More Cyclones blaze trail to NCAA Championship in track and field


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Junior Kelly McCoy competes in the women’s high jump at the Drake Relays on Friday, April 25 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Max Dible

Seven ISU track and field athletes are set to embark down a modern version of the Oregon trail, with their travels culminating in a chance to compete for the moniker of national champion.

The ISU athletes have traversed a long and treacherous path to reach the pinnacle of collegiate track and field — the NCAA Championship in Eugene, Ore.

A handful of Cyclones — such as distance runner and redshirt junior Katy Moen and junior shot putter Christina Hillman — have dominated en route to their championship berths, winning every qualifier along the way.

However, there are two ISU athletes who found their way to nationals in a quieter but no less impressive fashion.

Redshirt junior Kelly McCoy hit her personal record in the high jump of 1.77 meters at the most opportune time in the regional meet, while sophomore shot putter Jan Jeuschede finished eight spots higher than his regional ranking, propelling him into the national competition.

“On Saturday everything just kind of came together,” McCoy said. “I made both of my jumps on my second attempt, so my coach saw there was one thing I needed to fix, gave me that cue and I was able to execute it. I think that is why it was such a good jumping day for me.”

Jeuschede did not reach a personal best at the regional meet, but he improved upon what he described as a disappointing outcome at the Big 12 Championship.

“I definitely thought I was going to throw a lot farther [at regionals], so I did not quite put it all together perfectly. It was a little better than at the Big 12s, but there is a lot more there,” Jeuschede said. “I came in ranked 17th and ended up in ninth place, so I performed pretty well. I think my throws were decent, but I am not extremely happy with the distance.”

Jeuschede said that the pressure of moving on to the NCAA Championship does not compare to the pressure he puts on himself meet in and meet out, so the enormity of the national stage is unlikely to phase him competitively.

Jeuschede is taking a realist’s approach to the meet, but his practicality is not affecting his goals.

“Honestly, I would like to finish in the top eight [at nationals], but I do realize it is going to be extremely hard,” Jeuschede said. “If everyone throws like they have been so far, it is probably going to take around 64 feet to be a first-team All-American. That is going to be really tough to do.”

First through eighth place earn first-team honors, while places nine through 16 will earn the athletes who finish in that range second-team All-American recognition.

Both of these potential accolades, as well as a second consecutive personal record, are what McCoy is pushing for in the final meet of her career.

“At the beginning of the season I had written my goal as 1.80 meters … so I think somewhere in the progression where something like that comes up, that would be my goal,” McCoy said. “To be a first- or second-team All-American is what I am striving for.”

Different from Jeuschede, McCoy said the pressure of performing at the NCAA Championship will be something she will certainly feel, but considering her track record it will probably push her to even greater heights.

“I do think that I respond well to that pressure,” McCoy said. “I always try and keep things light and I like to have a [positive] attitude when I am jumping. The caliber of athletes that will be there will add pressure, but I think that helps me more than anything.”

McCoy, Jeuschede, Hillman and Moen will be joined by sisters and redshirt seniors Ejiro and Ese Okoro as well as junior Edward Kemboi at the NCAA Championship.

The meet will be from June 11 to June 14.