Men’s, women’s track teams prepare for heavy competition at Nationals

Emily Arthur

The ISU men’s and women’s track and field teams qualified six athletes for the 2001 NCAA Track Championships to be held at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore. on May 30-June 2.

The athletes qualified by reaching the automatic or provisional standards established for each event.

The automatic times made the field right away while the provisional times were ranked in descending order to finish out the field of qualifiers.

Iowa State had a number of good performances throughout the outdoor season and will send three men and three women to the four day event.

On the women’s side, Lisa Griebel, Barbara Szlendakova and Gina Curtis will be competing for the Cyclones.

Griebel qualified in the women’s shot put and currently holds the fifth longest distance in the field.

She continues to be looked at as someone who will compete with the top throwers in the nation.

After redshirting the indoor season, the All-American came out strong in the outdoor season winning the Big 12 Championship last weekend.

As one of the top competitors in the field, Griebel said that she is looking forward to putting her talents on display.

“I don’t know about winning it, but I think if I compete well, I have a good chance of finishing in the top three,” Griebel said.

This will be Griebel’s second trip to Oregon with the first coming at the NCAA meet a few years ago and she says that she feels good about competing there.

“I’ve competed on the field before so that will make it a little easier,” she said. “It’s a definite advantage.”

Szlednakova, a native of Poland, will be competing in two events for Iowa State.

She has qualified in both the women’s long jump and the women’s heptathlon.

The junior currently holds the second highest point total in the nation in the women’s heptathlon ranking right behind Big 12 rival Austra Skujyte from Kansas State.

The long jump is Szlednakova’s secondary event but after showing improvement over the last month, she also has an opportunity to make a name for herself in that event.

All-American Gina Curtis will be the other Cyclone women competing at the NCAA’s.

Curtis will be competing in the high jump and holds the eighth best jump in the collegiate ranks this season.

After an impressive indoor season which included a Big 12 Championship, a new school record and a sixth place finish at the NCAA Championships, Curtis is looking to make some waves at the outdoor championships.

Attending the meet for the men will be Daniel Kaczmarczyk, Andy Long and Zech Schiebout.

Just a freshman, Kaczmarczyk, has finished up an impressive outdoor season by making the field in the men’s long jump.

He’ll go into the meet ranked 11th in the field of 31.

Kaczmarczyk had success earlier this year winning the long jump at the Big 12 Indoor Championships while also being named Big 12 Indoor Freshman of the Year.

With a very competitve field, Kaczmarczyk has a chance to do well with a good showing.

Senior Andy Long will also be making an appearance at the championships.

The hurdle specialist will be competing in the 110-meter highs and ranks 18th in the field of 31.

Long said that he is excited to compete alongside the other athletes.

“It is an honor in itself just to qualify and be recognized as one of the better athletes in the nation,” he said. “I am looking forward to hopefully competing in the prelims, semis and finals.”

Long said that hurdles are a little different than any other event.

“You are in complete control of your own destiny,” he said. “If you hit a hurdle or another person, it is your fault.”

Long said that for this reason running the hurdles takes so much more concentration than any other event.

“Each step you take is important,” he said.”If you have a bad start or a bad hurdle, you must put that behind you before the next hurdle otherwise you will loose your concentration and things will go dowhill fast from there.”

Also attending the meet for the men will be senior Zech Schiebout.

Schiebout will be attending the meet for the second time after qualifying in the Outdoor Championships in 2000.

He comes into the NCCAs ranked fifth in the field.

The Pella, Iowa native wrapped up the outdoor season by placing second in the Big 12 Championships.

Griebel said that she thinks overall, all the athletes are prepared for the events.

“We were practicing everyday, but now with just the shot, I’m down to 2 to 3 times a week and then lifting 3 to 4 times a week,” she said.

With the high levels of talents and competition on display, there may be a tendency to sit back and watch the rest of the athletes perform but Long said that that won’t be the case.

“I have learned over the years not to fear anyone,” he said. “If I start thinking about how someone else is going to run then I’m not thinking about the race I have to run.”

Both Griebel and Long said that they are looking forward to visiting Oregon.

“It will be a nice weather change. I’m really looking forward to it,” Griebel said. “It’s beautiful there, the mountains and the scenery. It should be a fun trip.”

Long may be looking forward to the beautiful weather as well but he said that he’d like it to rain and be windy at least when he’s racing.

“I think I’m better equipped to run in lousey conditions as compared to the other athletes,” he said.”Friday, coach and I worked out in the rain and I loved it. Nothing could of been better.”