Runners looking for post-Olympic success this fall


Photo: Ryan Riley/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State’s Ian Warner and Washington’s James Alaka participate in the 100-meter dash. Warner placed fifth in his heat Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at Drake Stadium. 

Stephen Koenigsfeld

While most students took the summer off to hit the pool or beach or start a new job, ISU track and field athletes were still hard at work. The extended summer season — due to the 2012 London Olympics — allotted for extra meets and opportunities to improve.

Late in the month of May the Cyclones competed in the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in Manhattan, Kan. On the men’s side, mid-distance runner Edward Kemboi went on to win the Cyclones’ sole first-place title.

Other notables on the women’s side were second and third place hurdlers Kianna Elahi and Ese Okoro respectively.

Moving onto NCAA West Regionals, the track and field athletes started to thin out. Here, athletes would have to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships or their season would be over.

Overall, eight athletes — three from the men and five from the women — made the trip to Des Moines for the NCAA Outdoor Championships after qualifying in their events at the regional meet.

The outdoor championship meet would be the normal ending point to athletes’ seasons. However, tension was high and athletes were looking for their best performances at this year’s outdoor competition.

Out of the eight qualifiers from Iowa State who competed in the national spotlight, three went on to compete at Olympic Trials: Elahi Meghan Nelson for the United States and Ian Warner for Canada.

Athletes said they were looking forward to the experience more than making the Olympic Team at the trials. At the end of the trials, Warner stood as the lone current ISU sprinter heading to London.

Warner represented Canada and Iowa State at the Olympics this summer in the 4×100-meter relay.

Notables to keep your eyes on in the coming cross-country and track and field seasons are Nelson, Dani Stack and Betsy Saina. 

All three competed at the 2012 Indoor Championships in distance events. Saina was the overall champion in the 5,000-meter.

Junior Kemboi in the mid-distance events and senior Rico Loy in the longer distance events are coming off successful seasons and are predicted to be key runners in the 2012-13 season.