Women’s track team is ‘hungry and healthy’ for first outdoor meet


Kianna Elahi anchors the women’s 4×4 meter relay during the Bill Bergan Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Lied Recreation. Iowa State’s “A” team won the finals, scoring 6 points. 

Stephen Koenigsfeld

The smell of fresh cut grass, wet pavement and a humidity level of almost 100 percent are the perfect adjectives to describe what is just around the corner for the ISU women’s track team.

This weekend, the team will travel to Tempe, Ariz., for the ASU Invitational, where athletes will get their first taste of the outdoor asphalt and the competition the meet will bring.

“There are certain people that haven’t competed all indoor season,” said assistant coach Travis Hartke.

Hartke said this weekend is not only about getting runners out on the track that have not competed yet this year, but also for those runners who have to get focused.

“It’s not as important for our group because we’re back into a training period,” Hartke said, talking about the distance women. “But it’s important for the sprints, jumps and throws because everything builds off each other.”

During the outdoor season, Ames will not host an outdoor meet — the closest meets are a couple Des Moines-area competitions in late April. Hartke said it is hard to get a race-type atmosphere in Ames with no spring meets.

In the early month of April, the team will head to the West Coast for seven different meets in the states of Arizona and California. The ASU invite is just the first among many for the runners.

Sprints coach Nate Wiens said he would like to see something in particular out of his runners as the outdoor season starts to unfold.

“I want to see improvement from the point where we are and [the runners] that they put their best effort on the track,” Wiens said.

One name that made headlines throughout the indoor season was senior Kianna Elahi. Elahi will be running in the 400-meter hurdles, something she has run in years past, this weekend.

“Every year I’ve done this, I’ve run the 600, which is good training for the 400-[meter] hurdles,” Elahi said. “[The 600] gives me that little bit of extra distance, a little bit of extra endurance.”

The women left for Tempe on Thursday morning in order to be fully prepared for their first outdoor meet of the season. Wiens said his squad is ready for the meet, as well as the season itself.

“We can prepare the best that we can, and I know the women we have always compete tough,” Wiens said. “It’s just a matter of being hungry and being healthy.”