One of the largest indoor meets of the year, the New Balance Invitational in New York City, will host Iowa State this weekend along with roughly 100 other teams.
The big city will also be home to half of the Big 12 — Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech will all be competing with the Big 12 Championships just three weeks away.
The meet may throw some athletes off, but the coaches like it that way.
“It’s a bit chaotic and that’s good,” said assistant coach Travis Harke. “Things don’t happen like they should at times and it’s good practice for the Big 12 meet.”
But through all the chaos, athletes have to find ways to keep a level head. Each athlete has different ways to cope.
“We just have to know that we have put in the training,” said Ejiro Okoro. “We have done the hard work anyway; just go out and run. Coach wouldn’t let you run if he didn’t think you were ready.”
Focus may start before the race. Distractions are everywhere in New York and preparations begin early for some.
“The city is nice to visit,” said Falko Zauber. “It’s hard to tell yourself to stay in the hotel, not go out that much and go to bed early.”
Once the meet begins, surrounding themselves in the sport is important to get a good feel of how their race is going to go.
“I remember it was really busy at the indoor track there,” Zauber said. “Everybody has their own tactic to stay focused, I usually go to the track as much as I can. Absorb the noise in there. If I stay away from there and go into a race I will be overwhelmed.”
Zauber said every race is different and getting the feel during the race could be as much as a seven-second difference, referring to a race last weekend where Zauber got tripped up.
At this point in the season, the focus is on the Big 12 Championships, but it is also on the outdoor season.
“It’s always complicated,” Zauber said. “Where I am from in Germany it is the same thing. Everyone is always saying indoors doesn’t matter that much, but in the end we always did at least five competitions and trained hard. What matters is that it takes a long, long time to get fast. It’s good to get experience indoors.”
This meet will provide some good practice for later in the season. Hartke said this will prepare the team for the outdoor season when the meets can get up to an hour or two behind schedule.