ASU track and field turns its attention to outdoor season

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Sophomore distance runner Adriana Olivas runs the track at a practice in Tempe. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez)

With the indoor track and field season coming to close after the 2014 NCAA championships, the ASU men’s and women’s track and field team will turn its sights to the outdoor season, the first meet being the Baldy Castillo Invite this weekend in Tempe.

At the national meet in Albuquerque, three Sun Devils became All-Americans.

Junior Shelby Houlihan again broke the school record for the mile run after altitude adjustment and placed third in the mile finals. Redshirt senior Ryan Milus set a personal best in the 60-meter dash and placed second in the race. And redshirt senior Anna Jelmini placed seventh in the shot put to earn her All-America honor.

For Jelmini and Milus, it was their last indoor season of their collegiate careers.

“It’s really crazy because I can’t believe that I’m already done with my last indoor season,” Jelmini said.

Neither Houlihan, Jelmini nor Milus will be competing in the team’s first outdoor meet this weekend, but they are still preparing for the different challenges competing outdoors brings.

“Well, you don’t have to deal with the weather factor which is really nice for indoors,” Houlihan said. “But the other side of that is (Sun Angel Stadium) is a 400-meter track versus a 200-meter track so it’s not as many laps, which is nice, too.”

Aside from the physical aspect, Milus, who ran the 60-meter during the indoor season, said there is also an important mental factor when competing outdoors.

“Outdoors, you have to stay a little bit more patient,” Milus said. “Because it’s a little bit longer season and there’s no 60-meter there’s only the 100-meter, so staying patient in the 100 and staying relaxed towards the end is the biggest difference outdoors.”

With several of the outdoor meets being at Sun Angel Stadium, the team is also looking forward to taking advantage being in a place they are more than familiar with.

“It’s definitely an advantage,” Houlihan said. “Plus, you have the home crowd, people coming out and cheering you on. It’s just kind of a neat environment to race in.”

Coach Greg Kraft spoke about his team this weekend and what the first outdoor meet of the season means.

“Just getting out and competing,” Kraft said. “It really is about competing. And so we’re about 12 weeks out from the Pac-12 championship, and that’s what we want to do, is to be competitive.”

As far as expectations and goals go for the outdoor season, Kraft said those never change.

“Top three at conference, top 10 at nationals,” Kraft said. “We try to have that as our standard.”

Kraft has high goals for the program as a whole as well, and competing well in the outdoor season will go along well in that.

“We want to be a blue ribbon program, a gold medal program,” Kraft said.

The team’s outdoor season begins this weekend in Tempe with the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Sun Angel Stadium. The meet will begin on Friday at 1 p.m. and continue the next day at 10 a.m.

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