by Jeremy Hawkes
As the Arizona State University men’s and women’s track and field teams prepare for the opening rounds of the NCAA Championships in Austin next weekend, it is worth nothing the exceptional performance both squads put up at this past weekend’s Pac-12 Championships.
Just how exceptional? Well, here are a couple notes to help put the performance into perspective.
*The Sun Devils won eight total conference championships this year (seven individual, one relay). That was the team’s second-highest tally at a Pac-10/12 Championship in school history. Only the 2008 squad, where the squad won 13 total titles en route to a victory on the women’s side and a runner-up finish for the men, fared better.
*ASU’s eight titles were the second-most of any team in the conference. Only Oregon (9) had a better outing.
TOTAL 2013 PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
9 - Oregon
8 - ARIZONA STATE
7 - USC
6 - Arizona
3 - Stanford
2 - Colorado
2 - Washington
2 - Cal
2 - UCLA
1 - Washington State
*In finishing third overall, the ASU women have now finished in the top-four at the Pac-10/12 Championships in 11 of the last 12 seasons (since 2002). No other school in the conference can lay such a claim (Stanford has done so in 10 of the last 12). Taking that even a step more, ASU has been in the top-three at the conference championships in eight of the last nine seasons (since 2005). Again, no other school can lay such a claim (Stanford has done so in seven of the last nine).
*On the men’s side following the team’s fourth-place finish this past weekend, the Sun Devils have been a top-four team in 11 of the last 14 seasons (since 2000). Only USC and Oregon (both 12 of 14) have a better track record in that time.
*Keia Pinnick was named the Athlete of the Meet for the women as she helped contribute toward 29 teams points out of the 110.3 the Sun Devils scored. Pinnick won the heptathlon before coming back and taking third and fourth in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles, respectively. The Pac-12 first started honoring a men’s and women’s athlete of the meet beginning in 2008. With Pinnick’s honor, the Sun Devils have now won four of the six honors given out on the women’s side since then. If you count the men’s side as well, ASU has won six of the 12 Athlete of the Meet honors awarded in history and has earned one in all but one of those seasons.
ARIZONA STATE PAC-12 ATHLETES OF THE MEET
2013 – Keia Pinnick (W)
2012 – Jordan Clarke (M)
2011 – Jasmine Chaney (W)
2009 – Sarah Stevens (W)
2008 – Jacquelyn Johnson (W)
2008 – Matt Turner (M)
*The Sun Devils set two meet records at the competition in Christabel Nettey (long jump) and Chelsea Cassulo (hammer throw). Nettey had knocked off one of the longest-standing records in the conference as she downed Gail Devers’ 1987 long jump record with her winning leap of 6.68m (21-11.00). Devers (yes, that Gail Devers) held the previous record with her mark of 6.65m (21-10.00). Cassulo knocked off former USC standout Eva Orban’s meet record of 67.53m (221-07) set in 2006 with her winning mark of 68.00m (223-01).
*In winning the men’s 4x100-meter relay for the second consecutive season, the Sun Devils became the first team to do so since UCLA in 2009 and 2010 and just the seventh team in Pac-12 history to repeat as champions.
*Shelby Houlihan, a sophomore, led wire-to-wire in a 1500 win with a time of 4:14.84 to take down a field that included no fewer than five former All-American seniors – including the two-time defending Pac-12 Champion, Jordan Hasay of Oregon. In doing so, she became the first Sun Devil to win a Pac-10/12 title in the event since Kim Toney did it in back-to-back years in 1993 and 1994.
*Jordan Clarke and Anna Jelmini made a bit of history, as they each became three time conference champions in the shot put and discus events, respectively. Clarke became the first person to accomplish three shot put titles since Olympian John Godina did it for UCLA from 1993-95. It was just the fourth time in conference history an athlete had accomplished the feat (with the other two taking place back in the 1960s). Jelmini became just the second person to ever win three discus titles behind former UCLA standout Dawn Dumble, who won four during her career (1991-93, ’95). Oddly enough, Dawn was Jelmini’s first throws coach in her career. And even more oddly enough, Dawn is the sister of Dave Dumble, the ASU throws coach and Jelmini’s current coach.
*With Nick Happe’s win in the 5,000-meter run, the Sun Devils have now won three of the last six conference titles in the event.
*Christabel Nettey’s victory in the long jump gives ASU seven victories in conference history - the most in the conference.
*Keia Pinnick’s heptathlon victory was ASU’s fifth in the event in conference history, which is tied for first in the conference. However, all five of those have come in the last decade as the Sun Devils have dominated the event since 2004.
*With a win in the men’s 4x100-meter dash, the Sun Devils continued to exact their dominance in the men’s relays since 2000. The victory was ASU’s 12th relay victory since the turn of the millennium, more than any school in the conference. USC is second on that list with nine.
*The ASU women have had one Pac-12 champion in 16 straight seasons, the second-longest active streak behind Stanford’s current running tally of 17. The Sun Devil men have also had a conference champion in 16 straight seasons.
*The men’s distance team scored 25 points toward the team’s total in a fourth-place finish this weekend. That was the second most among any distance team, trailing only Colorado. So yes, more than perennial powerhouses Oregon and Stanford.