With the biggest home meet of the track & field season just more than a week away, there will be a number of distance runners making the trip to Palo Alto, Calif., for the 2014 Stanford Invitational.
It will be a small number of Sun Devils participating with only three men and one woman scheduled to compete at Stanford.
The athletes competing on the men’s side in California are not ones that have created a lot of headlines so far this outdoor season. Senior Garrett Baker-Slama, redshirt senior Steven Schnieders and redshirt sophomore Daniel Wong are all slated to run in the 3000-meter steeplechase at Stanford University.
Baker-Slama, a Tempe product from Corona del Sol High School, has only competed in one event thus far in the outdoor season. That event was in the Baldy Castillo Invitational, in which he competed in the 1500-meter run. Baker-Slama finished 19th in the race with a time of 3 minutes, 56 seconds.
Schnieders, a senior from Esperanza High School in Anaheim, Calif., also has only competed in a single event so far this outdoor season. That event was a shorter version of the one he will compete in this weekend, the 2000-meter steeplechase at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. Schnieders finished third in that event at that meet with a time 5:52, a personal best.
The last athlete competing for the men, redshirt sophomore Daniel Wong, is a Tucson-native from Canyon del Oro High School. While Wong did pace one of the races last weekend at the Arizona State Invitational, he too has only had one event in which he has competed. That event was along with his teammate Baker-Slama at the Baldy Castillo Invitational, the 1500-meter run. Wong finished slightly ahead of his teammate, placing 16th in the race with a time of 3:54. That was a personal best in the event for the redshirt sophomore.
The one woman that will be competing for the Sun Devils this weekend is Adriana Olivas.
Olivas, a sophomore from Centennial High School in Corona, Calif., is like her male teammates in that she has competed in just one event so far this outdoor season at the Baldy Castillo Invitational; in that meet Olivas competed in the 1500-meter run and finished 4th with a time of 4:26, a personal best for Olivas.
At Stanford, Olivas will be competing in the 10,000-meter run, which is just slightly less than 6.25 miles.
After the Arizona State Invitational last weekend, assistant coach Ryan Cole, who works with the distance runners, spoke on dealing with sickness and fatigue after the indoor season and working towards the outdoor championships.
“I think sometimes when you have such a stretch where you’re working toward something, like the indoor championships, and then you get done with that, and then emotionally, physically your body just needs to recover,” Cole said.
The time off in between the Baldy Castillo meet and the meet this weekend for these athletes will likely go a long way in helping them stay healthy throughout the season.
There will be one other Sun Devil in competition this weekend as redshirt sophomore Jeff Bickert will travel to compete at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival on Friday. Bickert will be competing in the 10,000-meter race.
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Correction: Because of an editing error, Steven Schnieders was originally misspelled.