ASU women's track and field benefits from deep roster

Throughout indoor and outdoor season, the women's team has yielded better results than the men in meets

Throughout the season for the ASU track and field team, the women have been consistently outperforming the men at meets, and according to athletes and coaches, it's because of team depth. 

During the 2018 indoor track and field season, the women had 73 top-five finishes, while the men had 43. 

The Sun Devils have participated in two meets this outdoor season – the Baldy Castillo Invitational and the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge. In those two, the women had 15 top-five finishes, and the men had nine. 

With the women faring considerably better at meets thus far, coaches and athletes have cited a deeper women's roster as the biggest contributing factor. 

“When you look at our women, there is just more depth, and there’s more balance,” head coach Greg Kraft said.

Sprints and hurdles coach Devin West said a lack of scholarships for men plays a big role in the team's performance. There are 12.6 scholarships available for the men and 18 for the women, giving the women more scholarship money.  

This the same for every other Division I school in the country. 

The lack of men's scholarships on track and field teams is due to the NCAA scholarship limits

Every men's track and field team is limited to 12.6 scholarships, partly because of the 85 scholarships available for the universities' football teams. Schools have quotas for scholarships they can divide for each sport, and with so many scholarships devoted to football, some men's sports have less scholarships to give compared to their women counterparts. 

“We’re actively recruiting both genders. It’s a little easier to recruit on the women’s side when you have 18 scholarships compared to the 12.6 on the men’s," West said. 

Kraft also said injuries on the men's side coupled with a lack of depth has furthered the gap.

“For our women, we’ve been able to weather those physical ailments,” Kraft said. 

With the women having 18 scholarships, they have more room for untimely injuries compared to the men, Kraft said. 

“Every team has issues, (and) every team has health issues, but when you have depth, it allows you to overcome that," Kraft said. "But right now for us (the men’s team) when you look at it, we just don’t have that type of depth to really put a lofty team goal in place."

While track and field is popular for both men and women in high school, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, in 2016-17 girls' track and field ranked number one in most popular girls' programs. Boys' track and field, on the other hand, ranked second after football. 

The coaching staff is currently trying to recruit more men to alleviate the depth issues. With signing day for athletes coming up in about two weeks, the coaching staff is confident they have new commitments that will benefit the men’s team. 

“I think we’ve ramped up our efforts tremendously to try to get some quality guys,” West said.  “Hopefully we'll be hearing from some here soon.”

“I feel like next year we’ll definitely have more depth on the men’s team, and it’ll probably be equal,” senior sprinter Shaunie Morrison said. “Last year, the recruiting wasn’t as good as I thought it could be. So with coach (Devin) West being one of the top recruiters that he is, and recruiting the best of the best, it’s like people are starting to look at Arizona State more because of the stuff that he does for us."

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