For many of the alumni and fans of Sun Devil Athletics, there is really only one thing that ever matters in any season of any sport: beating the Wildcats.
For the ASU track and field team though, there are more important things to concern itself with.
ASU track and field gets a special opportunity when it faces off against its neighbors to the south in the Double Dual along with NAU. The track and field team, however, has a special luxury when it comes to the Territorial Cup Series rivalry. The Sun Devils have dominated UA in track and field for much of the past decade.
So for the Sun Devils, while it is still exciting to travel down and compete against a rival such as the Wildcats, they feel they have more pressing matters then focusing all of their energy on that one meet.
“We’re not bragging, you just look at the results, I mean for the last decade we’ve been pretty much the dominant program,” coach Greg Kraft said. “So our alums, I think understand what our judgment is.”
That judgment is, why waste so much energy during practice and at the meet when it is so close to the Pac-12 championships, which start May 10 in Pullman, Wash.
“We’ve won more than we’ve lost by a significant margin going down there,” Kraft said. “And I’m not talking trash, you can just look at the results.”
Kraft also said UA feels the same way about its team going into the meet.
“It’s one of the things that I tell our coaches and our athletes, that every program has got some health issues, and they’ll have some drama,” Kraft said. “And it’s how you manage those health issues and the drama within your program.”
It could be difficult of course for the athletes, some of whom may have grown up around the Territorial Cup Series rivalry, to try and stay focused on the bigger picture.
“That’s my role as the head coach, to be the steadying hand and keep everybody on target for the grand prize,” Kraft said.
Kraft said that this week for those not traveling for the Triton Invitational will be the last real week to get work in before they start to gear up for the Pac-12 meet. Part of that will be because of the difficulty and logistics of getting to the Pac-12 championship and NCAA championships.
“Pullman, for us, is such a difficult place to get in to,” Kraft said.
Kraft said the team will have to fly in to Spokane the Thursday before the meet and stay in a hotel in Lewiston, Idaho, about 32 miles away from Pullman.
“It’s just a logistical nightmare,” Kraft said.
It won’t be the last difficult trip for the team either as just a couple of weeks later they’ll have to fly to Tulsa, Okla., and take a two-and-a half-hour bus ride to Fayetteville, Ark., for the NCAA outdoor meet.
“So this is one of our last weeks that we can get some bulk of training in and after that you really are starting to fine-tune and rest your athletes up,” Kraft said.
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