ISU track teams will ‘knock off the dust and cobwebs’ at meet

Grant Wall

The opening meet of the indoor track season will be a chance for the ISU track and field teams to stretch rusty muscles and get a taste of competition.

The teams begin their indoor season Friday when they host the Cyclone Holiday Track and Field Classic.

The Cyclones will welcome five schools from the Midwest — Drake, Winona State, Northwest Missouri State, Kansas City Community College and Upper Iowa — allowing ISU runners to get their first taste of competition this season.

“It’s been quite a while since a lot of people raced,” said women’s head coach Dick Lee. “This is one to knock the dust and cobwebs off and to see where they’re at with their fall training.

“The kids have been practicing for a long time and they need to see someone other than their own teammates on the track.”

Field events begin at 2 p.m. and running events start at 3:25 p.m. at the Lied Recreation Center.

Both the men and women’s squads have strong groups of runners returning from last season, giving them a solid nucleus around which to build.

The men return 12 runners who advanced to the regional meet last season.

“They will be the heart and soul of our team and we’ll go from there,” said men’s coach Steve Lynn.

Seniors Jerod Torrey and Daniel Zelik, juniors Ryan Boyington, Andy Hadden and James Lopes, and sophomore Jared Graham all return from last year’s regional team. These men will be the team leaders, Lynn said.

Sophomore Kendal Fogle and seniors Tony Stewart and Kris Ruhland are also expected to take leadership roles.

“It will be nice to get back on the track,” Lynn said. “The season is so long, we’re not trying to peak at this point. It’s a fun [meet] and we want to see where [the athletes] are at.”

The women’s team also returns a strong group of runners, including a pair of national qualifiers.

Sophomore Rebecca Williams and senior Susan Sherman advanced to nationals in the 100 meter hurdles and weight throw respectively. Senior Jessica Huff (1,500 meters) and junior Jummy Alowonle (long jump) also took part in the regional meet.

“We have some kids who experienced big meets last year, and we have some kids who will hopefully break through and get to that next level. We also have some kids who will have their first taste of collegiate competition [at the Holiday Classic],” Lee said.

The Cyclone women return their core from last season, giving Lee a solid group of leaders.

There is also a good group of young runners coming up, ready for their first meet as Cyclones, Lee said.

“In this meet, we’ll have some good things happen, we’ll have some average things happen and have some bad things happen because this is the first meet of the year,” Lee said.

Both squads however, will be running short of full strength as several runners are sitting the meet out with injuries.

Lopes, who Lynn called his most improved runner, will miss the meet with shin splints. Junior Tony Douglas and Ben Honig are coming off injuries and will test their bodies’ strength in competition for the first time Friday.

For the women, Alowonle is sitting the opening meet out to rest an injury.