ISU men’s track and field attempts to put up points at Big 12s


Senior Edward Kemboi chases after a Baylor runner in the men’s 800-meter run at the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 14. Kemboi finished first in the event.

Trey Alessio

The Big 12 Indoor Championship is the meet the ISU men’s track and field team has been looking forward to and striving for all season long, and it’s finally here.

Since the beginning of the season, many runners, jumpers and throwers have expressed how everything they do has led up to the Big 12 Championships, and now looking forward to the weekend, the Cyclones have one thing in mind: points.

“Big 12s is a matter of scoring points,” said senior Edward Kemboi. “It’s not a matter of just running fast … the Iowa State Classic was a matter of running fast. Big 12s, you just need to win. You just need to cross the finish line number one. It’s just about the points.”

The Big 12 Championship is unique in a few ways. It’s the first meet of the season where it really matters how Iowa State performs as a team, which comes down to the points scored in each event. This meet is also a home meet for the Cyclones, which differs from many previous meets and gives them a sense of comfort.

“It’s convenient for us to have the Big 12s here, to have a big time meet that we can sleep in our own bed the night before, wake up, drive to Lied and compete. It’s a huge advantage,” said redshirt senior Henry Kelley. “We don’t have to travel here. We don’t have to live in a hotel. In that way, it’s a huge advantage. It’s just the comfort of being home.”

Redshirt senior Cameron Ostrowski also said he likes that the Big 12s will be in Ames. He said the comfort level is there.

Along with the Iowa State Classic, the Big 12 Indoor Championships will have a different kind of atmosphere — bigger crowds, bigger theatrics and bigger competition. However, unlike the Iowa State Classic, the Big 12s will be strictly teams from the Big 12 Conference, which Ostrowski said gives a better focus for the meet.

“I know some guys were trying to get qualifying marks at the Iowa State Classic, but this [meet] is all about trying to score as many points as you can in everyone’s individual events,” Ostrowski said.

It comes down to individual success with a common team goal of winning. The runners, jumpers and throwers have all been doing their specific workouts to prepare for the meet everyone has been looking forward to since day one.

Kelley said the throwers are focusing on quality workouts, more so now than ever.

“Less is more,” Kelley said. “We’re cutting a lot of volume out of our workouts. We’re doing a lot less, but at the same time, we’re really trying to get a lot more out of less … we’re trying to put the work in before and then we just take it easy.”

Kelley also said the Cyclones will have a team meal the night before the meet begins, the coaches will give some words of wisdom and put their minds in the right place. It also becomes a tapering off of training, so their bodies aren’t beaten up heading into the meet.

Everybody has a team mindset heading into Big 12s.

“If I see my team losing in a different event, I’m not going to let anybody beat me just because I’m doing it for my team and my school,” Kemboi said.

The Big 12 action will begin Feb. 27 and continue Feb. 28 at Lied Recreation Athletic Center in Ames.