Cancel your plans for the weekend.
The Cyclone men’s track and field team is heading to Des Moines, Iowa, this weekend to take part in one of the biggest track and field events of the year for the team and the whole country.
The Drake Relays.
“The Drake Relays is always a really unique and cool opportunity,” said middle distance coach Jeremy Sudbury.
Middle distance will be the focus with the Cyclones competing in four relays and a few other races this weekend that fall under that category.
Sudbury has coached well for those athletes to this point and this meet he will be working with sprint coach Frank Rizzo and head coach Martin Smith more to prepare for all the relays this weekend.
Sudbury is excited, especially about this year for the Drake Relays with the weather projected to be nice and sunny since it’s usually rainy around this time.
“The weather looks really nice. I think everyone’s excited about that,” Sudbury said.
At the end of the season, the Cyclones will need some athletes to start heating up now and it looks like senior middle-distance runner Jaymes Dennison has stepped up to be that guy with a great performance last weekend.
Dennison set his personal record in the 400-meter dash last weekend while also helping his relay team win the 4x400-meter relay.
Both events brought him near the top of Cyclones' history as his 46.90 in the 400-meter dash is now ninth all-time for Iowa State. His relay team finished in 3:07.57, which was good for eighth in Cyclone history.
“I think anytime you have a senior like Jaymes Dennison … start to come into form at the end of the season I think is really exciting,” Sudbury said.
Dennison is quickly turning into a leader and role model for the Cyclones' young corps of 400-meter and 800-meter runners. It’s proving successful as they seem to be thriving in their roles.
While Dennison is shining in his leadership role on the track, junior hammer thrower Vlad Pavlenko is doing the same, despite being the youngest on the team in his event. Pavlenko said he is excited for this weekend.
“It’s all about putting it all together and [making] it happen,” Pavlenko said.
Pavlenko has been historically good this year with the fourth best hammer throw in Iowa State history coming a few weeks ago in the Sun Angel Classic.
He will look to continue his success as the season winds down and maybe rise higher on the historic list.
With Pavlenko and Dennison encroaching on history for the program, the younger players will be looking to them for their leadership skills at the end of the long track and field season.
The Drake Relays are the only things between Iowa State and the Big 12 Championships now, so the athletes will be looking to step up on the big stage and make a difference for their team.