Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championship packed with top-tier athletes

Freshmen Emma Wren and Amanda Thate round a corner in the mile run at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational track and field meet on Jan. 23, 2016, in Ahearn Field House. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The indoor track and field season will start to wrap up this weekend at the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championship in Ames, Iowa.

The action meet will take place at the Lied Recreation Center. This will be the eighth year that Iowa State has hosted the event. The Lied Recreation Center’s 300-meter indoor track is believed to be one of the fastest indoor surfaces in the world, boasting eight 42-inch lanes.

The meet is loaded with high-caliber performers. On the men’s side, four top-25 teams will compete, including defending champion No. 6 Texas, No. 7 Texas Tech, No. 16 Oklahoma State and No. 22 TCU. The K-State men dropped out of the top 25 after holding the No. 25 spot in week three.

On the women’s side, four more top-25 teams will compete for the championship, including defending champion No. 5 Texas, No. 6 Kansas State, No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 24 Baylor. As of now, K-State is just 8.28 points behind Texas.

A men or women’s team from the University of Texas has won the Big 12 championship 13 times in the last 19 years. The men and women’s teams have both won the Big 12 title in the same year three times, including last season.

Last season, the K-State women were just 6.5 points away from Texas.

“I really think that losing the Big 12 last year is really driving the team this year to come together and train harder,” senior Akela Jones said.

Jones is one of the top track and field athletes in the country, and she will be joined at the Big 12 Championship by several other top-ranked athletes. The meet will feature seven events with top-ranked performers. Four men’s and three women’s events will feature a No. 1 ranked competitor or relay team.

The action starts on Friday with the men and women’s heptathlon and pentathlon. Field events will feature men and women’s weight throw, long jump and pole vault. On the track, finals for the men and women’s 5,000-meter run will take place along with finals for the men and women’s distance medley relay. Preliminaries will include sprinting and middle-distance events.

On Saturday, things will start off with the final events of the men’s heptathlon. In the field, the men and women’s high jump, triple jump and shot put will take place. On the track, finals for all sprinting and middle-distance events will take place, as well as the finals for the men and women’s 4-x-400 meter relay.

K-State was last in action at the Steve Miller Open in Ahearn Field House last weekend. The Wildcats had a strong performance with 12 athletes earning first-place finishes and 17 recording new personal bests.

The Big 12 Indoor Championship will get started at 10 a.m. with the 60-meter hurdle portion of the women’s pentathlon.