Just like everyone else at Iowa State, the women’s track and field team is sick of the cold weather.
Iowa’s seemingly never-ending winter not only moved last week’s Musco Twilight in Iowa City from Saturday to Thursday, but it’s also been moving the team’s practice plans. By now, the Cyclones are normally practicing with little to no limitations and are outside nearly every day.
This season, however, things are different. The weather is providing a challenge unseen in years past by the coaching staff and, as a result, the team can’t fully utilize their practice time.
For example, the team is inside nearly every day and certain events, such as the steeplechase, are unable to be fully simulated because of the conditions.
“It’s definitely been really challenging,” said assistant coach Andrea Grove-McDonough. “It’s one of those things where we’re lucky to have such a nice indoor facility so that if we’re stuck inside longer than we’d traditionally be, we’re lucky to have that option. A lot of other programs don’t.”
These amenities, coupled with talented athletes, have ensured that the team hasn’t missed a beat this season. Even with the odd weather, the Cyclone women seem to be besting themselves every week, with new personal records becoming a frequent occurrence.
That was the case even last week with just four entries traveling to Iowa City. Of those four, Essence Henderson, Christabel Okeke and Tessa Krempel all set personal records in the shot put and hammer throw, respectively.
For Krempel in particular, the new PR was especially meaningful. While fellow hammer thrower Christabel Okeke said last week that she was very happy for her teammate for winning first place in the open division at the Sun Angel Classic, Krempel herself says that she was largely disappointed with her season to that point.
The reason for that being, despite her wins in the open division, Krempel wasn’t seeing much improvement in her throws. She says that although her form and technique were good, she just wasn’t seeing improvement. This made her wins in the open division feel a little hollow
With a new personal record throw of 175-feet-5 last week, however, Krempel is gradually getting her confidence back while experiencing some much-needed relief.
“It felt good to finally get (a personal record),” Krempel said. “It was kind of frustrating to not hit those marks earlier, but better late than never.”
Krempel will get a chance to improve on those marks this weekend when she and 12 other Cyclone women head to Waco, Texas for the Michael Johnson Invite. At the same time on the west coast, 10 more members of the women’s team, all runners, will be in action at the Cardinal Classic in Palo Alto, California.
Both meets serve as one final tune-up before the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa next week, which will be the final meet that actually takes place during this school year. After that, it’ll be back to Waco for the Big 12 Outdoor Championships.
For all of the entrants, it’ll be a chance to escape what appears to be the last gasp of winter that hit Iowa this week.
Despite the snow on Wednesday, temperatures are expected to be in or near the 60 degree range all of next week, which should finally allow the Cyclones a chance to go through their normal practice routines for this time of year.
With the Big 12 championships less than a month away, that sense of normalcy couldn’t come at a better time, either. With all of the success that the Cyclone women have had lately, being able to practice without limitations should only improve the team as a whole.
Couple that with continued good health and there may very well be more good results to come for the Cyclones.
“We have a great opportunity for the athletes to really position themselves as we move into championship season,” Grove-McDonough said. “They’ve worked really hard and we’ve managed to stay healthy. That’s probably the biggest factor. That’s when good things like PR’s happen all the time.”