Iowa State men’s track and field ready for outdoor season

Iowa State then-junior Vlad Pavlenko yells while competing in the men’s weight throw during the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 9, 2018. Pavlenko had a best throw of 61-5 1/2.

Zane Douglas

After a long break, the Iowa State men’s track and field team is back and ready to go as they head to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to compete in their first outdoor meet of the year.

With outdoor events, many athletes on the team will have to make small adjustments, but junior thrower Vlad Pavlenko will be in an entirely new event.

“The hammer definitely is just way more technical,” Pavlenko said about the differences between hammer and weight throw.

The hammer throw introduces a longer chain and the weight on the instrument is considerably less, which causes for big changes in mechanics and strategy.

Pavlenko is coming off a huge end to the indoor season where he set the Iowa State record for weight throw, so he will look to continue his success and hopefully get off to a nice start with the new event.

As Pavlenko gears up for some changes, freshman Frank Hayes is ready for the outdoor season.

“I’m ready to get back outdoors,” Hayes said, “It’s so much easier than running indoors.”

Hayes has been a solid piece in middle-distance this season for the young Cyclone team and maybe the switch to outdoors will prove to be a big switch for him.

For Hayes, his results and personal records seem to agree with how he feels about outdoor and indoor running, because his personal records for both the 400-meter run and the 800-meter run are both considerably better outdoors.

Hayes and Pavlenko both aim to be key contributors for the outdoor season, after a successful end to the indoor season.

The last meet that the Cyclones competed in was the Big 12 Indoor Championships which was at home. The strategy for that meet was to get the highest place possible, while for regular season meets it is mostly based on times and distances. Not only will this be a change of pace, but they also have to travel outdoors which is an entirely different climate.

Redshirt sophomore jumper Chandler Diercks is also excited about the move to outdoors.

“Personally, I like outdoor just because I’m not too familiar with indoor,” Diercks said about which one he prefers.

Diercks has been the only consistent long jumper for the team this year and he’s had more success in his outdoor career than he has had indoors.

It is not surprising that most athletes prefer outdoor events, because growing up, track and field was always done outdoors, so it only seems natural to continue that.

“Coming from Iowa, we don’t have too many meets indoor in high school,” Diercks said talking about which of the two he is more used to.

As the Cyclones compete in the Tulsa Duels this weekend, it looks like they will have some eager competitors at their disposal.

After this weekend though, Iowa State will take another weekend off before heading to Stanford.

It’s a slow start to the season, but the Cyclones will be well-rested and ready to go for the next couple meets.

Pavlenko is unsure about what’s to come.

“We’ll have to see,” Pavlenko said.