Cyclones prepare to host ISU Classic


Photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt sophomore Margaret Gannon runs middle of the pack in her leg of the women’s 4X1600 relay at the Drake Relays on April 25, 2013, at Drake Stadium. The relay finished in first place, giving the Cyclones their first win of the Drake Relays with a time of 19:16.69.

Chris Wolff

The ISU Classic is not your average track and field meet. Throughout the course of the ISU Classic’s 20-year history, the meet has shaped up to be one of the most competitive meets in the country every year.

This season, the 23rd annual ISU Classic continues that streak of competitiveness as teams from 16 different conferences will be in attendance, including multiple nationally ranked teams, as well as professional athletes and over 100 All-American athletes.

At this point in the season, most athletes will be going all out, attempting to run NCAA qualifying times and punch their tickets to the NCAA Indoor Championship.

The women’s side of the field alone will have over 40 teams in attendance.

“It’s going to be amazing, like we may not be able to recognize the place,” said All-American freshman Bethanie Brown. “We’re used to a few people running on the track every day and now there’s going to be hundreds of athletes here. It’s going to be really transformed to this ideal athletic competition.”

Brown will be one of the athletes looking run an NCAA qualifying time, either as a team member of the distance medley relay team, or individually in the 5,000-meter run.

The 5,000-meter run is one of the most stacked events at the ISU Classic, featuring over 20 All-American runners.

While some athletes like Brown will be running for qualifying times, other athletes who may not be as likely to compete with top level competition yet will be focusing on running personal record times.

With such a high level of competition, most runners will be zoned in and going for their personal bests.

“Everybody’s expectations are a little different, but overall it’s to come in and put the work in and just see what happens,” said ISU distance runner Sam Bluske. “It’s just really exciting because some of the best runners in the nation will be here, and just to have [the meet] here in Ames is really special.”

With all the hype surrounding a meet of this caliber, the excitement level for the athletes is off the charts.

The intensity level and competition level will be unlike any other meet the Cyclones have competed in so far this season, with most athletes in the full swing of competition mode.

“I think we have all taken little steps in improving our times, so we just want to keep taking little steps, getting faster and improving our times,” said Maggie Gannon, another distance runner for Iowa State.

The meet is positioned just two weeks before Big 12 Indoor Championships, so most athletes will be hitting their stride right around this point in the season, and attempting to peak right around conference championship and NCAA championship time.

“People are trying to run fast times here to qualify for nationals…so I think people are going to be running some pretty honest races,” Brown said. “It’s one of those opportunities that you only get in college or professional running.”