ISU men’s track and field heads to Auburn, looks for improvement

Kyle Kubiak

The ISU men’s track and field team is preparing for its second weekend of outdoor competition. The majority of the team will be heading to Auburn, Ala., for the Tiger Track Classic on April 4 and 5.

The team’s first chance to compete after a long break between the indoor and outdoor seasons was March 21 and 22 when it made the trip to Tempe, Ariz., for the Baldy Castillo Invitational. One athlete in particular made a strong statement in his first outdoor meet in his collegiate career: middle-distance runner and hurdler Derek Jones.

“Indoor season made me excited for outdoor. I didn’t know how indoor season was going to be coming from high school because I came here for the 400 hurdles and that is not an indoor event,” Jones said. “I’m happy indoor went well, along with the first outdoor meet.”

Jones crossed the line in his first collegiate 400-meter hurdle race at 52.07 seconds, which was a personal best. That time also earned him first place overall.

“My goal is to run a 51.5 or at least get another [personal record],” Jones said of what he hopes to do this weekend.

The Tiger Track Classic brings in more than 30 collegiate teams that come from many of the major conferences. Early competition is usually not a main factor for the ISU athletes as they are more focused on their growth and getting in a rhythm for later in the season.

“In high school, you would have a two or three meets a week to be able to get in the zone, get your form down and hone in your skills, but in college you sometimes only have one every two weeks,” Jones said. “For me, now, I have to focus on cutting out steps and getting faster with it being my second meet.”

In the early stages of the outdoor season, constant improvement will be on the Cyclones’ minds. The main focus the athletes have had going through this week has been improving and building good times every day.

“I’m looking to get a good 4-by-4 time as well,” Jones said.

Mohamed Hrezi will be the lone ISU athlete that will not compete at the Tiger Track Classic. He will be making the trip to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Invitational.