May 25, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - The Arizona State University men's and No. 9 women's track and field teams wrapped up competition at the NCAA West Preliminaries on Saturday in Austin, Texas, adding five qualifications to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., in two weeks.
The Sun Devils brought their total tally of NCAA qualifiers to eight individuals in nine events and two relays over the course of the weekend.
The men's 4x100-meter relay got the qualifying action going on Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in the first running event of the day. Ryan Milus took the baton from Chris Burrows with the team in what looked like somewhere between fourth and sixth-place heading out of the final turn.
That didn't seem to faze the junior anchor as he blitzed down the homestretch to bring the team of he, Burrows, Devan Spann and Will Henry to a second-place finish in their heat in 39.79. That garnered the squad an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships in the process.
In the very next running event, sophomore Shelby Houlihan advanced to her first NCAA Outdoor Championship at 1,500 meters as she took the pace out from the gun in her heat and did all the work for about 1,100 meter before closing with a strong second-place effort in 4:18.17 to advance automatically to Eugene.
It was a fitting retribution for Houlihan, who was among the top 800-meter runners in the country last year entering this meet in Austin but was unable to advance after getting tripped up in her qualifying race.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the weekend came in the form of sophomore high-hurdler Cameron Taylor. The local product entered the weekend as the 34th-seed in the west in the event. As such, even advancing to today's quarterfinals would have been deemed a success.
But Taylor wasn't done there as he set a new career best in all conditions with a slightly wind-aided time of 13.87 to take fifth in his heat.
That time would end up holding up and be good enough to earn the third and final time qualification of the quarterfinals and punch a ticket to his first-ever NCAA Championship meet of his career.
Taylor ended a long drought for the Sun Devils in the event, earning the first NCAA Championships qualification for ASU since Tony Galaviz did it in 2002.
Anna Jelmini became the only Sun Devil to qualify in two individual events as she took ninth in the shot put with a best mark on the day of 16.49m (54-01.25). Jelmini earned a qualification in the discus yesterday. She has qualified in both the shot put and discus at the outdoor nationals in all three years of her career.
The women's 4x400-meter relay squad of Sarah Geren, Alycia Herring, Keia Pinnick and Brianna Tate rounded out the competition on a high note as they took third in their heat, finishing third in their heat in 3:33.59 to automatically advance.
The Sun Devils had a couple painfully close calls on the day in addition to the success.
In the men's 1,500-mete run, Darius Terry was the last one out as he finished 13th overall in 3:46.62 in his final race in the Maroon and Gold.
In the men's hammer, senior Joe Riccio was 14th overall with a throw of 62.38m (204-08) - just 18 centimeters out of 12th place.
The men's 4x400-meter relay of Chris Burrows, Devan Spann, Darryl Morales and Will Henry also took 14th overall and did not advance with their time of 3:07.46. The women's 4x100-meter relay of Alycia Herring, Brianna Tate, Christabel Nettey and Asiah Gooden was 15th overall in 45.35 and also did not advance.
In the men's pole vault, two-time All-American Derick Hinch was unable to advance as he finished 20th overall with a best clearance of 5.30m (17-04.50). Dylan Austin failed to advance in the event as well.
Josh Dixon set a new personal record in the men's triple jump with a best mark of 15.19m (49-10.00). It was the first time in the freshman's career that he had gone over 15 meters as he finished 25th overall.
The Sun Devils now set their sights on Eugene with the NCAA Outdoor Championships slated to begin on Wednesday, June 5.
NCAA Championship Roster
Keia Pinnick - Heptathlon
Christabel Nettey - Long Jump
Chelsea Cassulo - Hammer
Anna Jelmini - Discus/Shot Put
Shelby Houlihan - 1,500m
Jordan Clarke - Shot Put
Cameron Taylor - 110-meter Hurdles
Ryan Milus - 100m