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Four Sun Devil Athletes Represent As Pitchfork Award Finalists
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 04/01/2013
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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April 1, 2013

Campus Release | Pitchfork Awards Website | All 2013 Finalists
TEMPE, Ariz. -
The Arizona State University's annual Pitchfork Awards has selected four Sun Devil student-athletes as finalists for the Outstanding Student-Athlete NCAA award. The awards show is April 4, at 7 p.m. in the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix.

Making the cut for the second annual Pitchfork Awards are four-time NCAA Shot Put Champion Jordan Clarke, cross country All-American Shelby Houlihan, volleyball libero and two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week Stephanie Preach and All-American football defensive lineman Will Sutton. This is the first nomination for all four of the student-athletes. 

Jordan Clarke | Track and Field | Eligibility in year of nomination: Senior
One of the most decorated student-athletes in Arizona State's history, Clarke won his fourth NCAA shot put title this spring at the NCAA Indoor Championship, with a mark of 20.86m. He was named to the 2013 Preseason Bowerman Award Watch List and has become part of history and helping ASU win 9 of the last 11 NCAA titles in shot put for indoor and outdoor on the men's side, a streak started by Olympian and Sun Devil great Ryan Whiting. Between indoor and outdoor throwing events, Clarke has been named an All-American on eight occasions. He currently holds the school's second-best mark in history in both the indoor and outdoor shot put behind Whiting.  Should Clarke go on to win the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the shot put, he would become the just the second student-athlete in NCAA history to win five consecutive individual championships in the event outside Kansas' Karl Salb in the early 1970's.

Shelby Houlihan | Cross Country /Track and Field| Eligibility in year of nomination: Sophomore
Shelby Houlihan began her career as a Sun Devil last year as the first student-athlete in Pac-12 history to sweep the Newcomer of the Year award during the cross country and track and field seasons, earning Second-Team All-Conference honors in cross country. Backing it up this year as a sophomore, Houlihan clocked the fastest 6,000-meter cross country race in school history (19:58, Oct. 12) and earning her first bid to the NCAA Cross Country Championships where she earned All-America honors for the first time in her career with a time of 20:11.4 on the 6,000-meter course. She got there by posting a fourth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional Championships. She has been the women's team's top finisher in every race in her tenure and is the 10th Sun Devil runner to earn All-America honors since 1998. On the track side, Houlihan earned NCAA Indoor All-America status this season with a second-team nod for her performance in the 800m. Houlihan set the indoor school record in the event this season and now owns the school's indoor mile and 800-meter times.

Stephanie Preach | Volleyball | Eligibility in year of nomination: Junior
Stephanie Preach, a current junior libero from Phoenix, had a tremendous season in 2012, becoming one of just 15 Sun Devil volleyball players to surpass 1,000 digs in their career. Prior to the start of the 2012 season, she had 841 career digs and rolled to 1,460 at the conclusion to rank fourth all-time at ASU. She was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in her career and earned preseason honors on three All-Tournament Teams.

Will Sutton | Football | Eligibility in year of nomination: Junior
During Will Sutton's junior year, he became ASU's 18th Consensus All-American, was Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Defensive MVP and was named the Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year. He finished the season ranked second in the nation in 1.92 tackles for loss per game and third nationally with 1.08 sacks per game.

Criteria to be nominated for the Outstanding Student-Athlete NCAA award includes the leadership and excellence displayed in competition, how the nominee demonstrates leadership and excellence outside the field of competition and the demonstration of Sun Devil spirit, pride and tradition.

The 2012 winner of the inaugural Pitchfork Award was softball's Dallas Escobedo. As just a sophomore, she was nominated with Beate Jones, Elina Eggers and Jamie Sandys.

Also nominated as a Pitchfork Award Finalist is the 942 Crew, for the Sun Devil Spirit Award - Group. The 942 crew was spearheaded by men's basketball head coach Herb Sendek and Associate Athletic Director Bill Kennedy. The namesake of the club is based on 942 seats in the student section of Wells Fargo Arena. The 942 crew took its electric energy on the road as well, cheering on the Sun Devils at the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas this past season. 

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