Sprinter duo poised for success, payback


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Sprinter Amara Sama during the 60-meter dash prelims during Saturday’s session of the Iowa State Classic at Lied Rec Center. Sama advanced to the finals and placed eighth overall with a time of 6.84 seconds.

Kevin Shay

ISU track and field sprinters Ian Warner and Amara Sama are continuing to develop day in and day out, and the results are beginning to show.

Last week at the Iowa State Classic, Warner tied his personal best time in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.72 seconds. Meanwhile, Warner’s training partner Sama placed eighth in the same event.

Although Sama hasn’t been quite on par with Warner’s success, both of them are an integral part of the team, said coach Corey Ihmels.

“I think those two have really come together and matured,” Ihmels said. “They have become the backbone of the sprints group and are the consummate team players.”

Sprints coach Nate Wiens agreed with Ihmels sentiments.

“They’re exactly what you want out of short sprinters,” Wiens said. “They listen, they adapt, they train well together, and they do all of the other little things they need to.”

Ihmels believes Warner wouldn’t be where he is without the help of Sama.

“Obviously Amara is trailing a little bit in the results category,” Ihmels said. “But you can say Ian’s not doing what he is doing without the help of Amara.”

On the other hand, Sama feels he is improving due to Warner’s tutelage.

“He’s helped me a ton,” Sama said. “In practice he can help me with my form if I’m not doing something right, and I kind of mimic his style.”

When Warner received the high praise from his teammate, he remained humble, and said that he wouldn’t be where he is without Sama.

“It goes both ways,” Warner said. “He helps me with my starts because he’s a better starter than me. And I’ve definitely improved because of him.”

While they continue to bond on and off the track, it wasn’t so long ago that Warner was in an entirely different country all together. Although, not that different as his hometown is Markham, Ontario — a suburb of Toronto.

Whether or not his hometown Canadian sensibilities helped attribute to his overall relaxed demeanor or not remains unseen — but the local Midwest culture definitely played a hand in his recruitment to Iowa State.

“The people here are real laid back, and that’s one of the reasons why I chose to come here,” Warner said. “Like when I went to New York — it was just too big and everyone was going too fast.”

The long distance from his hometown also makes it difficult for his family to come see him perform. Warner said his mom made the trip once to see him, but he was injured, which prevented her from watching him run.

Meanwhile, Sama’s hometown family and friends are just down Interstate-35 in Des Moines.

“It’s nice [being so close to home],” Sama said. “My dad came to see me race once, and it’s always good to have friends from high school come up.”

Due to Warner’s injury troubles last year, they didn’t compete together on the outdoor 4×100-meter relay team that Ihmels believes can be strong this upcoming outdoor season.

“They’re going to be running together outdoors in the 4×1 and hopefully they’ll make some noise on the national level,” Ihmels said. “Amara is gonna surprise some people down the road when we get to outdoors.”

But, in the end they’re both competitors focused on the present. They both believe they have a lot to prove at next weekend’s Big 12 Championships.

“We want it [payback] from everyone,” Sama said. “Last year [at the Big 12’s] we were at the bottom rung, me and him [Warner]. We want payback on everyone.”

Warner agreed.

“Yeah, literally, it was everyone else than I-State 1-2 at the bottom,” Warner said. “We want to get back at everyone and scratch them off the list one-by-one.”