ASU track and field’s record-setting performance almost didn’t happen in New Mexico

As the ASU men’s and women’s track team prepares to spilt up for the first time this season for meets in Flagstaff and in College Station, Texas, coach Greg Kraft reflected on the team’s performance in New Mexico on Saturday; specifically on one athlete who almost did not make the trip.

While the women’s team only finished fifth out of the nine teams and the men finished last of the nine teams at the New Mexico Invite, there were some impressive individual performances.

“Some of it you really can’t measure,” Kraft said. “Because for a lot of our athletes that was their first time being on a banked track.”

 
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ASU will be making the trip to New Mexico two more times this season, once for the USA Track and Field Championships in February and again for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

“It really would be a better assessment for me when we come back in two weeks from our second trip there, because then we’ll have been on the banks three times,” Kraft said.

One of the highlights for ASU on Saturday was the pole vaulting event. For the men, senior Derick Hinch took third place with a jump of 5.25 meters. Arseneau again took first place for the women, setting a new personal record with 4.17 meters.

“I feel like the things I’m working on in practice are reflecting in my vaults,” Arseneau said. “My confidence is building in each meet so far, so I’m happy with that.”

Arseneau takes pride in the fact that she was able to break her own personal record Saturday, especially in the venue where nationals will be held.

“It feels great. It’s a huge reward for all the practice paying off. It’s just the best reward you can get is to break your own record,” Arseneau said.

What is more impressive about Arseneau’s feat Saturday is that she almost did not make the trip to Albuquerque with the team.

“She was throwing up Thursday night, sick with the flu, and didn’t think she’d be able to go,” Kraft said. “But she woke up and felt better and got on the plane and lo and behold she jumps that night and sets a personal best.”

Kraft didn’t seem too surprised with Arseneau’s ability to excel even when under the weather.

“I think Heather is someone that’s a senior and obviously coach (Ron) Barela has done a great job with her, and she comes from a great high school program with coach Jeff Guy,” Kraft said. “She just does a great job of competing and so we’re not surprised that she can have that type of performance.”

Arseneau will be going to Flagstaff along with Kraft and other jumpers this weekend for the Mt. T Invitational where she says she wants to clear 14 feet (approximately 4.27 meters). Arseneau and the rest of her teammates continue to work to qualify for nationals.

Reach the reporter at wslane@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @bill_slane