ASU track and field produces two national champions in Eugene

ASU track and field has had at least one national champion in an outdoor event every year since 2006.

That trend continued in the NCAA Championships that took place in Eugene, Oregon. Junior Shelby Houlihan finished the 1,500-meter race in four minutes and 18.10 seconds to become the first Sun Devil to win that event.

Houlihan finished more than a second ahead of second-place winner Cory McGee of Florida. With a title under her belt, Houlihan adds to her impressive résumé that includes school records in the 800 and 1,500. She was also an All-American for both cross country and indoor track this season.

It was a much deserved accomplishment for Houlihan, who has been a star for ASU since her freshman year. She was the first student-athlete to be the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year in both cross-country and track and field.

Houlihan was not the only ASU athlete in the winner’s circle. Redshirt junior Bryan McBride posted a lifetime best to beat Minnesota’s Wally Ellenson on the high jump on his final try to take the title.

McBride’s jump of seven feet and 5.75 inches cemented him as the first Sun Devil winner of the high jump since Kyle Arney in 1977.

McBride, much like Houlihan, has also enjoyed a very successful collegiate career. He finished sixth at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships and was a second-team All-American in the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships for the high jump.

ASU track and field now has 33 women’s outdoor titles while the men’s program has 24. The program has also produced five NCAA team titles and 16 Olympic medalists.

Despite the individual national championship winning performances, it was the host Oregon Ducks that won the men’s team title with a meet record 88 points. Winning the women’s team title was Texas A&M;, winners of eight national championships in the past six years.

Up next for track and field is the USA Track and Field Senior Championships in Sacramento, California. The events will be held June 26-29. It will also be the last meet for the track and field team this season.

Both Houlihan and McBride will be honored at Chase Field as the Arizona Diamondbacks face off against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday.

Reach the reporter at hkossodo@asu.edu or on Twitter @HKossodo