ORIENTATION GUIDE: Iowa State track returns talented sprinters


Runners start out the 5,000-meter run at the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 9 in Lied Recreation Center. ISU runners included Betsy Saina, who came in first with a record time of 15:29.66, Meaghan Nelson, Crystal Nelson, Samantha Bluske, Katy Moen, Perez Rotich and Taylor Petersen.

Isaac Copley

The ISU track and field teams under coach Corey Ihmels have enjoyed success in the past few seasons, coming off the 2013 outdoor season, where the men’s and women’s teams appeared in the top-25.

Ihmels has instilled one of the top long-distance corps in the country.

However, the departure of Betsy Saina will usher in a new era of runners at Iowa State. Saina broke school records in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs last season.

The Big 12 Conference contained four top-25 teams in the country on the men’s side and six on the women’s side during the 2013 season. The Cyclones train and compete at the Lied Recreation Athletic Center on campus.

Iowa State returns two All-Big 12 indoor performers. Iowa native Nick Efkamp, who will be a junior, returns to the men’s sprint team and Ese Okoro, who will be a senior, returns to the women’s sprint and hurdles team.

Efkamp and Okoro will be key contributors to the track and field teams in the upcoming season. Efkamp won a Big 12 indoor championship in the 400-meter dash and Okoro won the 600-yard run at the Big 12 indoors.

Thrower Christina Hillman returns for her junior year as a Cyclone. Hillman was the runner-up at the NCAA indoor championships.

Track meets are free to attend, and the Cyclones host four indoor meets at the Lied Rec Center annually. One of these meets includes the Iowa State Classic, where some of the top teams in the Midwest travel to Ames to compete.

The track and field season begins in December and continues until early June. The Cyclones also train at the newly built Cyclone Sports Complex, located at the intersection of Mortensen Road and Welch Ave.

The Cyclone Sports Complex is also the home of the soccer and softball teams.