Injury-plagued men’s track and field finishes last at Big 12 meet

Zac Reicks

The ISU men’s track team went into last weekend’s Big 12 championships hoping to reestablish itself as a conference power. Despite a recent rash of injuries, head coach Steve Lynn and his Cyclone men felt they could still perform well and make some noise among the conference’s best schools.However, the injuries were just too much for the ‘Clones to overcome as they could only manage to limp home with a 12th place finish. While there were brilliant individual efforts that helped to overshadow a disastrous weekend, finishing last in the conference was something that both the coaches and runners didn’t think was possible.”We had several guys perform real well, but we never thought a finish like this would happen,” Lynn said. “This is a team that is fun to come to practice with everyday and they are just a bunch of real good guys. They are all disappointed after what happened and rightfully so.”One of the few highlights for the ISU men was Daniel Kacmarczyk’s winning effort in the long jump. In his first year at Iowa State, Kacmarczyk has provided the Cyclones with solid efforts at every meet he has competed in.”Daniel’s first jump turned out to be the winning jump and he had three jumps farther than anyone else in the field, which is outstanding,” Lynn said. “He pretty much dominated the first Big 12 meet he performed in which is something you just don’t see very much.”As a freshman, Kacmarczyk beat his nearest competition by almost one foot as he soared to an NCAA provisional distance of 25′ 6 1/4. Andy Long continued his stellar senior campaign by taking home runner-up honors in the 60 meter hurdles. Long won both his preliminary and semi-final heats while establishing a personal best time of 7.83 seconds on the first night of the event. In Saturday’s finals, Long got off to a fast start which led to him hitting the first hurdle. This ended making enough of a difference to get edged by .003 of a second by a runner from Texas.”Even though I won the prelims and semis, I didn’t run very well because my starts were terrible,” Long said. “What is ironic is that my fast start in the finals ended up costing me first as it just threw off my rhythm and I ran out of room to catch up.”Long said he felt that if he would have had another three feet, he could have taken home a gold medal. The effort put forth in Long’s final Big 12 meet shows just how far he has come in his four years at Iowa State.”The guy that won it was on the cover of Track and Field News when he ran 13.00 flat in high school while Andy’s best time was 14.88,” Lynn said. “If that race was another yard longer, Andy would have definitely caught him. It is just really neat to see him make that kind of improvement.””I easily could of ran faster had I not hit that first hurdle,” Long said. “Banging hurdles is just a part of hurdling, it can easily be fixed through hard work and practice.”Probably the surprise of the meet came from freshman Andy Kohler in the high jump. With senior veteran Joey Brunkhorst hampered by a hip injury caused by an unfortunate slip on the ice, Kohler took advantage of the opportunity and made the most of it.”Andy did a great job in his first Big 12 Championships,” Lynn said. “He wrapped up third place by going over 6’ 11 1/2 on probably his best jump of the year. He could of easily gone over 7’2 on that jump which shows just what kind of potential he has.”While you can say that injuries are something that have to be dealt with in all sports, the Cyclone men have definitely had their fair share, if not more. With just one more meet to go before the all-important NCAA Championships, Lynn knows just how daunting of a task the Cyclone men have before them is.”We have won titles, and we’ve had this happen before. Winning is a heck of a lot more fun,” Lynn said. “Nobody is quitting in this group at all, and I think you will see them working very hard to get back on top.”