ISU men’s track finishes strong at Big 12s


Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily

Senior Edward Kemboi leads the pack at the Big 12 Championships on Friday. 

Trey Alessio

It all started around 9 a.m.Friday for the ISU men’s track and field team. The hype surrounding this meet was off the charts. Some of the fastest runners in the world were competing at this meet. It was the Big 12 Indoor Championship — the meet everybody had been preparing the entire year for.

The Cyclones would be using all of what they had learned throughout the year to compete and eventually leave with their heads held high.

“For me, I’ve competed here before,” said senior Edward Kemboi. “It’s nothing really new to me. I know how to protect the race. I know how to compete … I didn’t want to run really fast or really slow. I just wanted to compete and win.”

Day One

Kemboi said under the new coaching staff, the Big 12s was where the athletes and new coaches meshed together as one. He said it was their best meet so far.

It was a big day for the Cyclones with four personal records, including freshman Logan Schneider in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.24, DeLago in the mile with a time of 4:03.90, junior Brandon Wheat in the 1,000-meter with a time of 2:25.23 and junior Jared Ingram in the 200-meter with a time of 22.24.

Day one action came down to the men’s final event at 9 p.m. The distance medley was the event a lot of people had been waiting for all day. The hype increased when John Cena’s theme song, “The Time Is Now,” came on and Peterson, who was competing in the distance medley, waved his hand in front of his face as if to say, “you can’t see me,” just as the song says.

The starting pistol fired and the race started with Kemboi. He got Iowa State out to a huge lead. Kemboi already had a big day, but he wanted to give his team the best chance to win. The baton was then handed to freshman Elijah Young. He held his own by maintaining the lead that Kemboi started. As Young passed the baton to Peterson, the ISU lead dwindled.

Peterson found himself trying to play catch up, and he did. He passed multiple people and got Iowa State back within four from the front. The final leg belonged to Biekert. 

He started off maintaining the team’s spot, but eventually Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas’ speed caught up. Iowa State finished fifth in the distance medley.

“I think the team did pretty good. The coaches were happy,” Young said. “And I’m decently proud of myself. I think my medley could’ve gone a little better, but they just threw me in — I never practiced with it — so I’m pretty happy about where I was.”

Day Two

This day belonged to Kemboi. One thing was on his mind.

“Every time I step on this track, I just know I have to run — nothing else,” Kemboi said.

In the last turn of the 1,000-meter run, Kemboi was in third place, but he showed why some call him the best collegiate distance runner in the nation. He put on the burners and surpassed everyone to win the 1,000-meter run at the Big 12s. 

As he crossed the finish line, he waved his hand in front of his face like John Cena and said “you can’t see me.” He was a Big 12 champion, but he wasn’t done yet.

A little more than 20 minutes after finishing the 1,000-meter, Kemboi easily finished first in the 800-meter run. He ran right into the Big 12 history books.

Kemboi became the first athlete in Big 12 history to be crowned both 1,000-meter and 800-meter champion in back-to-back seasons. He also won the Big 12 MVP award, which was a goal of his from last year.

The ISU men’s track and field team finished fifth overall with 81 points at the Big 12s. That marks its best finish at the Big 12s since getting second place in the inaugural Big 12 Championship in 1997.

Young said the ISU coaches said that the team has grown a lot as a program. Young is satisfied with where they’re at right now.

The Cyclones will be back in action when some of them head to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. on March 13 and 14.

“We’re going to handle what we need to handle at nationals and then we’re looking for a great outdoor season,” Young said. “We’re just going to do our thing and try to make history.”