Track team prepares to host Iowa State Open

Kevin Shay

ISU track and field will compete in its first meet of the season when it hosts the 2011 Iowa State Open on Friday and Saturday at Lied Recreation Athletic Center.

Coach Corey Ihmels is pleased with the shape his team in after coming back from a long winter break.

“For the most part [everyone worked hard over break], and I’ve see the distance runners up close and they all look good,” Ihmels said. “I’m pretty excited about that group and it looks like in the last week that all groups are raring to go.”

Throws coach Grant Wall agreed with Ihmels about his players’ hard work over break.

“[The throws team] went home so motivated and worked hard,” Wall said. “A lot of them don’t get the opportunity to throw at home so we focused more on the weight room. And they came back and looked great. I don’t even think we missed a step. I actually think we took a step forward, but we’ll see on Friday — that’ll be the tell-tale sign of where we’re at.”

Aside from his team’s apparent hard work over break, Ihmels is satisfied with the team’s nice blend of veteran leadership and energetic youth.

“We’ve got a pretty good veteran group coming back,” Ihmels said. “Betsy Saina and Hillary Bor are All-American returners [for distance events]. And Kianna Elahi had a tremendous year last year and seems ready. Then Danielle Frere and Laishema Hampton look good in the weight. And we got some newcomers ready to get in the mix for the first time.”

Frere and Hampton both threw personal bests at the Holiday Preview meet before break. Wall believes Hampton is a few feet away from the distance she needs in order to qualify for nationals. Wall is also expecting big things from senior thrower Josh Koglin, who transferred to Iowa State from Saginaw Valley State after Wall left the school to take the throws coach job at Iowa State.

“I am expecting big things from Josh,” Wall said. “He was a little off last year, but looking at the last two practices, they’ve probably been the best two back-to-back practices we’ve ever had together at this point in the year.”

The Cyclones will also enter the first meet of the year healthy.

“I think most everyone is gonna compete whether attached or unattached,” Ihmels said. “We don’t have anyone really banged up yet so that’s good. And it’ll be a good competitive meet for us and let us know where we’re out and how to move forward from here.”

The Iowa State Open will have over 1,500 student-athletes competing from schools across the Midwest. Among the competing schools are: Missouri-Kansas City, NIACC, Iowa Central CC, Minnesota State-Mankato, Buena Vista, Creighton, Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma Christian, St. Cloud State, Langston and Kansas Wesleyan. The event is the first of four indoor meets Iowa State will host at Lied Recreation Athletic Center this season.

Women’s weight throw and the non-seeded women’s 5,000-meter run will kick off the competition Friday at 3 p.m. And women’s shot put and the non-seeded women’s 3,000-meter run will kick off the events at 10 a.m. on Saturday.