UA track teams will be hard to beat in Double Dual at ASU

This weekend will present an opportunity for the three Arizona D-I universities to go head-to-head on the track in the annual Double Dual in Tempe.

And each of the schools is bringing something to the party.

Both Arizona State and Northern Arizona are coming off a successful weekend at the Sun Devil Open, where the Devils collected 13 wins and put up four of the best marks in school history.  The Lumberjacks found success in the field events, including a conference-leading performance in the shot put.

Meanwhile, the University of Arizona squads have used the prestigious Texas Relays and Mt. SAC Relays to sharpen their competitive edge, but took last weekend off to get ready for the Double Dual.

Ryan Milus, a freshman from Hamilton High School in Chandler, had a huge showing for ASU last weekend, winning the 100m dash (10.07) and 200m dash (20.91), and then anchoring the 4×100 relay that posted a best time of 40.36.

In the field, Bryan McBride was a multi-event winner for ASU.  The freshman from Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Peoria, won the high jump (7’01”) and long jump (23’8 1/4″).  His high jump mark was just the second mark of 7’01” or better turned in by an ASU men’s team member since 1992.

Chris Benard won the triple jump with a final of 49’01” to give ASU a sweep of the horizontal jumps, and Marc Peck won the javelin with a 210’11” heave.

On the women’s side, ASU will be counting on Sarah Greene, who won the 400m hurdles at the Sun Devil Open in a time of 1:00.83, and a strong group in the field events.  Alycia Herring won the long jump (20’02.25″), Christabel Nettey won the triple jump (40’04.75″), and Samantha Henderson took the shot put title with a toss of 40’06.75″.  The Devils swept the long jump, taking the top three places.

Northern Arizona, too, does well in the field events.  Lauren Laszczak, a freshman from Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson, set a meet record in the women’s high jump last weekend, clearing 5’07”.  And Andres Rossini also set a meet record by winning the men’s discus with a throw of 182’09”, while Paul Osunwa took the shot put title and set the Big Sky Conference’s top mark by throwing 55’03”.

But University of Arizona comes into the Dual with a men’s team that is ranked No. 9 in the country, and a women’s team sitting in the No. 7 spot.

The Wildcats have the top two distance runners in the country at 5,000 meters.  Junior Stephen Sambu holds the top time, finishing in 13:34.19 at the Mt. SAC Relays, which is also the second-fastest time in school history.  Teammate Lawi Lalang holds the country’s second-best time, 13:34.62, which is also a new school freshman record.

Arizona’s women’s team also features the country’s No. 1 in the shot put in Julie Labonte and No. 1 in the high jump in Brigetta Barrett.  Both are sophomores.

The men’s team is currently in second place in the Pac-10 and has seven on the squad who are ranked among the nation’s top-10 in their respective events.  The women are in third place and have six in the top-10.

And there’s more than just individual wins riding on the outcome of this weekend’s event.

Should either Arizona’s men’s or women’s team best ASU at the Dual Meet, it would wrap up a Territorial Cup victory for the second straight year.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)