ISU sprinters excited for first home meet


Photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Runners jump over hurdles in the 60-meter hurdles during the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Lied Recreational Athletic Center. ISU runners junior Ryan Sander and senior Troy Walls qualified for the finals during this heat.

William Byal

The ISU men’s track and field team’s sprinting group will square off against Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas State, North Dakota State, South Dakota State and North Dakota in its home debut at the Bill Bergan Invitational this weekend.

“I think we’re in a pretty good spot, I think they’re ready to go,” said Glenn Smith, sprints and hurdles’ coach. “This is our first meet on a big track; last week we were on a small 200-meter track, so the times are a lot slower there and not comparable to something like this.”

Smith said his sprinters know the feel of this track — where the curves are and certain landmarks. During the first meet the sprinters ran a lot of off distances, making it more difficult to see where exactly they’re at, especially at this point of this season in December.

“It’s a great track,” Smith said. “This is one of the best facilities in the NCAA; I don’t think of anywhere better to train honestly.”

Senior hurdler Ryan Sander will debut in the 60-meter hurdles in the first indoor meet of the year at Iowa State. Last year, Sander’s best time in the 60-meter hurdles was 7.83, which ranked 25th in the nation.

“I’m excited to see Ryan start out, he had an injury earlier in the year that held him back from hurdling for a while, so we’re a little behind from what I’d like to be,” Smith said. “He’s been doing really good workouts lately, just kind of curious to see where he’s at.”

With the new training and coaching staff, Sander hopes he’s able to surpass this mark as the season progresses.

“I think I’m pretty well prepared,” Sander said. “I’ve had some good hurdle practices the past couple weeks, so I’m excited to see what I’ve got right now and what I need to touch up on.”

Last meet, Derek Jones won the 400 as a freshmen. His best race will be the 400-meter hurdle outdoors, but expected to run a good 600-meter indoors as well.

“They’re looking pretty good,” Smith said. “I think it’ll be a great showing, from Derek Jones and Trey Achterhoff.”

Smith said another standout athlete that may or may not participate this weekend is junior Mark Sitek, who specializes in the 100, 200, and 400.

“I’m a little on the fence with him whether he’s going to run; I might hold him off this weekend,” Smith said. “He’s been looking better. It’s not an injury, but just something we’re kind of managing that I want to be careful of and not turn it into something bad because we’ll really need him when conferences come around.”