Iowa State men’s track and field escapes the cold for the Sun Angel Classic

Sophomore Festus Lagat compete in the men’s mile during day two of the Iowa State Classic Feb.11 in Lied Recreation Athletic Center.

Zane Douglas

Zero to 100.

The Iowa State men’s track and field team will be escaping the cold this weekend as they head to Tempe, Arizona, where they’ll experience temperatures in the 90s and some stiff competition at the Sun Angel Classic.

“This weekend, [I would like to] improve again,” said sophomore middle-distance runner Festus Lagat.

Lagat has been recovering from a stressful cross-country season and was able to break out last week and earn a personal best in the 800-meter while defeating numerous teammates as well.

Lagat was quiet in the indoor season and seems to already be taking a huge step forward into becoming an asset for an already deep lineup of middle-distance runners for the Cyclones.

In Tempe, Lagat will be running in the 800-meter and the 1500-meter run like he did last weekend.

“I’m 100 percent,” Lagat said when asked about how he feels after his road back seems to be completed.

Another athlete who didn’t have much to do during the indoor season was sophomore javelin thrower Blake Hughes.

Hughes actually ran in a couple sprinting events at the start of the indoor season and revealed he was a sprinter in high school, but the coaches saw something in him for the javelin throw.

There’s no question that this would be a huge shift for any athlete in this situation, but since the javelin throw is only an outdoor event, that could make the transition easier for Hughes.

“It is a little different, because you have so long before you get to compete,” Hughes said about taking most of the indoor season off.

Even though Hughes seemed to have an extended off-season, he was still training hard for when his time came in the second half of the year.

As Hughes shifts his focus primarily on competing in the javelin for the remainder of the season, he will be tasked with an important job that could really help the team.

As for this weekend, Hughes is taking it one step at a time.

“I’m just hoping to go out there and do the best that I can do,” Hughes said. 

This is a rare weekend in which Iowa State will be featuring most of its talent. There are still a couple big names resting or testing different areas, but for the most part it will be a pretty strong weekend for the Cyclones.

Senior high jumper Jalen Ford will be looking to build on his strong weekend in which he was able to match his overall personal best and obtain a new outdoor record. Ford will be competing with sophomore Cody Durbin in that event.

With a seemingly never-ending winter still tormenting Ames, it will be a huge change of pace to those traveling down for this meet, and it will be interesting to see how the extreme temperature change might affect the student-athletes who have grown accustomed to winter-like atmosphere.

For Hughes and Lagat, they’re used to a change of pace.