Iowa State men’s 4×400 meter relay team waiting for National announcement


Eric Fogltanz hands off the baton to Ben Kelly in the second leg of the 400-meter relay during the Iowa State Classic on February 11 at Lied Recreational Center.

Mike Burvee

Coming into the Big 12 Indoor Championships this past weekend at the Leid Recreation Center in Ames, the Iowa State men’s 4×400 meter relay team was coming off their best competition yet.

One week prior they ran in the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Indiana. Not only did they run their best time, but they also continued to move up in Iowa State history, which they’ve done since the start of the season. 

The time they ran, just under 3:06, had them slated to go to Nationals. 

All eyes were on the four men to see if they’d run an even quicker time and move up in the Division I standings.

Though the relay team didn’t win, they were still all smiles as they received their medals for fourth place.

“This was definitely our toughest competition,” leadoff runner Eric Fogltanz said. “We’ve faced some tough non-conference teams but the Big 12 is where it’s at.”

The official announcement determining who will and will not make Nationals may not come until Tuesday, but the team is confident. 

As of Sunday morning the Cyclones had the 11th fastest time in the country. In order to make it to Nationals they must stay within the top 12 times. 

The four came in focused and with a winning mentality, but at the same time they wanted to enjoy the moment.

Ben Kelly took the handoff from Fogltanz, the Cyclones in the lead pack.

“I’d give us a B+,” Kelly said. “We didn’t win, but nothing comes easy in the Big 12s.”

As the race went deeper the pack started to thin out and the Cyclones looked to Roshon Roomes to make up some ground. 

The lead pack now had separated itself by a wide enough margin to all but guarantee the Cyclones wouldn’t finish first.

Their last hope remained in Jaymes Dennison, the speedy anchor runner.

“I had the baton in my hand and my goal was to catch at least one guy,” Dennison said. “I caught him and that moved our overall team from seventh to fifth in points.”

Despite not being in contention for the win, the competition between Big 12 foes was a good warm-up for Nationals. If the Cyclones make it, there’s a good chance they won’t be the only team to represent the Big 12.

As of now Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas would also make it.

“We’re going to rest and recover this week,” Dennison said. “We just have to bring everything to the table.”

If making it to Nationals wasn’t surprising enough for the team it must also be noted that this is the first year that the four have been paired together.

Though there are two upperclassmen in Dennison and Kelly, who’ve made great strides this season, Roomes and Fogltanz are fairly young and exceeding early expectations. 

In addition to the main four, the Cyclones will be able to bring an alternate runner as well. As of now Derek Jones is slated to fill that spot.

“He’s a really tough competitor,” assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury said. “One of the [relays] he ran in earlier this season resulted in one of the fastest times in school history.”

Jones would be coming off his own high after finishing with a personal record at Big 12s in the 600-yard run.

“These guys have been doing a great job,” Sudbury said. “They put it all out there, it’s not just about them it’s about Iowa State.”