Intensity rises for ISU women’s track athletes following break


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State

Dani Stack (left) and Meaghan Nelson participated in the women’s 5,000-meter run. Stack finished fourth with a time of 15:57.20, and Nelson finished third with a time of 15:51.89.

Mark Specht

ISU women’s track athletes were able to ease into the indoor season in their first meet last month, but expect the intensity to increase starting with the ISU Open this weekend.

At the Holiday Classic, the ISU women finished first in seven events and had several other second- and third-place finishers. ISU Coach Corey Ihmels said the competition at the ISU Open will be much more stiff.

“Every meet, the competition gets a little bit better,” Ihmels said. “This meet will be a little bit better. The [Bill Bergan Invitational] will be a little better than that, and the [Iowa State Classic] will be a little better than that; and then, conference is obviously really good.”

Counting Iowa State, there are 32 teams slated to compete in the ISU Open, which will take place at the Lied Recreation Athletic Center on Friday and Saturday. The meet is open to all collegiate teams, unattached collegiate athletes and former collegiate athletes who were willing to pay $20 per individual.

There will be no scoring at the meet, but Ihmels said the team is focusing on improving from week to week leading up to the conference meet.

“It’s all towards the end goal, and the end goal is to run well at the conference meet,” Ihmels said.

For the women’s long-distance runners who finished the cross-country season shortly before a one-month break, this race may be an opportunity to get in more work.

“I think for like the throwers and sprinters and jumpers, [they’re] a little farther along,” said assistant coach Travis Hartke. “As far as the distance runners go, it’s early.”

Assistant coach Grant Wall thinks the ISU throwers did well training and resting during winter break, adding the marks they have set for this meet should be similar to what they had in the Holiday Preview.

Similar to the throwers, assistant coach Nate Wiens is excited about the work the sprinters had put in over break despite not having a facility to practice in. For his athletes, Wiens said, “expectations are a little bit higher” as they now move further into the heart of the season.

The ISU Open will be a two-day event hosted at the Lied Recreation Athletic Center. The meet begins at 3 p.m. Friday and resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday.