TEMPE, Ariz. – Redshirt freshman Wesley Lavong won the collegiate/open division of the shot put at the Sun Angel Classic hosted by Arizona State on Saturday. Lavong’s performance highlights a day in which the Grizzlies notched five provisional performances.
Lavong, who earned all-American honors in the shot put indoors, uncorked a huge personal best with a distance of 17.59 meters (57 feet, 8 ½ inches) in the prelims to enter the finals with the top mark. Though unable to improve upon that toss, his distance stood up through the finals and allowed him to beat out a field that included more than 20 D-I throwers.
Just 20 centimeters away from an automatic NCAA Championships qualifying mark, Lavong now ranks fourth in D-II in the shot put.
The Grizzlies would also add a pair of qualifiers in both the 1,500-meter run and long jump.
Drew Graham and Ryan McNiff finished just one-tenth of a second apart in the premier heat of the 1,500 against a field that included several elites, including Grizzly grad and McMillan Elite team member Aaron Braun.
Graham crossed the line ninth overall with a time of 3 minutes, 45.99 seconds with McNiff right behind in 10th with a PR of 3:46.09. Both times were provisional marks and currently rank as the top two times in D-II this season.
Drew Soucy was also in action in the premier heat, coming 1.3 seconds shy of a provisional mark at 3:53.80.
James Douglas and recent indoor all-American Alex Estes both posted provisional marks in the collegiate/open long jump competition Saturday. Douglas posted a new outdoor-best mark of 7.38 meters (24’2 ½”) to place third, while Estes’ mark of 7.18 meters (23’6 ¾’) was three centimeters over the minimum standard and was good for seventh. Douglas and Estes now rank eighth and 15th in D-II, respectively.
Also competing in a premier heat at the Sun Angel Classic was Calvin Fletcher in the 400-meter dash. Fletcher’s time of 49.13 seconds was off the provisional mark but still good enough for ninth place in the event.
Running in the collegiate/open section of the 400, Steven Lara posted a time of 50.85 seconds.
Kevin Batt and Brandon Birdsong ran in the collegiate/open 1,500 meters. Competing unattached, Batt clocked a time of 3:55.86 with Birdsong, an indoor 5,000 meter all-American this past winter, finishing in 4:03.75.
Alfred Hines, Jr. lead a trio of Grizzlies who all finished within one quarter of a second and four places of each other in the 100 meter hurdles. Led by Hines’ time of 15.75 seconds, Pierce Fair came across in 15.88 and sophomore Michael Geiger was close behind in 15.99.
Douglas and Hines teamed up with Josh Browning and Justin Cropper to put up the Grizzlies’ best time this season in the 4×100 meter relay in 42.34 seconds.
Graham’s D-II leading time is the second of the year for ASC, as he joins Luke Cragg, who still owns the national lead in the 10,000 meter run with a time of 29:24.01 from the Stanford Invitational on March 26.