Stanford Invitational next on Cyclone track, field route


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Junior Derek Jones jumps over a hurdle during the men’s 400-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays April 30. Jones placed fifth with a time of 51.98.

Mike Burvee

After one outdoor meet this season, it’s tough to judge how the men’s track and field team is doing, and how it will fare for the rest of the season.

Some names came out of the woodwork over the last week, and the team is hoping more guys will get positive results this weekend at the two-day Stanford Invitational, which will start Friday.

For some on the roster, this will be their second outdoor meet, but for many traveling, this will be their opener, including hurdler Derek Jones.

“I’m excited to compete in the 400-meter hurdles again,” Jones said. “Plus, it’s always fun to compete in California.”

Each athlete is attempting to improve and get some experience under their belts leading up to the championship season. 

Jones himself is a veteran, knowing when the time is right to peak in the season. Now he’s focused mainly on his fitness and continual improvement overall.

He’s also had a good history running on Stanford’s track.

“I ran one of my best times there last season,” Jones said.

Jones isn’t just competing in his primary hurdle event; he’s also filling in a role on the 4×400 meter relay team.

The Cyclones’ normal four on the team are Eric Fogltanz, Ben Kelly, Roshon Roomes and Jaymes Dennison. Jones is taking the place of Fogltanz, who isn’t fully healthy.

Fogltanz suffered a hamstring injury during his leg of the relay at the national indoor meet earlier in March.

“We haven’t really changed our strategy despite missing him,” Jones said. “This weekend will be our first meet this season with this lineup.”

Jones ran in the open 400-meter for much of the indoor season and traveled with the relay team to nationals as a fifth man in case he needed to fill in.

This weekend will also feature the long-awaited Cyclone track debut of Thomas Pollard. Pollard didn’t compete during the indoor season, coming fresh off the heels of the cross-country season. Last fall, he helped his team reach nationals as well.

“I think he could surprise a lot of people,” Jones said. “I’m really excited to see him compete.”