Cyclone seniors wrap up first week of Olympic Trials

Daniel Nixon runs in the men’s distance medley relay April 24 at the Drake Relays. 

Adarsh Tamma

The Iowa State track and field team is wrapping up its 2021 season by competing in the Olympic Trials. The Cyclones have athletes taking part in events in both the United States and Kenya.

Senior Festus Lagat kicked the week off Thursday by running in the semifinals of the men’s 800 meters at the Athletics Kenya Olympic Trials in Nairobi, Kenya. Lagat, who finished fifth in the NCAA 800-meter final a week earlier, first qualified for the final by running a season-best time of 1:45.80 to place seventh in his heat. In the final Saturday, he closed out his season with a fifth-place finish, missing out a place on the Olympic team as only the top three in each event qualify for Tokyo. Lagat leaves Iowa State as the school record holder in the 800 meters, running 1:45.05 when he placed third at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Back in the U.S., fellow senior Vlad Pavlenko began competition in the men’s hammer throw at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Like his teammate Lagat, Pavlenko also earned First Team All-American honors at the NCAA Championships by finishing fourth while also breaking the school record back in April with a throw of 72.39 meters (237.5 feet).

At the Trials, the Arlington Heights, Illinois, native first advanced to the finals Friday by finishing ninth in the qualifying round with a best throw of 71.10 meters on his last attempt. The mark earned him three more attempts in the final, where he launched the hammer at a distance of 70.10 meters on his second try to earn three more attempts. Pavlenko was unable to best this initial mark, however, ending the competition in eighth place.

In the javelin throw, senior Scott Fuchs capped off his career as a Cyclone by finishing 18th overall. In the qualifying round Saturday, Fuchs’ best mark was a throw of 64.89 meters on his first attempt. He leaves Iowa State with the second-best throw in the event with a mark of 72.11 meters, which he achieved at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in May.

On the track, the senior duo of Daniel Nixon and Roshon Roomes along with sophomore Jason Gomez ran in the men’s 800 meter. In the first round of heats Friday, Nixon emerged as the most successful Cyclone, advancing to the semifinals with a fifth-place finish in heat two. He ran a personal-best time of 1:46.15 behind world champion Donavan Brazier, who won in a time of 1:45.00. Roomes finished seventh in heat four with a time of 1:50.55, while Gomez ran 1:55.73 to place eighth in heat three.

In the semifinals, Nixon finished fourth in heat two to book his spot in the final. Running against current NCAA champion Isaiah Jewett and former champion Bryce Hoppel, Nixon stuck with the field through both laps to again qualify on time by clocking 1:46.21.

Iowa State will begin its second week at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Monday evening, when Nixon will compete in the 800-meter final at approximately 7:28 p.m., with the race being televised on NBC. A full schedule can be found here.