On the schedule it’s just another early season meet.
Upon closer inspection, one reads that the site of this weekend’s meet is College Station, Texas.
It is a site that will host another meet exactly one month from this one.
However, the ASU track and field team’s trip there in March will carry much bigger implications.
This weekend’s meet on the Texas A&M campus will provide the Sun Devils with an opportunity to dig their spikes into the same track they will compete on for this year’s NCAA Indoor Championship.
“I think that it definitely helps [our team] to get out there and preview the facility,” coach Greg Kraft said. “To a large extent it’s more important for the coaches to get out there as far as [previewing] the warm-up area and [seeing] how we [will] manage the down time in between races.”
However, the opportunity to sample the confines of this year’s championship will not extend to everyone.
Many of the distance runners will open their indoor season in Seattle, Wash., at the Husky Classic on Saturday.
ASU will also be without senior Donald Sanford who has performed exceptionally in his first season as a Sun Devil after transferring from Morgan State.
Coach Kraft said Sanford aggravated some scar tissue in his hamstring and will likely be redshirted.
Filling in for Sanford will be junior Ray Miller.
Miller will have the task of replacing one of the top quarter-milers in the country in the 4x400 meter relay.
“[Miller] has raced well for us this year… and it takes four guys to put it together [to win the relay],” Kraft said.
The men’s 4x400 relay team is a small portion of the large contingency that has consistently performed well this season for ASU.
In particular, senior Sarah Stevens has shown she has what it takes to be one of the top throwers in the country.
Stevens was recently named athlete of the week by ASU after the 10-time All-American claimed the national lead in the weight throw.
As a member of the past two national championship teams, Stevens has seen what it takes to be among the country’s elite.
Stevens has also seen a lot of the talent that made up those teams move on, which she said is the reason most people don’t think they are the favorites to defend their title for a third time.
“[Being underdogs] is fuel for us. It pushes us a little harder,” Stevens said. “We enjoy proving people wrong.”
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