The ASU men’s and women’s track and field team will be traveling to Tucson on May 3 for the annual Double Dual meet with UA and NAU.
The Double Dual will be the last meet for the team before traveling to Pullman, Washington for the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships. While the focus of the team is, and always has been, winning the Pac-12 meet, the team is still focused on competing well against its in-state rival.
“Our job is to beat the U of A, whether it’s in outdoor track and field, indoor track and field or cross country,” coach Greg Kraft said. “They have a very good team, especially on the women’s side.”
At last year’s Double Dual in Tempe, the Sun Devils beat both the Wildcats and the Lumberjacks on the men’s side. However UA’s women did top the Sun Devils, 102-87.
The women’s team for the Wildcats is still the better group for the school and looks to also compete well at the Pac-12 championship. The Sun Devils know it won’t be easier this year to top the women’s team either.
“We’ll be battling the U of A, particularly on the women’s side, for a top-three finish at the Pac-12 championships,” Kraft said. “So it gives a chance to see them, but in our sport it’s really about taking care of your business and controlling what you can do.”
At the Pac-12 championships, UA will certainly be battling with the Sun Devils for some of the top spots so getting a chance to match up with them beforehand is a positive for ASU.
“The Dual meet is a nice precursor to that, because we go head-to-head with them, and then we see them two weeks later,” Kraft said. “And still, a number of those events will be head-to-head.”
The Double Dual meet often brings out the best in all three of the schools because of the extra incentive of competing against your in-state rivals. At last year’s meet there were several national dual meet records set, including UA’s Georganne Moline’s time of 54.94 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles and ASU’s Chelsea Cassulo’s hammer throw of 69.52 meters.
A combination of where the meet usually falls on the schedule, the weather of that time of the year and the environment that the rivalry between ASU and UA creates contributes to both teams going into the meet looking to perform their absolute best.
“I think that our kids go down there looking at that as an opportunity to really set yourself up to get a good seeding time into the Pac-12 championships,” Kraft said.
The meet this weekend is also another opportunity to gain points in the Territorial Cup Series; however, ASU did already clinch that competition this past weekend. Kraft said that does not take any of the pressure off of his team.
“No, the Territorial Cup being settled that doesn’t take the pressure off of us,” Kraft said. “We go to the conference matchup with the designs of beating Arizona on both sides.”
The Double Dual meet will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Roy P. Drachman Stadium in Tucson.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bill_slane