The ASU track and field team will be splitting up to go on two different meets this weekend.
With this setup, the Sun Devils will have to deal with an issue that has been problematic since the start of the season: the team doesn’t have great depth.
However, the team doesn't have much depth. This issue is more problematic when teams like Texas A&M, Nebraska and other top tier schools compete against the Sun Devils. The top athletes can keep pace, but the middle- to low-tier competitors struggle.
By splitting the team in two for the Chula Vista Olympic Invitational and the Triton Invitational, the problem will be amplified.
A big reason for the lack of depth is that injuries have hit the Sun Devils in a place where it hurts the most: sprinters. It was even a top-heavy spot at the beginning of the season, but since injuries have hit the top runners, it turned from lack of depth to a bit of a mess.
Even before the injuries, the team would compete with its top runners. After injuries, it was forced to put the next-best man up. Though most have returned from injuries, like seniors Jamol James and graduate Reggie Lewis, it still takes time for them to lose the rust of not competing.
Lewis said he understood and knows that’s something he has to work on as he was disappointed in his time at the Sun Angel Classic, which was his return from injury.
Women’s sprints were in a tough spot when they lost junior LaTroya Franklin to an injury. Though freshman Sierra Irvin stepped up, the team still struggled without her.
“It motivated me a lot just seeing my teammates out there, and I’m just like, 'Gosh, I can be out there helping them a lot,'” Franklin said.
With injuries and missing one of the top jumpers, Tim White, to spring football practice, the track portion has looked to the talented field athletes to carry the load.
Head coach Greg Kraft said that players need to win points even if they're not winning events.
“There’s 21 events, and we don’t need to be entered in 21, but we need to be present in roughly 2/3 of them," he said. "You've got to be able to win events, and if you’re not winning events, you've got to be scoring in clusters."
He said athletes can score in clusters in positions six, seven and eight, and called them "significant points."
The team will try to help players recover from injury and rust. This is the final meet ASU will have to be split at, and the Sun Devils hope to become a little deeper as the season progresses.
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