Cassulo and redshirt freshman Ryan Herson (5k) were named the Pac-12 Athletes of the Week following their performances at the ASU Invite.
The Sun Devil media relations staff will be bringing you live updates on Saturday starting at 1 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: ASU INVITE
Chelsea Cassulo set a new school record in the hammer throw with a mark of 69.80m (229-00). The mark surpassed the former school record previously held by Jessica Pressley of 68.31m (224-01) set back in 2008. The throw is the top collegiate mark this season and was better than any mark by a collegian in 2012. As if that weren’t all enough, the throw was the eighth-best individual throw in NCAA history and the 15th-best throw ever at the NCAA Division I level. The Sun Devils won 10 events over the course of the weekend at the ASU Invite with Cassulo, Shelby Houlihan (800m) and Ryan Herson (5,000m) all setting then-national leading marks in their respective events.
PREVIEWING THE FIELD
Saturday’s competition is bound to be an exciting one as the Sun Devils welcome the nation’s current No. 1, Kansas, on the women’s side. The field also features the No. 11 Arkansas women, the No. 16 Illinois women, the No. 23 Oklahoma women and the No. 24 Colorado women in addition to the eighth-ranked ASU women. The men’s side will have squads from No. 15 Oklahoma and the 18th-ranked Sun Devils in addition to solid teams out of Illinois, BYU and Iowa State. In addition, the field features numerous post-collegiate standouts and will feature eight Olympians over the course of Friday and Saturday.
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 all four different throwing events. The outdoor season has gotten off to a strong start for ASU as well with Chelsea Cassulo the current NCAA leader in the ahmmer throw, Clarke ranked seventh in the hammer throw and redshirt senior Joe Riccio ranked 13th in the hammer and 18th in the shot put.
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’ 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 will be making her outdoor debut on Saturday.
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 was named the USTFCCCA Field Athlete of the Week following the ASU Invite after set ting a new school record in the hammer throw with a mark of 69.80m (229-00). The throw was the eighth-best individual throw in NCAA history and the 15th-best throw ever at the NCAA Division I level.
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 and scoring 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 will make her outdoor long jump debut on Saturday and it has the makings of a great competition as she will square of against Kansas’ Andrea Geubelle - the individual who defeated Nettey for the NCAA long jump title indoors.
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 opened the outdoor season at the ASU Invite with a winning time of 2:04.38, which ranks second nationally this season. Houlihan will take part in the 1,500-meter run on Saturday.