Record number of ISU athletes head to regionals

Dan Tracy

Two weeks removed from the ISU women’s best Big 12 Outdoor Conference finish in program history, Iowa State will send 28 competitors to Austin, Texas this weekend for the NCAA West Regional meet.

In Austin, only the top 12 finishers in each event will qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will be held June 10–13 in Eugene, Ore. 

The only two Cyclone athletes currently in the top 12 of their respective events are Hillary Bor, senior in accounting, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Lisa Koll, year three in veterinary medicine, in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs.

Bor, a runner-up at last year’s NCAA Championships, and Koll, a nine-time All-American, both have the nation’s leading times heading into the Regional meet. Although both are favorites to win NCAA titles in June, they both will still need a top 12 finish against the west region’s best competitors in order to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

“Both of them just have to go out and run their race,” said coach Travis Hartke. “If they go out and just run their race, they just have to be in the top 12, but it’s going to be the top 48 going down to 12, so it’s going to be really competitive.”

A trio of Cyclone female athletes near to the top 12 in the country are hurdler Kianna Elahi, junior in chemical engineering, who currently holds the 14th best time in the nation this year in the women’s 400-meter hurdles; Semehar Tesfaye, junior in chemical engineering, who comes into the weekend 19th in the women’s 5,000-meter; and Betsy Saina, sophomore in child, adult and family services, a 2009 NCAA Outdoor Qualifier in the 5,000-meter who currently stands in the 21st position in the same event.

On the men’s side, Kiel Uhl, senior, will be looking to qualify for his second consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000-meter run. A foot injury sidelined him for much of the indoor season, but Uhl is back in shape now.

“Last year at this time he was kind of on a downward spiral and now he’s getting into really good shape,” Hartke said. “It’s his senior year and he knows how to race so he’ll put himself in a position to [qualify].”

Also looking for qualifying marks on the men’s side will be Zack Richards, sophomore, and Josh Koglin, senior in finance, in the hammer throw. Richards and Koglin have shown improvement throughout the season, and have rewritten the ISU record books with two of the farthest throws in school history.

“I think our best shot in the hammer throws is with Zack and Josh,” said coach Grant Wall. “They have had a tremendous training regimen and have had a pretty great year so far.”

Competition will begin at noon Thursday in Austin with the preliminaries of the men’s javelin throw.