A nagging injury motivates second-team All-American high-jumper


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Junior Cameron Ostrowski, finished out as the Big 12 champion for the 2014 indoor track and field men’s high jump competition, with a final jump of 2.23 meters.

Trey Alessio

It was a Tuesday at the Lied Recreation Athletic Center and the ISU men’s track team was doing its normal routine — sprints, sled runs, acceleration development — when redshirt senior Cam Ostrowski tweaked his ankle.

The injury would become a nagging reoccurrence. Ostrowski competed twice last year as a high jumper in the indoor meets and twice outdoor. He said every time he jumped his ankle would swell up and he just tried resting a lot to get it healthy enough for Big 12’s and nationals.

At the NCAA indoor meet, Ostrowski jumped his way onto the second team All-American list. He cleared a height of 7 feet 3.75 inches, which made him the second person in Iowa State history to clear that mark. But Ostrowski had higher expectations.

“It’s nice to have the label: second team All-American, but going into that meet last year, my expectations were a little higher,” Ostrowski said. “Obviously I want to get top 8 and be a first team All-American. I don’t think I performed that well at that meet. My ankle wasn’t 100 percent. It was a little upsetting, but at the end of the day, second team All-American isn’t a thing a lot of people can say they have achieved. In that aspect, I’m still happy.”

At the end of last year’s season, Ostrowski didn’t think his ankle was where he wanted it to be, so he sat out of regionals to get healthy over the summer for this year.

“Over the summer, I wore a boot for four weeks — pretty much just rested it all summer,” Ostrowski said. “I didn’t really do any sprinting or training — just weight lifting.”

Then preseason came along. Ostrowski was fired up and ready to go with a solid ankle. But all of a sudden during practice, he tweaked his ankle again.

There was a point when ISU assistant coach Fletcher Brooks and Ostrowski had a discussion about whether he should even come back out for track due to his injury.

“It was the same way it was feeling last year, so I’ve just kind of been sitting out,” Ostrowski said. “I’ve been going in the training room and working out with the trainers about three times a week. I’ll ice after practice.”

Brooks didn’t give up on him. Ostrowski has been limited in practice. He said he hasn’t participated in a full practice with the other guys. He also sat out of the Holiday Inn Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., but Ostrowski said his ankle is good enough to compete.

With a second team All-American coming off a frustrating injury, there is a lot to motivate him this season.

“I think I have a lot to prove still especially after last year,” Ostrowski said. “Some of the other guys around division I track and field and within the sport, they kind of see the numbers I put up last year and they probably don’t think anything of me right now, but I feel like I still have a lot left in the tank.”

Ostrowski’s goal and expectation this year is to go back to the NCAA meet and finish in the top 8 and be named a first team All-American.

He will be competing in the high jump Jan. 24 at the Lied Recreational Center, and will be excited for a strong season ahead when the Cyclones participate in the Big 4 Dual meet.