ASU track and field set for Double Dual

AN ARIZONA AFFAIR: Freshman Jeremy Marcinko prepares to throw the javelin during the Baldy Castillo Invitational last month at Sun Angel Stadium. The Sun Devils will take on UA and NAU in the Double Dual in Tucson this weekend. (Photo by Scott Stuk)

The sport of track and field may be different from other collegiate athletic events because there are no conference standings or win-loss records. But the rivalries are just as heated.

The ASU men’s and women’s track and field teams will compete in the Double Dual meet this weekend against UA and NAU at Drachman Stadium in Tucson.

While the three teams compete against each other in various meets throughout both the indoor and outdoor seasons, this upcoming meet provides fierce competition and bragging rights for the next year.

Head coach Greg Kraft said he takes satisfaction in beating UA and NAU, but his team is more concerned with placing well at Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA Championships. This especially applies to the Sun Devil men, who are currently ranked No. 4 in the country.

“Obviously, you want to win the rivalry meet, but you also have to do what’s best for the team” Kraft said. “You’re trying to be smart with what you’re doing with personnel and don’t want to sacrifice the big prize.”

Still, Kraft said, he expects the scoring between the teams to be tightly contested.

“It’s always pretty close, and the margin in a pretty fine line,” he said. “Just because we win the dual doesn’t mean we’ll beat them at the Pac-10 meet.”

Kraft also noted that all of his athletes are competing, as a few were given last weekend off as a resting period.

For the athletes, the rivalry meet is about representing their school with pride and nothing more. They are focused on turning in fast times and getting prepared for the bigger meets ahead.

Even though the ASU women are not nationally ranked, they still have high hopes of finishing well at the Pac-10 meet. Senior sprinter/hurdler Jasmine Chaney said she is looking forward to the challenge that UA and NAU will provide.

“It’s a meet where we have to get better for Pac-10s,” Chaney said. “We have to be able to beat them.”

While junior distance runner Anna Sperry isn’t fond of UA, she is more interested in improving her time in the 5,000-meter race.

“We don’t like losing to UA, and it’s going to be head-to-head with those girls,” Sperry said. “But I’m looking forward to just competing hard.”

Senior sprinter Joel Phillip, a confident, veteran Double Dual competitor, said the men’s team is more focused on being at its peak performance for the upcoming conference and national meets.

“We’re way better, and it’s just another chance to compete,” Phillip said. “We’re going to just execute.”

All events will take place Saturday, leading off with the hammer throw at 4 p.m. The ASU heptathletes and decathletes will compete in the Pac-10 Multi Championships next weekend in Berkeley, Calif. All other events will take place at the Pac-10 Championships May 15 and 16 in Berkeley.

Reach the reporter at eric.l.smith@asu.edu