ASU track and field breaks records in Seattle, Albuquerque

The ASU men’s and women’s track and field team finished two meets Saturday: The Don Kirby Invitational in Albuquerque and the Husky Classic in Seattle both wrapped up competition this weekend.

In New Mexico, one of the team’s best overall performances came in the men’s and women’s 400-meter dash. In the women’s race, juniors Brianna Tate and Sara McDonald both finished in the top 10. Tate placed third with her time of 53.96 seconds. McDonald, while only finishing seventh, shattered her personal record in the race with a time of 54.99 seconds. Her previous best was 56 seconds.

In the men’s 400-meter, seniors Will Henry and Keith Cleveland also finished inside the top-10 and both set new season bests. Cleveland ran the race in 47.57 seconds for eighth place while Henry placed fourth with a time of 47.16 seconds.
 
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Coach Greg Kraft said the success for all four of those athletes, who also run in the relays, is due to the overall team’s “grind-it-out” attitude.

“It was just stepping forward and that’s one of the things we talk about is just being very persistent, competing and chipping away,” Kraft said.

After qualifying for the race earlier in the day, freshman Micha Auzenne set a new personal record in the 60-meter hurdles finals. Auzenne finished third in the race with her time of 8.34 seconds, breaking her previous record of 8.52 seconds.

“[Auzenne] had a nice weekend,” Kraft said. “For her to run a sub-8.40 this early in her career, that was a nice run for her in the 60-meter hurdles.”

In the women’s pole vault, senior Heather Arseneau continued to reach the 14-foot bar to get her a spot in nationals. Arseneau placed fifth in the event with a highest jump of 4.21 meters, a little more than 0.5 meters away from her goal. The jump was still a new personal best for Arseneau.

Kraft said Arseneau will eventually clear the 14-foot bar.

“Heather obviously has developed some tremendous consistency at a very high level,” Kraft said. “it’s just a matter of time before she gets that 4.30 (meter) bar.”

Redshirt senior Anna Jelmini and redshirt freshman Ashley Weber both set new bests in the shot put. Jelmini set a new season best with a throw of 16.83 meters and finishing second in the event. Weber set a new personal record with 15.36 meters and finishing sixth in the event. Redshirt junior Alex Hartig finished 10th with a toss of 14.31 meters.

In the men’s 4×400 relay, the ASU team of Keith Cleveland, Devan Spann, Daveon Collins and Will Henry placed second in the race while running the relay in 3 minutes, 7 seconds. That time is a new season best for the team and will likely land them in ASU’s record book.

The women’s relay team had similar success in Albuquerque. The team of Sara McDonald, Sarah Geren, Troya Franklin and Brianna Tate also finished second in their race and set a new personal best with a time of 3:36.

Kraft attributed the success of both relay teams to both the teams getting healthy and more in tune as the season goes on.

“The kids’ being dialed in and understanding that the clock is ticking,” Kraft said. “Especially in the second half of the season. It was a good performance to see by both relays.”

Two ASU men broke their own personal records in the shot put in Albuquerque. Redshirt freshman Thomas Anderson placed sixth in the event, breaking his previous record of 18.40 meters with a throw of 18.45 meters. Redshirt junior Kyle Lillie finished ninth with a throw of 17.60 meters, shattering his previous best of 17.21 meters.

“Tom Anderson is really a guy that is showing ability at a young age that he has the makings of being a champion,” Kraft said. “He really competed well, he was the top freshman in the meet.”

Freshman Kala Stone was the first Sun Devil to place in the top 10 at the Husky Classic on Saturday with her performance in the 800-meter race. Stone finished seventh in the race with a time of 2:12.

Kraft seemed very pleased with the performances for his team in both Seattle and in Albuquerque.

“All in all, it was our best weekend of the indoor season without question,” Kraft said. “So we’re overall pleased with the positive steps that we took this weekend.”

Reach the reporter at wslane@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @bill_slane