The time has come.
Iowa State men’s track and field hosts the Big 12 Indoor Track Championships this weekend and all eyes will be watching the Cyclones to see if they can compete with the conference.
The interesting thing about this meet, however, is the Cyclones will be looking to place high and earn points, rather than achieve their personal record or record a great time. What this means is there will be more strategic running based on how the race and competition is going.
“It’s an opportunity to [kind of] see how you really stack up as an overall program, within a conference,” said middle-distance coach Jeremy Sudbury.
In all the events, there is a point system that measures every event equally with the first place team in the event getting 10 points, second place getting 8 and third receiving 6, while teams lower than this receives less and less.
With an event like this, it makes the point system very entertaining to follow because it has more of a competition feel than the other meets to this point might have had.
Sudbury talked quite a bit about the importance of these points and what the Cyclones need to do as a collective group, as well as how the coaching decisions can help.
“We’re trying to look at where we can maximize our point total,” Sudbury said.
The Cyclones are a team that’s loaded with depth, which makes it easy for them to stretch out to different events and earn as many points as possible.
Senior jumper Jalen Ford is considered one of the best high jumpers in the nation this year, but he will have his hands full with two jumpers that have hit over 7-feet-7 already this season. Ford’s career high is just over seven feet.
With the competition as good as those jumpers make it, it should be a good meet to watch for anyone who wants to see some of the best athleticism in the country.
Someone else who should have his hands full is senior middle-distance runner Jaymes Dennison. He will be competing in the 600-yard race this weekend and looks to defend his title from last year.
“Jaymes is a unique athlete," Sudbury said. "Long term in his career he’ll be an [800-meter] runner.”
Dennison has been running mostly the 800-meter run this year and occasionally the 400-meter, so even though he is good at the 600-yard run, it should be a change of pace for the veteran.
Another guy to watch should be junior middle-distance runner Greyson Dolezal.
Dolezal has not been at the top of the leaderboard for the Cyclones this year, but in a team event, it’s hard not to recognize the potential.
At the Iowa State Classic, Dolezal finished with big personal records in both the mile and the 3,000-meter run. Dolezal is slated to run the 3,000-meter run this weekend and could come up with some key points.
As Iowa State heads into the Big 12 Championships, they will be throwing everything they have into this one.
Coach Sudbury has a piece of advice for the team.
“Do what got you here,” Sudbury said.