Two women bring home gold after ASU Invite


Photo: Colin Neumann/Iowa State

ISUunior Ejiro Okoro competes in the women’s 800-meter run at the Last Chance NCAA Qualifier on Saturday, March 3, at Lied Recreation Athletic Center. Okoro finished fourth with a time of 2:05.77. 

Stephen Koenigsfeld

With one meet put away, the outdoor track season is officially underway for the Cyclones. At the Arizona State University Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., two women were able to bring home the gold for the ISU women’s track team in their events.

Senior Kianna Elahi and junior Ese Okoro finished first and second in the women’s 400-meter hurdles this weekend. Both runners have sub-60-second times and are already making big impressions.

“Kianna and Ese both ran the No. 1 and No. 2 times in the nation off of last week’s times,” said sprints coach Nate Wiens.

Wiens said he was impressed by how well the team opened up the outdoor season. All around, the women had solid performances in shot put, hammer throw, hurdles and sprints.

As far as the distance squad goes, they were left in Ames this weekend in order to keep basic training down for the main distance invites they have coming up within the next few weeks.

Aside from a dominant performance by the sprints squad, the women’s throwers also had an impressive showing at the ASU Invitational.

“Laishema Hampton, she is No. 2 on the all-time Iowa State list for hammer throw and set a new personal best [this weekend],” Wiens said.

Alongside Hampton, redshirt junior Danielle Frere brought home the gold in women’s shot put with a throw of 51-09.75 feet. Teammate Hayli Bozarth came in a close third with a throw of 50-05.25 feet.

Even though only one outdoor meet is in the books, Wiens said his runners are heading in the right direction for success.

“With our 400 hurdlers, Donnise Powell ran a sub-60, which put her 13th in the nation,” Wiens said. “And Krista Shoeman ran a 61-[second 400], which put her in the top 50. They ran well.”

With many meets ahead, the ASU Invitational was only a step in the outdoor season. Wiens said it’s going to be about mechanics and getting the little things down in order to succeed at for the runners’ next goals.

“Now it’s just sharpening up over the top of the hurdles and making sure our stride stays on,” Wiens said. “The further you move on down the season, the little bit faster you’re able to move.”

Wiens added that he isn’t looking for huge jumps this early in the season. The sprint squad is already running fast times in the hurdles and the dashes.