Conference Championships on the Line for ASU T&FPosted: Updated:
The Arizona State University men's and No. 9 women's track and field teams open the championship season this weekend as the squad travels to Los Angeles for the 2013 Pac-12 Track and Field Championships on Saturday and Sunday.
Conference titles and Territorial Cup points will both be on the line with both the men's and women's outdoor track and field Territorial Cup decided based upon the higher team finish this weekend. The Sun Devils enter the weekend with three returning Pac-12 Champions (Jordan Clarke, Anna Jelmini and Constance Ezugha) and will also be defending both the men's 4x100 and 4x400-meter crowns this weekend. Both the men and women will be in a tight competition for a top-three finish at the event in a field that features three of the nation's top-25 men's teams and an incredible seven teams (including the Sun Devils) in the top-25 of the USTFCCCA women's rankings.
Events will begin Saturday at the Katherine B. Loker Stadium with the women's hammer throw at 10 a.m. PT with running events getting underway at 1 p.m. PT. Sunday's field events kick off with the men's hammer at 9 a.m. with the finals of the 4x100-meter relay starting the running events at 1 p.m.
OUT OF THE BLOCKS
• Anna Jelmini remains on the Bowerman Watch List (track and field's version of the Heisman) and has won the past two Pac-12 discus titles. Teammate Jordan Clarke, a four-time NCAA Champion, has also won the last two titles in the shot put
• 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 Arizona State women currently have three student-athletes ranked No. 1 in the country in their respective events:Christabel Nettey (long jump), Anna Jelmini (discus) and Chelsea Cassulo (hammer)
• 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
• Two of ASU's longest-standing school records were dropped this past season at the Sun Angel Classic, withChristabel Nettey knocking off Jacinta Bartholomew's 24-year old school record in the long jump and Shelby Houlihantaking the reins in the 1,500-meter run after unseeding Priscilla Hein's 14-year old record as well.
• Chelsea Cassulo set the NCAA Dual Meet hammer throw record with her winning mark of 69.52m (228-01) at the Double Dual. She set the eighth-best throw in NCAA history earlier this season
• Cassulo, Nettey and Ryan Herson (5k) have all been named Pac-12 Athletes of the Week with their performances this season
• The Sun Devil men and women currently have 15 times/marks and both men's relays ranked in the top-25 nationally this season
FOLLOW THE ACTION
There will be a tape delayed broadcast of the competition on the Pac-12 Networks that is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15 at 6 p.m. PT. Live results of the competition will be provided by Royal Results at the following link: http://www.royalresults.com/results/. Additionally, the Sun Devil media relations staff will be maintaining a running live blog through the entirety of the weekend's competition that will be available on the Track and Field page at www.TheSunDevils.com beginning Saturday morning.
A LOOK BACK: DOUBLE DUAL/PAC-12 COMBINED EVENTS
The Sun Devil men's track and field team rolled over the Wildcats at the annual Double Dual by a score of 118-79 while the No. 8 ASU women came just shy in a 102-87 decision to the No. 3 UA squad. Both the ASU men and women soundly defeated Northern Arizona by scores of 126-56 and 110-67, respectively. Chelsea Cassulo set the NCAA record for a dual meet in the hammer throw with her winning toss of 69.52m (228-01). Ryan Milus was stellar in the men's sprints as the junior opened the day with a blistering 10.19 for a time that currently ranks 11th in the nation and was the second-fastest time in the in-state double dual history.Milus bounced right back just over an hour later with the second-fastest 200-meter dash of his life in a time of 20.77, which currently ranks 27th in the nation. As if that weren't all enough, Milus teamed up with Devan Spann, Chris Burrows and Will Henry for a winning time of 39.40 that currently ranks seventh in the nation and was the third-fastest in this dual's history.
Keia Pinnick earned her first-ever Pac-12 Championship this past weekend, winning the heptathlon competition at the Pac-12 Multis in Los Angeles. Pinnick scored a new career-best of 5,801 points and finished nearly 200 points ahead of runner-up Tatum Souza of UCLA (5,624 points) to win the first individual outdoor conference honor of her career for the No. 8 ASU women. ASU has now won five of the last 10 conference heptathlon competitions.
LOOKING FURTHER BACK - 2012 PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Sun Devil men were the runners up at last year's Pac-12 Championships in Eugene, Ore., while the Sun Devil women took fifth overall. The Sun Devils saw individual team titles on the men's side from Jordan Clarke (shot put),Chris Benard (triple jump) while sweeping the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays. On the women's side, Anna Jelminiswept the shot put and discus competitions while Constance Ezugha was the champion in the long jump. Clarke would go on to be named the Athlete of the Meet after posting a runner-up finish in the hammer a third-place toss in the discus. For the men, it was the 12th time in the last 14 seasons that the team had finished in the top half of the conference standings. For the women, it was the 13th-straight top-five finish - a streak that includes three consecutive conference titles between 2006 and 2008.
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 been strong for ASU as well with Chelsea Cassulo the current NCAA leader in the hammer throw, Clarke ranks ninth in the hammer throw and 30 in the discus and and is still 11th in the shot put despite only taking part in one competition in the event and not utilizing all his throws in that competition. Anna Jelmini sits first in the discus and 12th 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. Clarke is a man of many talents, however, and currently ranks ninth nationally in the hammer throw and 30th in the discus after setting personal bests in both events at the Sun Angel Classic. Clarke will be looking for his third conference shot put title this weekend, a feat that would put him in an elite class in the conference record books. There have only been three three-time shot put champions in Pac-10/12 history and none have achieved the feat since Olympian John Godina did it for UCLA from 1993-95. Yes, you read that correctly. Clarke has an opportunity to do something this weekend that not even ASU legend Ryan Whiting could achieve.
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 set a new career-best in a Sun Devil uniform at the Mesa Classic this past weekend with a mark of 60.61m (198-10) and she also ranks 12th nationally in the shot put competition. The throw was the 10th-best in NCAA history and garnered Jelmini recognition on the Watch List for the Bowerman award, given annually to the top male and female track and field athletes at the NCAA level. Jelmini will enter as the huge favorite this weekend in the discus when it comes to earning her third-consecutive Pac-12 title, a feat has only been accomplished once before conference history. Former UCLA standout Dawn Dumble won four titles as a Bruin (1991-93, ‘95) - the only athlete in conference history to accomplish the feat in the event. Dawn is the sister of David Dumble, Jelmini's coach and the coach of the throws team at Arizona State.
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. Cassulo followed the performance with three throws over 68 meters at the Sun Angel Classic, finishing second only to Olympian Jessica Cosby. Cassulo went on to set the NCAA Dual Meet record in the hammer throw at the Double Dual with her winning mark of 69.52m (228-01).
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. He is currently ranked 23rd nationally outdoors in the event. Hinch is ranked second in the conference heading into the weekend and currently has the nation's 23rd-best leap outdoors.
CHRISTABELS AND WHISTLES
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 came out guns blazing in her 2013 outdoor long jump opener at the Sun Angel Classic, which featured a rematch against Geubelle, as she set the nation's leading mark in a winning performance with two leaps of 6.75m (22-01.75). The performance knocked off Jacinta Bartholomew's 24-year-old school record in the event, matched a Sun Angel Stadium venue record and was the third-best jump in the history of the Pac-12 Conference. Nettey was named the Pac-12 Women's Field Athlete of the Week for the Performance and currently remains first in the nation in the event and is undefeated outdoors this season.
SHELBY GT 800...OR 1500?
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 11th nationally this season. Houlihan came out and absolutely obliterated the previous school record in the 1,500-meter run at the Sun Angel Classic, clocking a time of 4:13.64 that was three-and-a-half seconds better than Priscilla Hein's former 1999 school record. Houlihan ranks eighth in the country in the event. She is the only athlete in the NCAA ranked in the top-15 in both middle distance events.
KEIA TO THE CITY
Senior Keia Pinnick nearly gave ASU two NCAA Champions following the NCAA Indoor Championships, staging a huge comeback over the final two events of the pentathlon to challenge for the title. Pinnick came up just shy, but set a new career best of 4,327 points in the process while breaking school pentathlon records in the 60-meter hurdles, long jump and 800 meters - all marks previous held by Olympian and former NCAA record-holder Jacquelyn Johnson. Pinnick set a new career best at the Pac-12 Multis last weekend in the heptathlon with a score of 5,801 to win the competition and with that, her first career Pac-12 title. The score ranks third nationally and gave ASU its fifth conference champion in the last decade in the event. Pinnick will be back in action in numerous events this weekend, including both hurdles races. The senior currently ranks 10th nationally in the 400-meter hurdles with her career-best time of 57.06 and is 18th nationally in the 100-meter hurdles as her time of 13.27 set at the Pac-12 Multis last year moved her into sixth in ASU history in the event.
RUNNING RELAY FAST
The Sun Devil men's sprints team will be the defending Pac-12 Champions in both the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays. The team lost the likes of Daniel Auberry, Rashad Ross, Kelsey Caesar and John Kline from those squads but returns the likes of Ryan Milus, WIll Henry and Chris Burrows while bringing in talented newcomers in Trae Armstrong andDevan Spann. Last season was the first sweep for the Sun Devil relays since 2005 and they will look to make it two straight this season. The mile relay of Spann, Burrows, Henry and Daryl Morales is currently ranked 16th in the nation with a time of 3:06.12 while the 4x100-meter relay of Burrows, Spann, Henry and Ryan Milus also clocked the nation's ninth-fastest time of 39.40 at the Double Dual. The ASU women's relays both sit in the top 30 nationally this year.
OH, HAPPE DAY
Nick Happe got the 2012-13 season off to a good start, earning All-Conference and All-Region honors during the cross country season while also being named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Not only is he getting it done in the classroom, but the senior logged his second indoor school record at the Husky Classic with his time of 7:52.18 at 3,000 meters to finish sixth overall in the event and third in his heat behind two 2012 Olympians. Happe clocked a blistering time of 3:42.78 at the Sun Angel Classic for the fourth-fastest time in ASU history and the 16th-fastest time in the nation this season.
Darius Terry became the first Sun Devil in the program's history to earn an All-America honor at 1,500 meters, doing so at the NCAA Championships two years ago. Following a redshirt season last year, Terry is looking for a repeat of that performance and has the marks to back it up. Terry posted a strong run at the Sun Angel Classic last month in a blistering race that saw Nick Happe post the fourth-fastest time in ASU history. Terry nabbed that spot away from him at the Double Dual, however, pushing multiple-time NCAA Champion Lawi Lalang to the brink in a runner-up effort that saw Terry clock a time of 3:42.34. In any other conference, having two 3:42 two guys who almost be a lock for serious points, but in the stacked Pac-12, both Terry and Happe will have to bring their ‘A' games this weekend to put themselves in scoring position.
RUNNING FOR MILUS AND MILES
If there was such a thing as a sophomore slump, Ryan Milus showed no symptoms of it 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 had the 17th best time in the nation at 100 meters and was fourth in the event at the Pac-12 Championships. Milus also ran the anchor leg for the Pac-12 Championship 4x100-meter relay team. Milus was a monster at the annual Double Dual meet, sweeping the 100 and 200-meter sprints and winning the 100 in a career-best time of 10.19 that ranks third in ASU history. Milus also anchored the 4x100-meter relay to a season's best time of 39.40 that currently ranks ninth in the country.
BETTER TATE THAN NEVER
One of the most impressive improvements from a freshman to sophomore this season has been the rise of Brianna Tate. The quarter-miler clocked a new career-best of 52.65 at the Double Dual, a time that currently ranks 16th in the nation. Additionally, Tate runs the anchor leg for the women's mile relay, which currently sits 28th in the country with a season's best of 3:35.16.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.