ISU women win Bill Bergan Invitational

Mark Specht

The ISU women’s track team didn’t go into the Bill Bergan Invitational with winning as its top priority, but still managed to walk away with the team title.

The women’s track team has been open about how it is training through the early season meets to set itself up for the Iowa State Classic and Big 12 Championships.

“I think it’s pretty consistent across the board that Iowa State, we’re training through these meets so we might not finish as far up as we want to,” said sophomore distance runner Margaret Gannon. “Come around [the Big 12 Championships] when we taper and get a little more speed work and that problem might be solved.”

Gannon was the Cyclones’ top finisher in the mile run at fifth overall with a time of 4:56.91.

The ISU women had four individual champions at the invitational including sophomore Christina Hillman in the shot put (17.42 meters), senior Ese Okoro in the 400-meter dash (54.54), senior Ejiro Okoro in the 800-meter race (2:06.43) and redshirt senior Betsy Saina in the 3,000-meter run (9:04.57).

Okoro’s 54.54-second 400-meter dash broke the ISU women’s track record set in 1989 by Edith Nakiyingi (54.57).

ISU coach Corey Ihmels talked about the success of Ejiro and Ese Okoro.

“Both of them are doing a great job,” Ihmels said. “Obviously they’ve been here a year now and they’ve really kind of [gotten] into the groove with the training and understanding what it takes.”

In the women’s shot put, Iowa State took the top three places, as well as a second-place finish by redshirt senior Laishema Hampton in the weight throw.

Assistant coach Grant Wall called the women’s shot put performance “a little unexpected” based on where they are in training, but also said the group always has the potential to perform as it did.

“It’s exciting, but we’ve got to manage that, too,” Wall said. “You don’t want to think that’s going to happen every time, you just want to go out and compete.”