ASU track and field wrapped up day one of the Baldy Castillo Invitational on Friday night, the team’s first outdoor meet of the season.
Starting in the early afternoon, the men and women competed in the hammer throw. Both the men’s and the women’s teams had three athletes each competing in the event.
Junior Jessika Byrd placed second in the event with a throw of 61.10 meters, getting beaten out by just 0.57 meters for first place. Redshirt freshman Ashley Weber placed seventh with a throw of 55.36 meters. Sophomore Ginger Jarchow rounded out the top 10 with her throw of 49.73 meters.
The men had two of their athletes finish in the top 10 of the hammer throw. Redshirt junior Ryan Leslie placed seventh with a throw of 58.20 meters, while redshirt junior Kyle Lillie placed 10th with a throw of 55.59 meters. The last of the Sun Devils, redshirt freshman Kyle Long, placed 14th with a throw of 51.78 meters.
Later in the evening were the men’s and women’s 1500-meter races. The men’s race included three heats while the women only had a single heat.
In the women’s race, the star for the Sun Devils was junior Payton Schutte, who finished second with a time of 4 minutes, 23 seconds.
“Payton’s done a nice job of learning over the past few years and had a breakthrough race tonight,” assistant coach Ryan Cole said. “It was a nine-second (personal record) for her, and it was a long time coming.”
Also making it into the top five was Adriana Olivas, who placed fourth with a time of 4:26.
“Adriana actually did a tempo run this morning,” Cole said. “So she was doubling back off of that, she’s a 10,000-meter runner and to run as fast as she did shows she’s pretty fit. That’ll help her confidence going in to her goal races but this was just a glorified training session for her.”
The women also had freshman Kala Stone (4:28) and freshman Chelsey Totten (4:31 finish in the top 10. They placed sixth and seventh respectively.
“I think it was very positive,” Cole said. “But it’s just a start. It’s one race and the season is a lot longer than that.”
On the men’s side, there were less positives, as the only athlete to place in the top 10 was redshirt sophomore Ryan Herson with a time of three minutes and 50 seconds.
Assistant coach Louie Quintana was disappointed by the men’s performance, but one athlete still stood out to him.
“I thought we’d run a lot better,” Quintana said. “Ryan Herson was ninth and he fell, so that was good that he got back up and still run 3:50. So that was a good run for him and he is clearly ready to run.”
Quintana said he hopes the men learn from their finish today to improve..
“I think some of our guys bit off a little bit more than they could chew,” Quintana said. “Some guys went out there cowering the first 800 meters, which is fine. It’s early in the year so they can kind of get out there and put themselves in the mix that’s always a good thing.”
Quintana also said that some of the athletes need to be “more mentally resilient.”
The Baldy Castillo Invite will continue Saturday at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe beginning at 10 a.m.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bill_slane