ISU track and field’s future looks bright with returning champions

Chris Wolff

The future of ISU track and field looks promising as it enters the second year under a new coaching staff led by Martin Smith.

Smith, who has coached five national championship teams, brought 35 years of college coaching experience to Iowa State.

Smith and the rest of his staff brought a renewed sense of energy to the program and it showed. The indoor season saw 29 Cyclones claim All-Big 12 accolades, seven Big 12 championships, and one national championship.

Returning this season for the Cyclones will be All-American and national champion Christina Hillman. Hillman claimed her first national championship in the shot put event in the 2013-14 season after taking second place in the event the year before.

Hillman dominated her way through the indoor season, winning every collegiate competition she entered. Hillman, a senior this year, will look to defend her title in the shot put this season.

Also returning is All-American Edward Kemboi, who just missed out on a national title himself. Kemboi finished in second place in the 800-meter event at the indoor national championships.

During the ISU Classic, Kemboi ran the event in 1:45.98, which was the seventh-fastest time in the world in the event this indoor season. The Kenyan native will be a senior this year.

Cameron Ostrowski will return for his senior season after earning second-team All-American honors in the high jump last indoor season.

Ostrowski won a Big 12 title with a jump of 7 feet, 3.75 inches and placed 13th at the NCAA Championships.

Also returning will be Maggie Gannon, Kendra White and Perez Rotich, all of whom were on the women’s distance medley relay team that won a Big 12 Championship.

The team loses Big 12 champions Ejiro Okoro and Samantha Bluske to graduation. Okoro won Big 12 championships in the distance medley relay and 800-meter run, and Bluske won a Big 12 title in the 5,000-meter race.

In total, Iowa State will have 24 of last season’s 29 indoor All-Big 12 performers returning to compete again this year.