ISU Classic: Weekend In Review
AMES, Iowa – The 2014 Iowa State Classic put Ames and the Lied Recreation Athletic Center back on the national map as one of the nation’s premiere track and field venues, producing one of the most competitive fields in the nation. The meet showcased elite talent from both the collegiate and professional levels, attracting athletes from across the country.
Phoebe Wright, competing for Nike, took home the women’s 800-meter run title in a meet and Harry Hoak Track record 2:03.39. Wright broke Tytti Reho’s meet record (2:04.56) and Bethany Praska’s track record (2:04.22) with the performance. Ejiro Okoro was the first collegian to cross the line, setting an Iowa State indoor record in 2:03.91. Okoro (3rd), Georgetown’s Andrea Keklak (4th) and Minnesota’s Alena Brooks (5th) are all ranked inside the NCAA’s top-5 this season.
On the men’s side, Iowa State junior Edward Kemboi electrified the home crowd with a world-class performance. The Cyclone posted the fastest time in the nation this season, professional or collegiate, breaking the tape in 1:45.98. Kemboi bided his time early in the race, and with a lap to go, he turned it on. Kemboi passed the field ahead of him and torched the track over the final 200m to seal the victory. The Eldoret, Kenya, native defeated five athletes now ranked inside the nation’s top-12 in No. 5 Sean Obinwa (Florida), No. 6 Billly Ledder (Georgetown), No. 9 Andres Arroyo (Florida), No. 10 Ryan Schnulle (Florida) and No. 12 Samuel Ellison (Villanova). Kemboi was just .01 seconds off of the meet and track record held by Roman Oravec (1:45.97), set back in 1999. The mark is the seventh-fastest time in the world and is the fastest run in the past 13 years.
Brooks Beast Jessica Tebo ran the fastest women’s mile in meet history, crossing the line in 4:34.73, just .19 seconds off of Jessica Mortimer’s track record (4:34.54). Tebo outran a field that included several professional competitors and Kentucky’s Allison Peare, who is now ranked fifth nationally after a 4:35.80 performance.
The men’s mile produced one of the fastest fields in the country this indoor season. The field featured seven individuals who broke the 4-minute barrier, a total that was equaled only by the Millrose Games’ prestigious Wannamaker Mile this weekend. Villanova’s Jordan Williamsz captured the victory in a meet and track record of 3:56.84, edging out Kentucky’s Matt Hillenbrand (3:57.00) at the line. Williamsz won the race over a field that showcased numerous elite level athletes, including some of the nation’s best collegiate milers. The time ranks Williamsz second nationally, behind only UTEP standout Anthony Rotich’s 3:55.86, which was converted from 4:01.11 at altitude at the Cherry and Silver Invitational.
Williamsz, Hillenbrand, Frezer Legessee (Indiana Elite), Duncan Phillips (Austin TC), former Iowa State director of track and field and cross country pupil Riley Masters (Brooks Beasts), Chad Noelle (Oklahoma State) and Robert Denault (Villanova) each posted sub-4 minute marks in the race.
In the women’s 3,000-meter run, Furman Elite’s Stephanie Garcia crossed the line in an ISU Classic meet record 9:11.68. Garcia emerged victorious ahead of a field littered with professional talent, including teammate Nicole Bush and Brooks Beasts athletes Clerc Simpson and Angela Bizzarri.
In the 5,000m, Duke’s Juliet Bottorff ran away from the field, finishing more than four seconds ahead of the field in 15:49.80. Bottorff defeated notable competition in Texas’ Sara Sutherland, Butler’s Mara Olson, William and Mary’s Elaina Balouris and Emily Stites and Syracuse’s Sarah Pagano. Bottorff and Sutherland were the only competitors to cross the line ahead of the 16-minute mark and are now ranked seventh and 11th in the nation, respectively.
The men’s 5,000-meter run, the most anticipated event of Day 1, did not disappoint. The showdown of numerous All-Americans and conference champions produced nine sub-14 minute performances, as Wisconsin’s Reed Connor took the title. It was a four-horse race between Connor, Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan, Oklahoma State’s Shadrack Kipchirchir and Northern Arizona’s Brian Shrader that came down to the final lap to decide the victor. Connor and Tiernan ran stride for stride coming out of the final turn before the Badger used a final burst to take the lead and the win. Connor’s performance was a meet (Alistar Cragg, Arkansas – 13:45.51) and track record (Adam Goucher, Colorado, 13:38.23). To put Connor’s record in perspective, Goucher was a four-time NCAA Champion at Colorado and competed for the United States in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Several distance medley relay teams made the trip to Ames in hopes of posting a tentative NCAA qualifying time as one of the top-12 teams in the nation. Duke’s squad of Anima Banks, Elizabeth Kerpon, Haley Meier and Audrey Huth was the only team to do so, running the 4,000m relay in 11:06.87. The time is the fastest in Harry Hoak Track history and is a new ISU Classic meet record.
In total, eight meet records were broken this past weekend, with five women’s and three men’s records fell, while four facility records fell (two women, two men). 18 individuals that competed in the event are now ranked inside the NCAA top-10 in their respective events.