TEMPE, Ariz. — The Sun Devils track team spilt with the Arizona Wildcats at the Duel in The Desert meet with the scores being 102-94 mens (Arizona) and 97.5-93.5 women (ASU). The meet was what you’d expect from a rivalry matchup as a lot of the events all day were coming down to the last second or to the last centimeter. Unfortunately, in one of those close races, ASU senior Ronnie Hall got injured in the 4x100 meter relay, pulling what appeared to be his hamstring.
Head coach Greg Kraft said that the team will have to make some adjustments due to the injury for the Pac-12 championship meet which he said will be tough due to their lack of depth in sprinting. When asked about the meet, Kraft said that the team can’t make small mistakes and that though it was disappointing to lose, they need to turn the page quickly and focus on the Pac-12 championship meet.
It wasn’t just gloom and doom during the meet as redshirt junior Maggie Ewen once again set the American Collegiate record for the hammer throw, throwing 72.81 meters. She also took first in the discus and shot put events again. Ewen said she has been used to dealing with this her continued success.
“Minnesota throwing isn’t exactly the most competitive, so I’ve kind of had to deal with that all through high school and everything where I’m not necessarily worried about breaking records and earning titles and all that kind of stuff,” Ewen said. “I really just want to see that self improvement, I just want to throw farther and satisfy myself you know, and not really go for the title or the championship or anything like that but if it happens you know that’s awesome.”
Ewen wasn’t the only Sun Devil to dominate in her field. Her fellow thrower, senior Kyle Long took first in the hammer and discus and fourth in the shot put, senior CJ Albertson got second in the 3000-meter steeplechase and first in the 3000-meter race, redshirt sophomore Joey Bryant got first in the triple and second in the long jump and more. With this being the last home meet of the year, this was also the last time the seniors would be in front of the home crowd. For some, this additional pressure could build and tighten them up but Long said he was able to look past that and focus on the here and now.
“I just tried to keep it cool ... I was really excited but I couldn’t let it get to me, I have a championship season coming up and that’s kind of more important to me than the home meet.” Long said.
With the Pac-12 championship meet coming up in a week, the Sun Devils will face top competition in Oregon, UCLA, USC and more. Kraft said that he talked with his players about the meet the day before.
“The one thing I told our team and I tell them often ... that every single team in the country has people with health issues and every single team in the country has issues and it’s how you manage those issues,” Kraft said. “It’s just like life, how you handle a little adversity and what choses you’re gonna make to adjust with them.”