In preparation for the rapidly approaching Big Ten Championships, IU track and field is sending athletes to compete in three different meets this weekend – the Iowa State Classic, the Tyson Invitational and the Hoosier Hills.
IU Head Coach Ron Helmer said the decision to split the team up isn’t something that he likes to do, but it’s what gives the athletes the best chance to improve at this point in the season.
“It’s not a sport where we’re going to evaluate what we do this weekend by home many points the team scored,” Helmer said. “What matters is are we putting national meet qualifying marks on the board.”
Helmer believes that keeping everybody at home for the Hoosier Hills will not help his athletes reach the national qualifying marks required to face-off against tougher competition.
“It's about putting yourself in an environment that’s going to bring the best out of you and as hard as we try we can’t create that environment every week,” Helmer said.
For that reason, the jumpers will be heading to the University of Arkansas for the Tyson Invitational while the middle-distance and distance runners will go to the Iowa State Classic.
According to Helmer, the Iowa State Classic has put together the best field in the country in the middle-distance and distance races.
Staying home for IU this weekend to compete in the Hoosier Hills will be the throwers and athletes that will benefit more by facing competition on par with themselves. Helmer said his decision to keep the throwers at home was due to the fact that they faced an excellent field at last weekend's meet.
Ultimately, Helmer said the goal is to put every athlete in a position to improve and develop.
“Every single person is good enough to get better, and when we get to line up on the weekend’s we need to get better,” Helmer said.
Still, Helmer said he is pleased with the personal records that have been achieved thus far and the way the team is competing.
“When you have a large number of people showing us that that’s what’s going on, that’s a very, very positive thing,” Helmer said. “As you start thinking about the championship part of the season, that is the positive momentum you want to have.”