Video by Bill Slane | Sports reporter
Very often at track meets, the relays are the last and most exciting part of the day. On the last day of the 35th annual Sun Angel Classic, this was true for the Sun Devils, despite not coming away from either relay with a victory.
The final day of the Sun Angel Classic could have been marred by the various technical difficulties that were experienced. The scoreboard was not working for most of the day and scoring was not updated, in fact the meet may not be scored by the time all of the official results come in. However, the day was instead capped off with a final leg of the men’s 4×400 relay that few saw coming.
Earlier in the afternoon during the men’s 4×100 relay race, redshirt junior Devan Spann mishandled the final exchange of the baton. Spann then missed the rest of his individual races, presumably to rest up for the final relay of the day in which he is normally the anchor.
“(Spann) got a little banged up running the 4×100,” assistant coach Ronnie Williams said. “And he said he could run, he said he could gut it out. But it didn’t feel quite right.”
Williams decided to pull Spann from the final race because he felt that the team has “bigger fish to fry.”
That left a hole in the back end of the relay and stepping up for the team was a redshirt sophomore from Chapparal High School in Phoenix, Cody Moore.
Moore took the final handoff from teammate Daveon Collins in second place. Moore appeared to lose some ground, but made up for it and held that second place finish. The team finished with a time of 3 minutes, 6 seconds, trailing only the relay team from Texas A&M, which currently holds one of the fastest times in the nation.
“He really stepped up,” coach Greg Kraft said. “And that’s kind of what you’re looking for.”
Kraft compared Moore to the famous film “Rudy” about a football player for the University of Notre Dame waiting to get a shot to contribute to the team.
“He’s just kind of swimming underneath the surface and just really stepped up and volunteered to run and he ran really well,” Kraft said. “You have to have someone that is willing to step up.”
After the meet, Spann was seen walking with a very noticeable limp. Kraft said that with Spann still wanting to run the relay despite being in that condition shows the heart and competitive nature of the athlete.
“He’s always going to man up,” Kraft said. “We don’t worry about his heart, or his desire or anything of that nature. He’s really a tough kid, and we know that.”
Kraft also mentioned that as coaches, they need to realize that they still have bigger meets coming up so they were better off holding him out on Saturday night.
The other big name that competed well on Saturday night was junior Shelby Houlihan in the 1500-meter race. Houlihan broke yet another ASU record on Saturday with a time of 4:13. Houlihan was just three seconds behind Nicole Sifuentes, who is a former bronze medalist at the world indoor championships who ran in the race unattached.
“She ran hard,” coach Ryan Cole said. “I think there is going to be more there, I don’t think she was pleased with her run. She always expects to win, but she ran into someone tonight that’s pretty good.”
Next up for the Sun Devils in the Mt. SAC relays beginning on April 17. Kraft says the training load this coming week will likely be light for most but they will know more about their training schedule on Monday.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bill_slane