ISU men’s track and field athletes strive to achieve season goals


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Derek Jones receives the baton from his teammate during the men’s distance medley at the Drake Relays on April 26 at Drake Stadium. Iowa State came in fourth with the time of 9:47.12.

Kyle Kubiak

Two athletes on the ISU men’s track and field team are in the midst of trying to accomplish a couple of goals they set at the start of the season.

Both of the athletes will get a chance to achieve their goals this weekend in Starkville, Mississippi, at the Jace Lacoste Invitational.

The two-time All-Big 12 shot put recipient, Jan Jeuschede, is especially ready to go out this weekend and throw similar distances to the ones that earned him third place at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

“Honestly, I’ve been pretty disappointed with my outdoor meets so far. I’ve only been throwing 57-58 [feet] when I should — and I know I should — be throwing 60 [feet],” Jeuschede said. “Hopefully it’s nice down there this weekend and I throw like I should be.”

The forecast for Saturday’s competition in Starkville, Mississippi, is sitting at a high of 80 degrees with sunny skies, but Jeuschede knows it is going to take more than a clear sky to meet his goal.

“I’ve definitely been working hard to improve,” Jeuschede said. “I feel a lot stronger and more solid all the way around this season from better lifting habits than last year.”

Despite the belief that throwing the shot put is all about strength, Jeuschede discussed how throwing is also about grace and technique.

“Throwing isn’t just based on one thing, like simply just strength and speed. You have to combine a whole variety of different aspects for it all to come together,” Jeuschede said. “You have to be very technical, very graceful and have a good feel for your body in order to get a good throw off every time with the strength you build.”

ISU assistant coach Glenn Smith is ready to see his athletes have a breakout weekend individually after a strong showing at the Drake Relays last weekend.

“The main focus [at Drake] was put into the team relays and I think it was very strong,” Smith said. “We have had a very competitive season with a ton of competitive competition and I am excited to see it continue this weekend.”

Smith has been hoping that this consistent high-level competition all year long, along with the consistent trips to warm-climate meets, would make the team stronger in the end.

“This season we did something different than prior seasons, even though I wasn’t here last year, by heading to more warm-climate meets to give our athletes the best chances to succeed and put good times out there,” Smith said.

One athlete in particular that Smith and others are excited to see this weekend is freshman Derek Jones.

“[I’m] really looking forward to seeing the 400 hurdlers this weekend. They all have been running really strong,” Smith said. “I’m especially excited to see Derek out there because this is the weekend that he needs to get into the 50-51 [second] range.”

Jones has been a consistent runner all season long for the Cyclones, both indoor and outdoor, and he is viewing this weekend’s meet as the time to finally meet his and his coach’s goal.

“This is the weekend I definitely have to hit 51, for sure,” Jones said. “I know I can do it, but now I just have to go out there and show it.”

Although Jones is already running at a high level as a freshman, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from and what has gotten him to be at this place in his career.

“[It] feels kind of surreal to be competing at this point in college. I can remember a year ago when I ran at Drake and now I am running there for Iowa State,” Jones said. “I feel blessed to be doing this already as a freshman and at the point that I am in this outdoor season.”