Track athletes hoping to qualify at MPSF Championships

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Friday, February 26, 2010
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That is the buzzword being thrown around the ASU track and field team and its coaches this week.

As the team heads to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships this weekend, the goal is simple for all athletes: qualify.

ASU head coach Greg Kraft knows what time of year it is and that the calendar has almost turned to March. He knows the NCAA Indoor Championships are just two weeks away.

He needs as many athletes as possible to hit their event’s provisional or automatic qualifying marks this weekend, especially from the No. 5 Sun Devil men and their distance medley relay team.

“The focus for us is to get as many people qualified as possible,” Kraft said. “I definitely feel we have the personnel to do so.”

With only two meets remaining for the men’s DMR team to qualify, Kraft knows this weekend would be an ideal time to do so, especially running against tough competition.

“I think we just need to show up, compete well and get it done,” he said, noting that the pace of the race should be fast.

ASU senior sprinter Donald Sanford said this week’s meet is also a big test for the men’s team as a whole. Sanford, who expects to run the 400-meter leg on the DMR, said he is confident in his teammates and himself.

“Our expectation is go out there and make a statement,” he said. “We have a talented group of guys, and we know we’re ready to take on the nation’s best.”

Two Sun Devil throwers, seniors Ryan Whiting and Jason Lewis, will be heading to the USATF Indoor Championships on Saturday and Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M., where they will square off against some of the best throwers in the country.

As for the ASU women, the goal for them is the same as the men: qualify.

Kraft said he is looking at various event groups to step up and meet the necessary requirements for nationals.

He noted that juniors Kari Hardt and Anna Sperry should be close to qualifying in the 3000-meter race, where the duo was successful a few meets ago.

“They are better than they were two weeks ago,” Kraft said. “But they still need to go out and execute.”
Sperry hopes her training sessions will pay off as she tries to improve from her last performance.

“Our workouts have been going well,” Sperry said. “I was pleased with my last race, but I want to hit 9:20.”

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