Cyclone track and field ready to compete at NCAA Indoor Championships

Edwin Kurgat runs the 3,000-meter run at the Big 12 Track and Field Championships on Feb. 29 in the Lied Recreation Athletic Center. 

Adarsh Tamma

The Iowa State track and field team has left Ames to travel to Albequerque, New Mexico, to compete in the NCAA Indoor National Championships. The Cyclones will be sending seven athletes to the meet, all of whom are running in either middle or long-distance races.

Starting off on the women’s side, the lone representative for Iowa State will be junior Cailie Logue. At the Big 12 Championships on Feb. 28-29 at Lied Recreation Center, Logue won both the 3000-meter and 5000-meter runs.

At the NCAA meet, Logue will only run in the 5K, earning the 10th seed in the field by running a time of 15 minutes, 50.15 seconds at the Boston University Invitational back in December. This was just a few weeks after she placed 15th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, earning All-American Honors.

At the NCAA Championships on Friday, Logue will be running against many of the same athletes that she lined up against in November. This includes Auburn junior Joyce Kimeli, who finished just ahead of her in 14th, and Arkansas senior Katie Izzo, who placed third at the national cross country meet to guide her squad to a team title.

For the Cyclone men, they will send the core of athletes, which won them their first Big 12 championship two weeks ago. Starting off, the senior trio of Festus Lagat, Roshon Roomes and Daniel Nixon will represent Iowa State in the men’s 800-meter.

At the conference meet, Roomes won his second Big 12 indoor title by taking the top prize in the 800m. At last year’s meet, he won the 600-yard run with an NCAA record time of 1:07.67.

At the Cyclone Open back in January, both Roomes and Lagat gave performances, which were, at the time, in the national top 10. With these times, Roomes secured the 5th seed at 1:47.74 and Lagat the second-best time of 1:47.50. Nixon guaranteed his place at the national meet by running 1:48.29 at the Texas Tech Invite last month, which was good enough for the 12th seed.

In other individual events, senior All-American Edwin Kurgat will compete for the Cyclones in both the 3000m and 5000m runs. The Eldoret, Kenya, native completed a “double-double” at the Big 12 meet, winning both long distance races for the second year running.

In his final season as a Cyclone, Kurgat has continued to add to his broad resume on both the track and cross county course. Along the way, he has set four school records and captured the cross country individual title at the national meet in November.

Similar to Logue, Kurgat earned the No.2 seed for the 5K by running a time of 13:24.04 at the Boston University Invite. In February, he put up another national-best time by placing 5th in the 3000m run at the Millrose Games with a time of 7:49.19. This race had a field that included Colorado senior Joe Klecker, who finished runner-up in both this race and the cross country national championship. Klecker is also set to compete in the 3K, running a 7th seed time of 7:47.57.

Finally, it will be a team effort for the Cyclones as Roomes, Lagat and Kurgat will join up with sophomore Cebastial Gentil to compete in the distance medley relay, or DMR.

The Cyclones qualified in this event at the Indiana Relays, winning their race in a school record time of 9:28.22, which was one second ahead of runner-up Indiana. Oddly enough, the NCAA record in the DMR was also broken later that day by the Oregon team, who ran a time of 9:24.52 at the Razorback Invite in Arkansas. Iowa State will be up against both teams in a field of 12 squads.

The 2020 NCAA Indoor National Championships will be held this Friday and Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.