The ASU men’s and women’s track and field teams are preparing for their second outdoor meet of the season and its second straight home meet at Sun Angel Stadium.
Starting March 28, ASU will host the 2014 Arizona State Invitational. Some of the schools competing include Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and UA. Only two events, the hammer throw and the javelin, will be Friday with the majority of field events and all of the running events being the next day.
One of the events that often brings the most attention and interest is the men’s and women’s relays, and after the performances both teams had at the Baldy Castillo Invitational, they both will certainly be in the spotlight this weekend.
“All of us ran well (at Baldy),” senior Will Henry said. “A couple of us are a little dinged up, but we’re just trying to stay healthy, and it’s going to come, because we’re training well.”
Henry himself was scratched after feeling some tightness in his left leg after running the 100-meter dash Saturday. Henry said he can still sprint on it and doesn’t think it will affect him this weekend.
“It’s not worth really overworking it,” Henry said. “So we’re just kind of playing it day-by-day.”
Henry also said that since the team is so early in the outdoor season, it’s better to be cautious with a leg injury of this nature.
“It’s one of those things where I can just work through it and be healthy when it counts,” Henry said.
Fellow relay team member, redshirt junior Devan Spann, also said he has been dealing with a foot injury.
“Being the type of person that I am, I’m not going to let it stop me from helping the team,” Spann said.
Spann also said that if the injury is bothering him enough during the Invitational, he’d be willing to scratch out his individual events to run in the relay races.
“I feel like it’s more important to run in the relays then in the individual races,” Spann said.
Spann does perform well in the individual races as well, as his time of 10.37 seconds in the 100-meter dash Saturday is the second-best in the nation right now, and is first in the conference.
In the mind of the men’s relay team, these kinds of injuries are the only thing keeping them from being the best in the nation.
“If we’re healthy then there is nobody that is better than us,” sophomore Trae Armstrong said.
Last weekend was the team’s first home meet of the season and any member of the team will tell you they enjoy running or competing in front of their home crowd. However a lot of the motivation from the relay team comes from each other.
“Me and (senior) Keith (Cleveland) had been battling all week to see who was going to win their races,” Spann said. “That just makes it more fun as well.”
Spann also added that these “battles” are of a friendly nature between teammates and that they are meant to help each other.
Training this week will be mainly about staying focused for the relay team after its success Saturday.
“We’re still keeping the pedal down, keep grinding it out, just keep pushing through it. There’s no real breaks, we’re not peaking anytime soon,” Cleveland said.
The 2014 Arizona State Invitational will begin on Friday at 1 p.m. and continue the next day beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Sun Angel Stadium.
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