The Five: 5 ASU athletes you should know
TEMPE, Ariz. — Football and basketball grab most of the headlines, but there are other Arizona State athletes doing remarkable things this season.
Here are five whose names you should know.
Thrower Maggie Ewen: Ewen had a record-setting junior season. She broke the Pac-12, ASU and American collegiate records in the hammer throw at the first outdoor meet of the season before eventually breaking it again at the Duel in the Desert. The St. Francis, Minnesota-native captured the Pac-12 title in the hammer throw, discus and shot put, becoming just the second thrower ever to win three conference titles in the same meet, and just the fourth female athlete in any sport to do it. Ewen already won the hammer at the NCAA Regionals in Austin, Texas to qualify for the NCAA Championship. She will try to do the same in the discus and shot put this weekend, as she eyes an Olympic future.
Triathlete Katie Gorczyca: Gorczyca, a junior from Las Vegas, transferred from the Colorado Springs Elite Triathlon Academy this fall and made an immediate impact at ASU. She won her first ever NCAA race at the Central Regional Qualifier in Naperville, Illinois on Sept. 5; she finished second at the West Regional Qualifier in Berkeley, California on Oct. 8; and she finished second as the Sun Devils won the national championship in New Orleans on Nov. 5 in the program’s first year of existence. The Sun Devils will bring back every athlete from that team next season.
Golfer Monica Vaughn: The senior from Reedsport, Oregon won the NCAA individual title on May 22 at the NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. She then led the Sun Devils to their NCAA-best ninth national title by rallying on the final hole of a semifinal match with Stanford’s Albane Valenzuela to force extra holes, where she won. Vaughn, who flew straight from the tournament to the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Golf Championship The Dunes Golf & Beach Club Myrtle Beach, is the first player to win NCAA individual and team titles in the same year since USC’s Annie Park in 2013. Vaughn also finished fifth at the 2015 NCAA Championship and will likely turn pro.
Swimmer Cameron Craig: Talk to the Sun Devils’ highly accomplished coach, Bob Bowman, and you’ll hear all you need to know about Craig. “He’s one of the top two or three — if not the best — freshmen in the country in his races,” Bowman said. That’s high praise from the guy who guided Michael Phelps. Craig, a freshman from Monroe, Michigan was the Pac-12 Champion in the 100 Free and 200 Free, and finished fifth at the NCAA Championship in the 200 Free. Bowman sees a big future for Craig.
Wrestler Zahid Valencia: The redshirt freshman from Bellflower, California went 38-1 in dual matches this season and was ranked No. 1 virtually the entire season at 174 pounds. He was named Pac-12 Wrestler of the Year. Valencia’s only loss came in the NCAA Championships, when he fell to eventual champ Mark Hall of Penn State in the semifinals. Valencia took third place and will be a favorite the next three years to capture the NCAA title, setting up a potentially great rivalry with Hall, who was also a freshman.