It’s a final shot, a first chance, a shot at redemption and a homecoming all wrapped into one. This week’s NCAA outdoor track and field championships is all of these things to the members of the Arizona State track team.
When the meet opens today at the Alex G. Spanos Athletic Complex in Sacramento, Calif., 23 Sun Devils will be out for All-America awards and national championships, but none will be after more than Porchea Carroll.
The senior from Oxnard, Calif. will be busy all week, competing in four events, the 100 and 200 meters, the 400-meter relay and the long jump. Carroll, who is still looking for her first All-America honor, likes the thought of being busy in what will be her final collegiate event.
"It makes the meet go by fast," Carroll said. "You’re always doing something."
Carroll’s career at ASU has been marked by steady progress. She ran the 100 and 200 in 11.95 and 24.38 seconds, respectively, as a freshman and has improved each year and heads into the NCAA meet with personal bests of 11.44 and 23.32.
"When you come out of high school, you think everything is just going to happen right away," Carroll said. "I learned that it’s a gradual thing and it means more because it took so much time and effort to get those improvements."
Carroll is one of eight seniors making their final outdoor appearance as a Sun Devil. One of those seniors is Westwood High School graduate Jason Barton, who will run the 400 and a leg on the men’s 1,600 relay team that is out for redemption.
Last year, the squad of Barton, Domenik Peterson, Seth Amoo and Lewis Banda (who all return this year), had a 15-meter lead heading into the third leg. On that leg, Peterson dropped the baton and had to go back and pick it up. The Devils rebounded to finish fourth, but the team views that as a disappointment.
"It would mean a lot to win because every year we’ve made it to nationals and haven’t won yet," said Amoo, whose team is seeded third this season. "Last year we could have got it, but we had a little mistake."
For two Sun Devils, the meet is a homecoming of sorts. Redshirt freshman Jessica Pressley will be making her first return home, while senior Trevell Quinley will be making his last.
Pressley, from Elk Grove, Calif., just 15 miles from Sacramento, qualified for two events. She is currently seeded fifth in the shot put with her school-record throw of 55 feet, 11 3 /4 inches and seventh in the hammer throw. Top-eight finishers earn All-America honors.
Quinley is from Tracy, Calif., just 45 minutes from the track and said he expects a big group of family and friends to attend the meet.
"They are all going to be there, I’m going to have quite an entourage," Quinley said. "I’m definitely looking forward to competing in Sacramento again. Last time I competed at that track, I won (high school) state, so I’m hoping to continue that trend."
Quinley has a good chance to continue his win streak in Sacramento. He holds the best collegiate mark of the year in the long jump at 26-9 3 /4.
NCAA outdoor track championships
When: Today-Saturday Where: Alex G. Spanos Athletic Complex, Sacramento, Calif.
The following Arizona State athletes will compete this week in the NCAA outdoor track and field championships. (events in parentheses)
Porchea Carroll, Sr. (100, 200, LJ, 400 relay) Cassandra Reed, Sr. (400 400 relay) Rachel Ellison, Jr. (1,500) Anna Masinelli, So. (3,000 steeple) Desiree Davila, Sr. (5,000) Amy Hastings, So. (10,000) Victoria Jackson, Sr. (10,000) Kandace Tucker, Jr. (200, 400 relay) Christina Hardeman, Jr. (400 relay) Angela Tavlarides, Sr. (PV) Jessica Pressley, Fr. (Shot, hammer) Julia Pedersen, Sr. (Shot, discus)
Steven Koehnemann, So. (100, 400 relay) Seth Amoo, Sr. (200, 400 relay, 1,600 relay) Domenik Peterson, So. (400, 400 relay, 1,600 relay) Jason Barton, Sr. (400, 1,600 relay) Aaron Aguayo, So. (3,000 steeple) Ryan Warrenburg, Jr. (3,000 steeple) Casey Burchill, Jr. (10,000) Kelvin Love, Fr. (400 relay) Lewis Banda, Jr. (1,600 relay) Trevell Quinley, Sr. (LJ) Ryan Zimmerman, Jr. (TJ)