With five throws under his belt, he only had one more. He had worked hard all year on the weight throw and this was the time that it had to pay off.
A junior and three-year walk-on, Vlad Pavlenko had improved immensely over the course of this year and he was not going to end this season without making some noise. As he got ready for his last throw of the indoor season he asked the crowd for some help. The sound filled the air as Pavlenko spun three times and released.
Pavlenko set the Iowa State record in the weight throw on Saturday with an amazing throw of 68-09.75, which put him third in the event, as the Cyclones hosted the first day of the Big 12 Championships.
“If you ask anyone who’s ever met or seen me in this sport, they would know 100 percent that this was coming,” Pavlenko said.
Facing some of the best competition in the nation, Pavlenko finished third in the weight throw which was a much-needed six points for the Cyclones, but the impact it brought with it seemed to shift the momentum.
“I’ve just been working so hard, it’s just awesome finally getting this,” Pavlenko said.
Throughout the year, Pavlenko had been encroaching on the weight throw record, and now all of his hard work has paid off.
He wasn’t able to quite qualify for nationals, but he has high hopes for next season.
“That’s the next step, I [got to] become an All-American. I [got to] get myself on the actual wall by Jack Trice,” Pavlenko said when talking about nationals and next season.
After Pavlenko’s stellar performance, it finally got the team’s point total going. Most of the events on day one were preliminary events, so there weren’t many opportunities for points. The opportunity arose in the 5000-meter run.
Andrew Jordan and Edwin Kurgat were the favorites from the start for this race and their goal was to finish first and second in whatever order.
“Edwin really wanted to lead it and push it and do that for the team,” Jordan said.
Kurgat was pacing the race for the first 4000-meters which was the strategy all along for the Cyclones, and then Jordan took the reins at the end.
The teammates finished first and second after pulling away from the crowd on the last lap, with Jordan taking the gold.
“I think Andrew is just like, a great teammate, he’s the one who made me just want to transfer over here,” Kurgat said about Jordan.
There is obviously some great respect between these two great runners who will see each other again in the 3000-meter race tomorrow.
The Cyclones finished their day with a third place effort in the distance medley relay. Dan Curts secured them this spot with a big finish, and he will be running in the finals for the mile and the 1000-meter races on Saturday.
Iowa State ended the day in second place overall with 37 points. Texas is in first with 44 points.
With most of the finals coming tomorrow, there is still quite a bit of uncertainty as to who will finish at the top.
Vlad Pavlenko is happy that he could help.
“This is what it’s all about," Pavlenko said. "This is the championship."