Road aspect doesn’t change preparation for ISU men’s track


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt senior Henery Kelley performs in the weight throw during the Big Four Duals on Jan. 24. Kelley placed first with a distance of 18.86 meters.

Trey Alessio

On the road again, the ISU men’s track team is preparing for the Razorback Team Invitational. Some like to travel; some would rather stay in Ames.

Other than the runners, throwers and jumpers that went to Lincoln, Neb. for the Holiday Inn Invitational, this is the first road meet for Iowa State.

There may be a road aspect this week, but the preparation hasn’t changed much.

“Our focus at practice, as interesting enough, is to throw hammer outdoor,” said redshirt senior Henry Kelley. “So we’ve been throwing a lot of hammer with the nice weather, and even when it’s not so nice, above 30 degrees, we still go out and throw hammer. We probably touch the weight once a week, maximum, because training hammer helps you throw weight, but training weight does not help you throw hammer.”

There is no hammer throw event at the indoor meets. Hammer throw is for outdoor meets and the weight throw is for indoor meets, which Kelley is preparing for.

Kelley had a big day Jan. 24 at the Big 4 Duals. He finished first in the weight throw with a distance of 18.86 meters. He also etched his name into ISU track and field history, becoming the sixth-ranked thrower on Iowa State’s all-time list.

For senior Mark Sitek, practice this week has been about getting back into the swing of things.

“We’re just trying to get back our speed and endurance,” Sitek said. “We kind of have been taking it a little bit lighter the past couple weeks. Right now, we’re trying to get back into full speed.”

Sitek specializes in the 200-meter race, which his personal record is 21.67 indoor. His goal for the Razorback Team Invitational is a low 21-minute mark.

For a distance runner, practice has been about staying poised.

“A lot of it is to build fitness right now because it’s early, but I think, at least in the workouts, it’s been to just stay poised within yourself and get ready for what it’s going to be like in the mile — not necessarily going out there and killing yourself in workouts,” said senior Brian Biekert.

Biekert’s goal at the Invitational is to run a personal record. He said he’s confident and in-shape, but he doesn’t know if a sub-4 minute mile is in his reach right now. Biekert’s personal record for the mile is 4:06.05.

There are many different opinions within the ISU men’s track squad about the road aspect of meets.

Sitek said there’s not really a road aspect and a race is a race no matter where the location. But Kelley begged to differ a little bit.

“Preferably, we can just walk out of our homes and come to Lied and throw,” Kelley said. “That’s the ideal [situation], but the road aspect … I don’t really think it takes much out of you as an athlete, but it does take a lot of mental planning with your classes and a lot of dietary planning and sleep planning and packing. But if you come prepared, it shouldn’t [hurt] your competition at all.”

The Cyclones will head to Fayetteville, Ark. for the Razorback Team Invitational on Jan. 30.

“The Razorback Invitational is where they host the indoor nationals, so there’s a lot of high-powered teams there,” Kelley said. “It’s very different competitively. There’s going to be a lot of good people, and the atmosphere will be good too.”