Records were broken, Olympians ran with collegiate freshmen, and food and water was sold at a ridiculous price.
Welcome to the outdoor track and field season.
The first meet for the Sun Devils, the Baldy Castillo Invitational, took place on their home field at Sun Angel Stadium. The meet had a lot of top talents competing including ASU’s top women’s thrower Maggie Ewen. Ewen, who broke the invite’s hammer throw record, throwing 72.71 meters, at a meet she wasn’t even supposed to compete at.
Head coach Greg Kraft had plans to shut her down for the meet but after Ewen “pestered”, she was given a crack at it. Even with all the momentum riding behind her and with this performance, Ewen responded humbly with how she plans to continue putting in work.
“I just plan on focusing on the next meet,” Ewen said. “Just trying to get a little bit better everyday. I never expected to open up this big so I’m just trying to follow it up strong.”
There were a lot of top tier programs around the nation at this meet such as Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Iowa, among others. The meet also featured athletes that are now professionals like Jordan’s Kori Carter, Atlas Quincy Breell, Puma Leah Nugent, and others.
Kraft loves having these top athletes here to compete.
“You tell them when they come here that people come here for a reason, to seek out the best competition,” said Kraft. “So whether it’s Kentucky, Texas A&M, all these teams are vying for national honors. So when they come here, we all want to measure ourselves against the best.”
The field events put in a lot of work at this event from the throwers to the jumpers. The jumpers, a group that lost two of their top guys from last season due to graduation also performed a high level, especially transfer Joey Bryant. The junior got first in high jump and seventh in long jump.
With Josh Dixon graduating and Tim White focusing on the NFL, Bryant and junior Mason Ford are looked at as the top guys and that’s what he wants.
“I love it (the pressure), that’s the kind of pressure I want to be in,” Bryant said. “That’s what I strive to be.”
For the running events, the team didn’t place that many competitors in the meet due to Kraft wanting to keep their legs fresh for later on in the outdoor season. For those who did run, several of them placed high like senior Chelsey Albertson who got first in the 1500 meter race, while others didn’t do so hot.
The school will host the Big Ten/Pac-12 Invitational next week and though he’s excited about it, Kraft has his eyes set on the events after that meet.
“For us, our big point, where we have to be on point will be for the Sun Angel Classic,“ said Kraft. “Next week, we’re still in heavy training and getting things done but when we get to the Sun Angel Classic, that’s our premier event. That’s where we have our extended family come here to watch and support us and more importantly, four weeks out from the Pac-12 championship. So you have to be ready by then.”