Takeaways: Track weekend highlighted by personal, school best performances

Iowa State’s Edwin Kurgat in the finishing stretch of the men’s distance medley relay at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on April 28. 

Adarsh Tamma

The Iowa State Track and Field team wrapped up a relatively light weekend on the schedule, as the Cyclones closed out the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska and the Millrose Games in New York. After the dust had settled and times had been recorded.

Pavlenko’s Personal Best

It was yet another strong performance by redshirt senior Vlad Pavlenko, as he claimed the top spot in the men’s weight throw finals at the Husker Invite on Friday. The Arlington Heights, Illinois, native competed as an “unattached” athlete due to having used up all of his eligibility for the indoor season.

In Lincoln, Pavlenko picked right up from where he left off at the Cyclone Open two weeks ago, as he won the competition on his second attempt with a toss of 22.05 meters, or 72 feet and 4.25 inches. His farthest throw going into the competition was at last year’s Big 12 Indoor Championships, when he finished second with a toss of 71 feet and 8.75 inches.

Pavlenko will be looking to further improve his performances as the outdoor season approaches, as he was named an All-American in both the indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer throw last season.

Vlahovic Continues To Improve Personal Bests

It was another week and another career best for sophomore hurdler Katarina Vlahovic, as she competed in her specialty event, the 60m hurdles at the Husker Invitational. The Canadian broke her personal record for the fifth straight week in this event, after having last competed at the Texas Tech Invitational last weekend.

Vlahovic automatically qualified for the final on Friday by winning her heat in a time of 8.42 seconds, which was also the second fastest time overall in the preliminaries. Moving over to the final on Saturday, Vlahovic again stuck towards the lead, as she ended up finishing second overall in a time of 8.33 seconds behind Yoveinny Mota of Barton County Community College.

With her performance on Saturday, Vlahovic moved up to the fourth spot on the Cyclones’ all time list for this event.

A Third School Record For Kurgat

If the cross country season back in the fall wasn’t enough for senior Edwin Kurgat, his start to the track season was yet another addition to his already strong running resume. The All-American capped off his last cross country season with an undefeated campaign, and became the first Cyclone athlete since Jonah Koech in 1990 to win the individual title at the national championships.

Less than a month after this performance however, Kurgat was right back to work, breaking the school record for the indoor 5,000m at the Boston University Invite, with a time of 13:24.04, which is currently the 3rd fastest time in the country. He then broke the school record in the distance medley relay, running the mile-long anchor leg at the Indiana Relays.

Along with Roshon Roomes, Festus Lagat and Cebastian Gentil, the quartet out-paced a strong Indiana team to record the second fastest time in the nation this year.

All of this leads to yesterday’s 3000m run at the Millrose Games in New York City, where Kurgat competed against a tough field of athletes that included former NCAA cross country champion Justyn Knight, Cyclone Olympian and All-American Hillary Bor, and Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Tanui.

Despite the challenge, Kurgat hung with the rest of the field, trailing closely behind Bor for a majority of the race and ended up finishing fifth in a time of 7:49.19.

The time broke former Big-Eight Champion Raf Wyns’ record of 7:49.83 from 1986, one of the oldest records in ISU history. Kurgat and Wyns are also the only two Cyclones to run sub-7:50 times in the indoor 3,000m.

Going forward, Kurgat will be looking to close out his final season as a Cyclone runner, as was named an All-American in both the indoor and outdoor disciplines of the 5,000m run last year.

Iowa State will be back in competition this Friday and Saturday, when they will be hosting the Cyclone Classic at the Lied Recreation Center.