Gomez, March earn First-Team All-American honors


Iowa State junior Jason Gomez (far left) competes in the men’s distance medley relay at the Drake Relays on April 30 in Des Moines, Iowa. Gomez, along with Nehemia Too, Charlie Johnson and Chad Johnson, placed eighth in the race with a time of 9:50.90. He was also part of the Cyclones’ 4x800m relay-winning team alongside Peter Smith, Cebastian Gentil and Darius Kipyego, as the quartet ran the second-fastest time in Iowa State history at 7:17.47.

Adarsh Tamma

Iowa State track and field wrapped up its 2022 season over the weekend, as four Cyclone athletes participated in the finals of the 800 meters, 5000 meters and discus competitions.

The Cyclones ended their season on a high note, as all four of their athletes earned All-American honors for their performances and placings at Hayward Field. Iowa State’s high points came in the finals of the men’s 800m and women’s discus, as Jason Gomez and Emily March produced the best performances of the season, and both took home First-Team All-American Honors in their respective events.

In total, the Iowa State men’s squad finished their week with five points scored across the four events they contested.

Gomez earns fourth place with PR performance

Once again, Jason Gomez found himself in the back of the pack in an NCAA Championships 800m race, and once again, he climbed back and broke his personal best.

Gomez found himself in an 800m final Friday that was packed with talent, as Texas A&M’s Brandon Miller was back in the race after finishing runner-up as a freshman last season. Miller, Mississippi State’s Navasky Anderson and Texas Tech’s Moad Zahafi all came into the race ranked within the top five in the country. Zahafi won the Big 12 and NCAA West Preliminary meets before the national finals and had a strong case to challenge Miller for the title.

The race started at a hot pace as Miller led the field through the first 400m in just under 51 seconds. The Aggie was quick to establish his lead, as he immediately streaked to the front of lane one after the first 100m with Zahafi hot on his heels. Texas’ Yusuf Bizimana followed behind in third, while Samuel Rodman of Princeton was quick to make a challenge for second after the first 200m.

Gomez went through the halfway mark in 52.29 seconds as he tried to hang onto the pace along with Arizona State freshman Dayton Carlson. On the backstretch of the final lap, Gomez made his move as he glided past Carlson and Jonathan Schwind of Lipscomb and closed in on Bizimana and Rodman.

Meanwhile, Zahafi was making moves of his own as he, Miller and Anderson began slowly separating themselves from the rest of the field. Zahafi overtook Miller with just over 200m left, with Anderson also making a challenge to pass.

Miller tried to make one last challenge over the homestretch, but Zahafi only increased his lead with a strong final kick and won in a time of 1:44.49. Anderson leaned at the tape to get the silver while Miller had to settle for bronze.

Gomez’s perseverance paid off as well, as he was able to pass both Bizimana and Villanova sophomore Sean Dolan to break the 1:47-barrier for the first time in his career. His time of 1:46.34 broke his previous PR by nearly 0.70 seconds in a race that saw six of the nine finalists establish new personal or season-best times.

With his fourth-place performance, Gomez earned his third First-Team All-American honor as a Cyclone and his first outdoors. He had previously been named to the First-Team list in March when he ran the 800m as part of Iowa State’s distance medley relay quartet that took sixth place at the indoor national championships. His time is also now the fifth-fastest in Cyclone history, as three of the four athletes ahead of him have PRs under 1:46.

March earns first All-American in women’s discus

Like Gomez, March came into the women’s discus final Saturday to a field with several heavy-hitters in contention for the gold medal. There was plenty of representation from the Big 12 Conference alongside March, as Kansas’ Alexandra Emilianov, Texas Tech’s Seasons Usual and Malin Smith, and Oklahoma’s Lauren Jones had all finished in the top five at the conference meet.

Of the 24 athletes competing in the throwing circle, the top nine after the first three throws would advance to the final round and get another trio of attempts. March threw in the first of the two flights, as did Usual and Smith and Indiana’s Jayden Ulrich, the last of whom was seeded fourth in the competition after winning the Big Ten title on a throw of 59.01m.

March’s day didn’t get off to a strong start, however, as she fouled on her first attempt along with nine other athletes. Her second-round throw saw her get on the board with a 52.99m. She improved again on her third-round throw to 54.29m and now sat in fifth place in the first flight.

Now, the waiting game was on, as March’s hopes for a place in the final round depended on the other flight’s performances, which included Emilianov and Arizona State’s Jorinde Van Klinken, the defending national champion.

Both Emilianov and Van Klinken easily qualified for three more attempts in their rounds, and March got her place in the final after finishing in seventh through the initial two rounds of flights. A rain delay between the two fields of throwers threw a wrench in the works, as the remaining 12 throwers had to wait before getting their chance to compete.

March threw for 54.29m in round four to hold onto the seventh-place spot. Her fifth and sixth attempts did not see her increase her distance, as she recorded a mark of 53.05m before scratching for the second time of the day. By this point, she had fallen to eighth but became Iowa State’s first athlete to win All-American honors in the women’s discus. 

Sophomore Kevin Sakson earned honorable mention All-American honors by finishing 20th in the men’s discus final. Sakson, who, like March, was also competing in his first NCAA Championships, recorded a day-best throw of 54.68m right out of the gate.

He then recorded 53.47m in round two before scratching in his final attempt and was unable to make the final round of nine. Nevertheless, Sakson’s All-American placing was Iowa State’s first in the men’s discus since Jamal Cann finished third in 2005.

Ryan “Chevy” Ford drives to 5K All-American status

Senior distance runner Ryan Ford capped off his collegiate career and year at Iowa State by garnering Honorable All-American honors with his 21st-place finish in the men’s 5000m final Friday evening.

Unlike Gomez, Ford had time to adjust his tactics and pace before the race’s final stages but also had a larger field to contend with. He was virtually in last place for the race’s first half, running at his own pace as the field strung out across lane one.

With six laps to go, home favorite Aaron Bienenfield made an attempt and surged into the lead, a position he held for over a lap before Florida State’s Adrian Wildschutt overtook him with just under five laps left.

Ford also made a move during this lap as he shifted up into 21st place by moving past a quartet that included Harvard’s Matthew Pereira. Pereira was up with the leaders in the beginning stages but had fallen towards the back of the pack as his teammate Acer Iverson moved up.

Wildschutt and teammate Ahmed Muhumed led the field with two laps to go, but Michigan State’s Morgan Beadlescomb and Wisconsin’s Olin Hacker quickly took control and were the first runners to go through at the bell lap. Nico Young of Northern Arizona was next behind him as he and Air Force junior Sam Gilman made up the front of the chase pack. 

In the end, it was Hacker who was able to kick for home ahead of Beadlescomb, as he won his first NCAA title in a time of 13:27.73. Beadlescomb clocked 13:28.38, followed by Young in third at 13:28.62 for a season-best.

Ford held onto his 21st-place spot in the final laps of the race as he crossed the line for the final time as a Cyclone in 13:50.03. He became the 14th Iowa State athlete to be named an All-American in the men’s 500m as he joined former national champion Wesley Kiptoo’s 13th-place finish from last year’s outdoor final.