April 4, 2012
TEMPE -The Arizona State University track and field team will host the 33rd Sun Angel Classic at Sun Angel Stadium on April 5-7 in Tempe. The annual event welcomes some of the top high school, collegiate and post-collegiate competitors in the nation to Phoenix in the largest event the Sun Devils will host this season. The #10 men’s team and #19 women will be in action on Friday and Saturday with just the hammer throw and 5,000-meter runs taking place on Friday before a all-day affair on Saturday. Saturday’s events will be split into an open and a premier section with the open section getting under way with field events at 10 a.m. PT and running events at 2 p.m. PT. The premier section, featuring the top collegiate and post-collegiate athletes in the meet, as well as the championship high school races, will get underway at 5 p.m. PT.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS
• The Sun Devil men are coming off a trophy-earning fourth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boise earlier in March. The men saw two national champions crowned in Jordan Clarke in the shot put and Mason McHenry at 800 meters.
• Head coach Greg Kraft is in his 16th season at Arizona State, the third-longest tenure of any of ASU’s current sports coaches.
• Keia Pinnick had a career weekend in Tucson last week, setting a score of 5,622 in her 2012 heptathlon opener. The score is the third-best all-time at ASU and would have finished fourth at last year’s NCAA Championship
• Jordan Clarke is the NCAA”s returning shot put champion outdoors and will be the returning champion when the team reaches the 2013 indoor season as well after his performance in Boise earlier this year.
• Christabel Nettey is currently ranked 4th in the nation in the long jump and 13th in the triple jump
• Derick Hinch is looking to become a dark horse at the championship level after soaring 5.50m (18-00.50) at the ASU Invite in the pole vault, the second-best mark in school history.
IN THE RANKINGS: USTFCCCA TOP 25
The USTFCCCA released its first set of rankings based on 2012 results and the Arizona State men’s team reaped the benefits. The Sun Devils climbed from No. 20 in the preseason poll to No. 10 when the computer rankings were released earlier this week. It’s the first time the Sun Devils have been ranked in the top 10 since finishing fourth at the 2010 NCAA Championships. The ASU women dropped two positions to 19th in the rankings.
IN THE RANKINGS: USTFCCCA WEST REGION
The Sun Devil men currently lead the NCAA West Region computer rankings with 628.34 points and lead second-ranked UCLA but about 60 points. The ASU women sit third in the region behind Southern Cal and Arizona with 616.53 points.
Due to insufficient Internet connection at the track, there will be no live results from Saturday’s competition. However, there will live blog available to all that will serve as ‘live coverage’ in its stead. The blog will begin around 1 p.m. PT on Saturday and can be found at the following link: http://www.thesundevils.com/sports/c-track/spec-rel/031712aaa.html
THROWING THEIR WEIGHT
Over the past 10 years, David Dumble has continued to bring in top talent and build the throws program at Arizona State, which has collected 13 total national titles, including the shiny new trophy earned by Jordan Clarke at the NCAA Indoor Championships just two weeks ago. With Clarke the defending indoor AND outdoor national champion and Anna Jelmini the top returning discus thrower in the nation, the ASU throws team looks to continue their perennial dominance of the event into the outdoor season.
Christabel Nettey looked up to snuff with her outdoor long jumping self that earned first-team All-America honors last season as she soared 6.58m (21-07.25) in the team’s season opener at the Baldy Castillo Invitational for a new career best and improved her second-place hold on ASU’s all-time list in the event. Nettey also moved into second all-time at ASU in the triple jump with her leap of 12.80m (42-00.00) at the ASU Invite - the 13th-best mark in the country this year.
RUNNING RELAY FAST
The ASU men’s relay teams strutted their stuff at the ASU Invite with the men’s 4x100m of Daniel Auberry, Chris Burrows, Rashad Ross and Ryan Milus clocking a time of 39.38 that ranks sixth in the country thus far. The 4x400m team of Kelsey Caesar, Chris Burrows, John Kline and Will Henry currently sits sixth as well with their season opening time of 3:05.29.
NOT CAUGHT IN A HINCH
Before the 2012 season even got underway, head coach Greg Kraft said that Derick Hinch, a junior college pole vault transfer out of Cuesta College in California, would be one of the team’s dark horse as it fights for Pac-12 dominance this year. Hinch looked to be playing the part at the ASU Invite as he soared 5.50m (18-00.50) for the second-best jump in school history and the current third-best pole vault in the nation.
Keeping track of Keia Pinnick at a track meet isn’t always an easy task. The junior does just about everything for the Sun Devils and showed it at the Jim Click Combined Events in Tucson as she set a career best in the heptathlon with a score of 5,622. That score sits fourth in the nation in 2012 and would have been good for fifth at the NCAA Championships in 2011. Not only that, but it moves Pinnick to third on ASU’s all-time descending order list in the event
RUNNING FOR MILUS AND MILES
If there is such a thing as a sophomore slump, Ryan Milus is showing no symptoms of it early 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 career-best 20.86 in the 200-meter dash later in the event. Milus currently sits ninth in the nation at 100 meters and 17th at 200 meters.
Another student-athlete not looking at any dropoff is Mason McHenry at 800 meters. After winning the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championship in the event, McHenry clocked a new outdoor best of 1:47.60 at the ASU Invite for the fifth-fastest time in the country and second-fastest in school history.
Freshman Shelby Houlihan is fast becoming one of the top middle-distance runners to ever come through Tempe and it’s only her first season. Houlihan clocked a freshman record in the 1,500-meter run at the ASU Invite in 4:22.95 and sits 12th in the nation in the event while also posting the 22nd-fastest 800-mete run in the country as well.
IN THE TOP 10 ALL-TIME - OUTDOORS
The Sun Devils are starting to get into the swing of things and, as such, the record book is starting to need some re-writing. Thus far in 2012, three new student-athletes have etched their names in the record books while nine athletes in 10 events have all improved upon prior record book marks. Derick Hinch, Andrea Crook and Shelby Houlihan are the newest additions to the list, with Hinch moving to second all-time in the pole vault, Crook seventh in the triple jump and Houlihan ninth in the 1,500-meter run. Christabel Nettey is pacing the way for the returners, as she has improved to second in both the long jump and triple jump. Ryan Milus (100m), Mason McHenry (800m), Bryan McBride (high jump), Shaylah Simpson (pole vault), Jordan Clarke (hammer), Ashley Lampley (hammer) Anna Jelmini (hammer) and Keia Pinnick (heptathlon) have all also improved upon marks they already held within the top 10.