May 10, 2012
TEMPE - The Arizona State University track and field team will take part in the first-ever Pac-12 Track and Field Championships this weekend in Eugene, Ore. The 2012 season marks the first year of conference action with the additions of newcomers from Colorado and Utah. The event will kick off Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m. PST with the hammer throw with the majority of events following just after 1 p.m. The competition will then move to Sunday with events slated to begin at 10:45 a.m. with the women’s discus and the rest of the action getting underway early in the afternoon. The competition will be hosted by the University of Oregon at the Historic Hayward Field in Eugene.
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.
• Junior Jordan Clarke is currently ranked in the NCAA top-25 in three throwing events (second in the shot put, ninth in the hammer and 25th in the discus)
• 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.
• The Sun Devil men currently rank fifth nationally while the women sit 10th in the latest USTFCCCA computer rankings
• Entering the weekend, the Sun Devils have 14 student-athletes in 18 different events ranked in the top 25 in those respective events in the nation as well as two relays on the men’s side.
IN THE RANKINGS: USTFCCCA TOP 25
the Sun Devil men dropped two spots to No. 5 in the country after a relative off week for the team. The ASU women also climbed remained in the No. 10 position in the latest rankings, marking the first time both teams have been ranked in the top 10 in the computer rankings since the final week of the 2009 season where the men were fourth and the women sat 10th. Entering the weekend, other nationally ranked Pac-12 teams include No. 7 USC, No. 14 Arizona, No. 18 Stanford and No. 22 Oregon on the men’s side. The women feature No. 7 Oregon, No. 9 Arizona, No. 14 Stanford and No. 16 USC.
IN THE RANKINGS: USTFCCCA WEST REGION
The ASU men still maintain the top stop in the West Regional rankings, holding a slight edge over Oregon with 702.94 points to the Ducks’ 662.21 points. The ASU women are currently fourth in the Regional rankings with 588.55 points behind Oregon, Stanford and Arizona.
FOLLOW ALL THE ACTION
Fans hoping to follow along with the weekend’s action will have several outlets available to do so. Live results and a live blog will be available at the Pac-12 Championship website at http://pac-12.org/SPORTS/TrackField/Championships.aspx.There will be a tape-delayed television broadcast of the event courtesy of Fox Sports and the championship will be aired on a variety of channels on several different days beginning May 17. Fox Sports Arizona will host the broadcast on Saturday, May 19 at 4 p.m. PST.
A LOOK BACK - Pac-12 Combined Events
Keia Pinnick was the runner-up at the Pac-12 Combined Events in the heptathlon for the second season in a row, logging a career best score of 5,703 for the Sun Devils after the conclusion of the two-day competition last Sunday in Eugene. That score currently ranks her fourth in the nation and likely sealed her spot in the event at the NCAA Championships. Seniors Austin Prince and Jamie Sandys finished fourth and seventh, respectively, for the ASU men as both scored points for the Sun Devils at the event for the second time in the careers. Prince’s 6,917 points were a new career-best as well.
LOOKING EVER FURTHER BACK - 2011 Pac-10 Championships
Both the Arizona State men and women took third at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships in Tucson, Ariz. The Sun Devils saw individual team titles from Jasmine Chaney (400m), Christabel Nettey (long jump), Anna Jelmini (discus) and Jordan Clarke (shot put). Both teams finished behind Oregon and Arizona in the final team standings. For the men, it was the 11th time in the last 13 season that the team had finished in the top half of the conference standings. For the women, it was the seventh consecutive top-three finish - a streak that included three consecutive Pac-12 titles between 2006 and 2008. Nettey, Jelmini and Clarke all return as the returning champions in their respective events and, alongside Cj Navarro (2010 discus champion) reporesent the lone Sun Devils with individual titles at the conference championships. The men have not won a Pac-10/12 title since 1981.
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. The mark is also good for the fifth-best jump in the nation this year and the top mark in the conference heading into the weekend. 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.
RUNNING RELAY FAST
The ASU men’s relay teams strutted their stuff at the Sun Angel Classic with the men’s 4x100m of Daniel Auberry, Chris Burrows, Rashad Ross and Ryan Milus clocking a time of 39.12 that ranks fifth in the country thus far. The 4x400m team of Kelsey Caesar, Chris Burrows, John Kline and Will Henry currently sits 11th as well with their season opening time of 3:05.29.
I’VE GOT 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 fourth-best pole vault in the nation and the second-best in the conference.
IT’S ALL HER VAULT
Shaylah Simpson is not suffering any sort of sophomore slump in 2012 in the pole vault. After setting the freshman record in the event last season, Simpson set personal record in three consecutive competitions this year, cumulating in a new career-best of 4.30m (14-01.25) for the seventh-best jump in the nation this year and the second-best jump in ASU history - less than an inch behind April Kubishta’s school record in the event. Simpson also ranks second in the Pac-12 thus far this season.
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 Pac-12 Combined Events in last weekend as she set a career best in the heptathlon with a score of 5,703. 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.
KEIA TO THE CITY
Pinnick is proving herself to be one of the most pivotal pieces on the ASU squad outside of the heptathlon as demonstrated by her new career-best run of 57.34 to win the open section of the Mt. SAC Relays. The time is good for the 10th-best time in the nation and also moved her to sixth on ASU’s all-time 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 then-career-best 20.86 in the 200-meter dash later in the event. Milus currently sits 13th in the nation at 100 meters and 25th 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 10th-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 she’s only competed in just a handful of races. Competing against several potential Olympians at the Sun Angel Classic, Houlihan clocked a freshman record and the sixth-fastest time in the country in 2:03.85 for the third-best time in school history in just her second outdoor 800-meter run and is the top-seed heading into the weekend.
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.
A MAN OF MANY DIFFERENT HATS
Jordan Clarke has wasted little time establishing himself as one of the top all-around throwers in the country with his recent performances. Clarke ranks in the top 25 in three events currently, sitting second in the shot put, ninth in the hammer and 25th in the discus throw. Clarke is the only thrower in the nation that can lay claim to such a feat and also finds himself ranked in the top-10 on ASU’s all-time lists in each of the three events as well.
EVERYTHING IS JEL-ING
Clarke isn’t the only Sun Devil turning it on in the throws. Sophomore Anna Jelmini finds herself ranked second in the discus and 10 in the shot put events early this season. Jelmini has also already set a career-best in the hammer throw this season and she, too, finds herself ranked in ASU’s top-10 in all three events. She will be the favorite in the discus competition this weekend and could push for the shot put title as well.
Bryan McBride has come on strong in his sophomore campaign and finds himself fast rising the ASU all-time ranks in the process. McBride currently ranks 15th in the nation with his career outdoor best of 2.20m (7-02.50) in both oudoor contests he has competed in this year, good for seventh on ASU’s all-time list. In addition, McBride is becoming a solid addition in the triple jump as well, setting a career best at the Sun Angel Classic with a leap of 15.38m.
TRIPLE THE EXCITEMENT
Chris Benard is now the proud owner of two school records after knocking off Deon Mayfield’s 30-year-old school record at the Mt. SAC Relays with a new career-best of 16.74m (54-11.25). The mark moved Benard into the top spot in the nation at the NCAA level in 2012 and earned him Pac-12 Field Athlete of the Week honors for the second time this season. Benard also set a new career best in the long jump with a leap of 7.75m to move right on the cusps of ASU’s all-time top-10 list in the process.
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, four student-athletes have etched their names in the record books for the first time while 11 athletes in 14 events have all improved upon prior record book marks. Derick Hinch, Andrea Crook, Chris Benard 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, Benard taking the school record in the triple jump and Houlihan ninth in the 1,500-meter run and third in the 800m. 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), Linda Kuenzi (pole vault), Jordan Clarke (shot put/hammer), Ashley Lampley (hammer) Anna Jelmini (hammer), Cj Navarro (hammer) and Keia Pinnick (heptathlon/400m hurdles) have all also improved upon marks they already held within the top 10.