Cyclone hurdler Andy Long is jumping toward NCAA’s

Zac Reicks

Thanks to many strong individual and team efforts, the ISU men’s track team has gotten off to a very fast start this year.Whether it has been in the field events, in the efforts of the sprinters and hurdlers or in the long distance runners, someone new steps forward to help solidify an improving team.Andy Long, ISU senior hurdler, is just one of those people trying to make the ‘Clones’ 2001 season special.The tall, wiry veteran has already set a provisional NCAA qualifying mark at 7.87 seconds in the event he specializes in, the 60m hurdles. This means that Long is just .13 seconds from automatically qualifying for nationals, a big accomplishment for him.”The individual goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year were to qualify for nationals in both the indoor and outdoor seasons,” Long said. “If I can do that, I would be very happy.”For Long to be able to accomplish these goals, he knows he will have to take things slow and hope things work out his way.”I am just going to take it meet by meet and try to do the best that I can,” Long said. “If I can keep improving my times at each meet, then good things will continue to happen.”Plagued by injuries during his first three years at Iowa State, Long has been fortunate enough to stay healthy for the beginning of his senior campaign and the results are speaking for themselves.”I have been able to get a lot of training in before and during the season,” Long said. “Before, I was never healthy enough to do that and it really hindered my performances in meets and practice.”After completing his prep career at Ft. Dodge, Long was not highly recruited coming out of the high school ranks. When asked if it felt good to be doing this well after being shunned by many schools, Long was quick to point out that there was never any animosity aimed at the other colleges.”There was no real revenge factor,” Long said. “It feels good to be this successful, and I am just happy that I am able to compete at full strength.”One of the qualities that makes Long so good is the fact that his form is near perfect. Gliding over the hurdles with ease, Long makes it look as if the hurdles are not even an obstacle for him on the track.To be able to do this, many hours have to be spent practicing form and technique. Practice is something Long is definitely no stranger to.”When I first came to Iowa State, my form was terrible,” Long said. “But [head] coach [Steve] Lynn is a great hurdling coach and can make someone with bad form become a good hurdler. That is what he did with me.”As Long embarks on his final season for the cardinal and gold, he knows that this is his final chance to make a lasting impression. But whether he makes it to nationals or not, he can certainly be satisfied by the fact that he gave it his all, both in practices and at the meets.”I just want people to remember me for trying as hard has I could,” Long said. “That is what ISU track is all about — working as hard has you can to achieve your goals.”