Seniors lead ISU men’s track, field in 2015 season


Senior Henry Kelley competes in the men’s weight throw during the Big 12 Indoor Championship at Lied Recreation Athletic Center on Feb. 27, 2015

Luke Manderfeld

For ISU men’s track and field, it was the senior class that headlined the 2015 season. 

Two of the three ISU athletes at the NCAA Outdoor Championship entered their last events as Cyclones, and two more seniors had their last events at the NCAA West Preliminaries.

In particular, it was a Kenyan native’s last time to shine in an ISU uniform. Edward Kemboi had a career year that led him all the way to the NCAA Outdoor Championship, where he finally grabbed a championship in the 800-meter race in his fourth attempt. 

It all started for Kemboi at the Sun Angel Track Classic at Arizona State in April. Competing in the 400-meter race for the first time in the outdoor season, he finished third and set his personal record at 47.98. It was a rare loss in an individual event for Kemboi during the season.

That took him to the Drake Relays, where he ran in the distance medley and the 4×800. Before falling under the national spotlight of the historic event, he set a lofty goal for himself.  

“I just want to break an ISU record,” Kemboi said before the Drake Relays. “There is a lot of attention there, but I want to trust my teammates. Every time we go to [the Drake Relays], I think like, ‘OK, this is where we are a family.’”

Struck by a bit of bad luck with an injury and a fall on a hand off, his pair of relays did not finish above fifth place.  

A few meets later, Kemboi entered his last Big 12 Championship, and it was only fitting that it marked his last home meet. The Big 12 defending indoor champion in the 800 meters completed the sweep in the event and put up seven fingers to commemorate his seven career Big 12 titles in his collegiate. 

Qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in Eugene, Ore. with a 1:46.23 minute time in the NCAA West Preliminaries, Kemboi had one thing on his mind — winning. 

“I want to leave a legacy,” Kemboi said in April. “I want to be one of the best runners for Iowa State.”

He left his stamp on the program by breaking the all-time record in the 800, which he set a year ago, during the preliminary round.

In the final, he lurked in the middle of the pack until the last 100 meters, where he jumped ahead and took the victory by a narrow one-tenth of a second.

He wasn’t alone there, however, as fellow senior Taylor Sanderson was competing in his first-ever national meet in the decathlon.

Sanderson had been dealing with an abundance of injuries, the main one a nagging ankle injury.

“I’ve always been kind of dealing with it,” Sanderson said after the Big 12 Championship. “In the decathlon, you always deal with nagging injuries. I have a shoulder [injury], I’ve strained my abdominal muscles, I have hamstring issues, like both of my abductors. I’m used to it.”

He didn’t show many signs of the injuries at the NCAA Outdoor Championship, notching a 13th-place finish and four personal bests.

Cameron Ostrowski and Henry Kelley were two other seniors who didn’t advance past the NCAA West Preliminaries.

Kelley was coming off his career best in the hammer throw at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship but was unable to beat some of the top-ranked throwers in the country to move on to nationals.

Ostrowski finished his season on a disappointing note, failing to make the NCAA Outdoor meet for the first time in his career. He was unable to improve on his season-best mark set of 7 feet 4.25 inches, which was set at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship. 

Even with the loss of six seniors, the future of ISU men’s track and field can still be positive. 

Junior shot putter Jan Jeuschede will enter his senior season after making his third straight NCAA national meet. 

The German native finished 12th at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championship.

Freshman hurdler Logan Schneider may be one of the brightest athletes in the team’s future. Schneider made a trip to regionals in his first year on the team and just his second year competing in track.

A former linebacker, Schneider plans to play football and run for Iowa State in the future.

“I’m just staying in shape in the summer,” Schneider said. “Trying to put on 10 [to] 15 pounds. But I definitely plan to run for track all four years [in college].”