Cyclones Track and Field prepares for first home meet

Iowa State’s Festus Lagat runs the first leg of the men’s distance medley during the last day of the Drake Relays on April 28, 2018 in Des Moines. Lagat and the Cyclones finished with a time of 9:42.95.

Adarsh Tamma

The Iowa State Track and Field Program will continue its 2020 indoor season by hosting its own event, the Cyclone Open.

The Cyclones are coming off of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa, where many Iowa State athletes set personal, season or school records. In this week’s meet, Iowa State will be going up against athletes from in-state schools Drake and Northern Iowa, along with other running clubs.

Starting off on the women’s side, the athlete to watch out for in the sprints and hurdling events will be sophomore Katarina Vlahovic. The British Columbia, Canada, native is looking to add to her strong season debut from a week ago, where she finished third overall in the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 8.41 seconds, which is a personal best. Vlahovic and teammate Kaylyn Hall, who finished seventh in the hurdles last weekend, will again be looking to showcase their talents. Hall will also be running in the 200-meter dash.

An athlete to watch out for in the middle distance events is Zakiyah Amos, who will be competing in the 600-yard race. The Houston native ran in the 400-meter dash last weekend at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational, a race which saw her finish second overall in a personal best time of 55.42 seconds.

This time also moves her up to the seventh best performance in Iowa State history. Amos will also be in charge of leading off the Cyclones in the 4-x-400 meter relay. Junior Laurel Hoogensen will also be competing in these same events, after finishing eighth in the 600-meter run a week ago.

In the 1 mile race, Iowa State will be looking to senior Gwynne Wright and sophomore Cailie Logue to lead the way. Wright did not finish this race last week in Iowa City, where senior Abby Caldwell took second place. Logue has not competed since December, where she ran the third fastest indoor 5000-meter time in Iowa State history at the Boston University Season Opener. The Cyclones also have freshman Norah Korir competing in this race, who, like Logue and Wright, ran this past fall as a member of the cross country team.

In the field events, junior Keiara Williams will be the athlete to watch after no Cyclones participated in field events during last week’s meet. Williams last meet was back in December when she set a personal best in the weight throw with a toss of 56-4 1/2 inches. Besides the weight throw, Williams will also be competing in the shot put. Iowa State will also have athletes competing in the long jump and high jump.

Switching over to the men’s side, the sprinting and hurdling events will be highlighted by senior Mason Weh and sophomore Gage Clay. Weh will be competing in the 60-meter hurdles finals after finishing fourth at last weekend’s meet in this event with a time of 8.00 seconds. Clay also competed at the Wieczorek Invitational last week, where he finished third overall in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.21 seconds. Clay’s personal best in the 400-meter is 49.50 seconds, a mark which he set last year. He will also be the third leg for Iowa State’s “A” team in the 4-x-400 meter relay.

In the middle distance events and particularly the 800-meter run, all eyes will be on senior Festus Lagat, who has already gotten off to fast start for the indoor season. Back in December, Lagat ran a school record time of 2:20.88 in the 1,000-meter and during last week’s meet, he ran a 4:02.56 in the 1 mile, enough for the seventh-best time in the country this season. Lagat will be joined by fellow seniors Roshon Roomes and Daniel Nixon, who finished second and third respectively behind him in December. The Roomes-Nixon tandem also had success last week, both finishing in the top 10 for the 600-meter.

In the field events, the athlete to watch will be redshirt senior Vlad Pavlenko, who will be making his season debut on Saturday. Pavlenko is set to compete in the weight throw and will be looking to close out his Cyclone career in strong fashion after finishing 17th for the hammer throw at last year’s NCAA Outdoor National Championships. Other Cyclones to look out for in the field events will be senior Zach Timm in the shot put and sophomore Miles Rupiper in the high jump.

The Cyclone Open will start at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Lied Recreation Center.