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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Track to compete against ASU again

    Most collegiate rivalry matchups occur once or twice per year and more often than not with several weeks or months in between. As far as the UA No. 13 men’s and No. 19 women’s track and field teams are concerned, nearly every week is rivalry week.

    As the Wildcats head north to Tempe for the Sun Angel Track Classic this weekend, it will mark the second straight week that they will face off against ASU. As if that’s not enough, the UA will compete against ASU in nine of the 12 weeks of the outdoor track and field season.

    “”The rivalry is only good if you have good athletes,”” said UA head coach Fred Harvey on whether competing against ASU so often intensifies the relationship. “”(In some events) it just heightens what those athletes are going to do because neither wants to lose to each other plus you have quality athletes.””

    But for other events, there is a big gap in the competitive level of both squads and the rivalry does not come so much into play, Harvey said.

    “”I feel that competing against ASU week in and out is an advantage because it brings out that competitive edge,”” said distance runner Dylan Fitzpatrick. “”But they have a great team this year which means we have to elevate our performances even more.””

    Despite being dominated at last weekend’s Jim Click Invitational, the Sun Devils come in to this weekend’s meet with the No. 7 men’s and No. 1 women’s team in the country, according to the weekly Coaches’ Poll.

    As if that wasn’t enough, the Wildcats will also be facing 27 other squads from just about every conference in the country in one of the biggest meets of the entire season as far as athletes competing.

    The men’s side will feature No. 2 Florida, No. 9 Alabama, No.12 Auburn and No. 18 Wisconsin in addition to ASU and the UA, which jumped into the No. 13 spot after a strong showing at the Jim Click Invitational.

    The women’s side will have squads from No. 5 Florida, No. 16 Auburn, No. 24 New Mexico and No. 25 Penn State competing.

    Both UA squads jumped into the rankings after being unranked in the outdoor preseason rankings released last week.

    “”We have to keep building because we are obviously going to be judged by what we do at our conference championship or the NCAA Championship,”” Harvey said. “”The confidence that the athletes have right now should lead to real big success in the next couple weeks.””

    The Wildcats currently have 29 qualifications for the NCAA West Regional Championships on May 30-31. Because they’ve had so much success in the first couple weekends of the outdoor season, Harvey said the next couple weeks will focus mainly on improving personal times to guarantee the team holds its current spots.

    Events begin today with the men’s and women’s hammer throws at 3 p.m. and will continue tomorrow with the rest of the field and all of the track events.

    Final Lap

    Eight athletes signed national letters of intent yesterday to compete for the men’s and women’s track and field teams next year.

    The class includes three athletes from Arizona – a sprinter and two distance runners; two athletes from Colorado – a distance runner and a sprinter/hurdler; a jumper from Oregon; a thrower from Iowa; and a sprinter/hurdler from California.

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