Sun Devil Track and Field shines at USA T&F Championships

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Sun Devils from the past, present and future shined in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday with several athletes with ties to Arizona State performing admirably at the USA Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.

Sun Devil sophomore Shelby Houlihan led the way on Thursday, setting a new school record at 800 meters with her time of 2:03.15 in the prelim round. It was the 13th-fastest time of the qualifying round and earned her one of six time qualifiers to the semifinals.  Houlihan, who hadn't competed in the event since March, was fifth in her heat. 

With the effort, Houlihan completed her monopoly over all Sun Devil middle distance records. Earlier this season, Houlihan broke the school indoor record at 800 meters and set the indoor mile record as a freshman last season. She continued her tear through the record books by setting the outdoor 1,500-meter record this season on her way to All-America status in the event.

Houlihan just nipped Kim Toney's former record of 2:03.23 set back in 1993.  It had been the sixth-oldest school record on the books outdoors for the Sun Devil women. She will compete in the semifinal of the event tomorrow evening.

Recently graduated Keia Pinnick is representing Arizona State one final time in her career in the heptathlon and had an incredible first day to show for it on Thursday.  She finished the day 3,553 points, which was a new career best first-day score. 

Pinnick opened the day with the field's second-fastest time in a slightly wind-aided 100-meter hurdle time of 13.04.  The 2.7 wind eliminated the mark from record contenting but it was a new career best in all conditions for Pinnick and the fastest time ever run by a Sun Devil multi-eventer. 

Pinnick cleared 1.69m (5-06.50) in the high jump and had a shot put mark of 10.87m (35-08.00) before capping out the day with a very impressive wind-legal time of 23.74 in the 200-meter dash to bump her up to fifth overall in the standings – just 51 points out of a coveted top-three spot heading into the second and final day.

In the sprints, Ryan Milus capped out his 2013 season with a 21st-place finish in 10.64 in the 100-meter dash, though he was running into a wicked -3.5 headwind.  SophomoreBrianna Tate was 18th overall in the 400-meter dash prelims in 53.41. 

Amy Hastings represented the Sun Devil alumni strongly with a fourth-place run in the 10,000-meter championship in 32:31.28.  Despite not finishing in the top-three, Hastings does possess the IAAF ‘A' standard in the event while runner-up and third-place finishers Jordan Hasay and Tara Erdmann have yet to reach even the IAAF ‘B' Standard this season.  As such, Hastings could still earn a bid the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. 

In the men's triple jump, recently departed Sun Devil Chris Benard finished seventh overall with a best leap of 16.77m (55-00.25).  The school record holder in the indoor and outdoor triple jumps was just two centimeters out of a top-five finish.

Former All-American Charonda Williams capped the day for the Sun Devils with the fourth-fastest time in the women's 100-meter dash prelims, clocking in at 11.33 into a -1.4 headwind to advance to tomorrow's semifinals.

And as if the day wasn't busy enough for Arizona State, a pair of newcomers were making their mark in the Junior USA Championships, which were hosted in conjunction with the USA Championships. 

Tatum Taylor finished seventh overall in the junior men's 100-meter dash with a time of 10.90 into a miserable -4.8 headwind.  Taylor was fifth overall in the qualifying round earlier in the day with a time of 10.65, also into a -2.7 headwind.

Incoming Sun Devil Maggie Ewen took third overall in the junior women's shot put with a throw of 14.47m (47-05.75).

Friday will be a far less busy day for those with Sun Devil ties with only Pinnick finishing the heptathlon, Williams in the semi-final and perhaps final of the 100-meter dash and Houlihan in the 800-meter semi-final.  A recap of their performances will be available following the day's competition.

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