Iowa State heads into Big 4 Duals against rival in-state teams

Chris Wolff

Ese Okoro summed up the in-state rivalries in Iowa the best.

“Its a bit like the soccer teams in England,” said Okoro, who being from England, has first-hand experience with the craziness of European soccer fanatics.

The ISU women’s track and field team will compete at the Big 4 Duals in Iowa City, which features the four division I teams in the state of Iowa: Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Drake, and Iowa.

While Okoro said she doesn’t think the in-state rivalries on the track are as serious as in other sports, there is still no doubt that the squad wants to take home state-wide bragging rights.

However, the bragging rights may be hard to come by for the Cyclones, who come in to the meet with a number of uncertainties.

The first meet after winter break brings a lot of uncertainty to it, including how the team competes after the long layoff. The team is also unsure of what to expect from Iowa, Northern Iowa, and Drake, as the new coaching staff is largely unfamiliar with the teams.

Adding to the difficulties, is the fact that Iowa State will continue to train heavy throughout the week, in preparation for later on in the season, whereas for “bigger” meets, the athletes might train lighter, allowing their bodies some recovery time.

More uncertainty arises due to the fact that some of Iowa State’s best athletes will be sitting out the meet, in preparation for the grueling season ahead.

“We are still going to sit a few people that we know are likely to be competing through to the NCAA Championships, because their season will last a few weeks longer,” said assistant coach Andrea Grove-McDonough.

The meet acts as a stepping stone to bigger, more competitive meets that the Cyclones will face in the weeks to come.

“This meet, the Big 4 Duals, will be important because it’s a little better competition [than the Holiday Classic], but now we are starting to get rolling into even bigger competitions after that,” said Maggie Gannon, a junior distance runner.

Despite the in-state rivalries, the Cyclones are looking at the meet as another “rust-buster”, in preparation for the season. The meet will allow the team to see where they are at after some time off during winter break, in comparison to where they want to be at the end of the year.

Even though it’s viewed as a “rust-buster”, the in-state rivalries still mean something to the team.

“I think it’s just going to show everyone at the university level and not only that but really importantly recruits in Iowa that Iowa state is the best division one school in Iowa to compete for,” Gannon said.