Cyclone relay team hoping to bring home national hardware


Cyclone men’s 4×400 team made up of Eric Fogltanz, Ben Kelly, Roshon Roomes and Jaymes Dennison celebrating their result. The four took fourth place in the Big 12 Championships at Lied Recreational Center on February 25.

Mike Burvee

It’s been an up and slightly down season for the men’s 4×400-relay team, and now comes the biggest stage.

This weekend will be the culmination of the indoor season with the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships taking place in College Station, Texas. The relay team won’t compete until the last event of the meet Saturday evening.

It wasn’t easy for the Cyclones to get this far, despite seeing continued success with each passing week during the season.

Three weeks ago the relay team ran its fastest time of the season, which has ultimately led to a chance at winning this weekend. It came out with something to prove after a heartbreaking finish the week before at the Iowa State Classic.

The Cyclones didn’t improve their time in the Big 12 Indoor Championship and had to wait out the next few days to see if they would still be running at nationals. After the dust settled, the Cyclones were listed with the 11th fastest time in the event out of 12 teams.

Ben Kelly has been part of the success that the relay team has seen.

“After Big 12s we realized we need to bring it every single meet,” Kelly said. “We’re going up against the best competition each time, and we need to do our best.”

One advantage the four men on the team will have is rest. In other meets this season each guy ran in more than one event, taking some fuel out of the tank.

Not only will they only be competing in the one event, but they also will have had two weeks to prepare and rest their bodies coming into nationals. Despite the rest, the energy level has remained high among the four.

“We’re definitely prepared,” Kelly said. “We’ve been working at this all year and now we’re ready to go.”

The team, which includes Eric Fogltanz, Kelly, Roshon Roomes and Jaymes Dennison will be the only men to represent Iowa State. In addition, Derek Jones has been slated to run as an alternate.

“It means a lot to not only represent Iowa State, but also our friends and families,” Kelly said. “We just want to make them proud.”

Despite not achieving one of the fastest times, the team is still confident and hopes it can make a run. The host team, Texas A&M, owns the fastest time in the event.

“Anything is possible on any given day for any team,” Fogltanz said. “We’re just hoping that our team will be one to have a good day.”

The odds have been against Iowa State since last year. Making it this far, the way it has, didn’t seem possible as little as a year ago.

What makes this season even more impressive is the fact that the four men hadn’t run together in this event. Some of them hadn’t even run in the relay at all.

“If someone would have told me at the beginning of the year we’d make it this far, I would have called them crazy,” Fogltanz said. “We didn’t think it was possible.”

Staying mentally tough is just as important as staying physically fit, especially on this big of a stage. As the season has progressed the men have continued to gain confidence as their times have dropped.

That confidence will be put to the test this weekend in front of a national audience, against the best college runners.

“We need to treat it like any other meet,” Fogltanz said. “Just need to keep calm and run hard.”