Three Big Takeaways: Hall’s personal bests leads Cyclones



Kaylyn Hall (left), Katarina Vlahovic (middle) and Tatiana Aholou (right) compete in the women’s 60-meter hurdles at the Cyclone Invite on Jan. 23, 2021.

Adarsh Tamma

Over the weekend, Iowa State track and field’s opening slate of the 2022 outdoor season at the Bobcat Invitational in Texas and Raleigh Relays in North Carolina served as a warmup for the next few weeks.

Iowa State’s results were highlighted by a handful of personal best performances, especially on the women’s side. Five female athletes broke personal bests over the weekend, while a pair of the Cyclones topped their previous high marks. 

Overall, it was a weekend that included fierce competition as several Cyclone athletes looked to continue their momentum from the indoor to outdoor seasons.

Hall’s hurdles double

If there had been individual points awarded at these meets, junior hurdler Kaylyn Hall might have ended up as the Cyclones’ highest scorer across all disciplines.

Competing at the Bobcat Invitational, Hall broke her personal bests in both the women’s 400m and 100m hurdles and garnered Iowa State’s only title of the weekend in the former.

Starting in the 400m hurdles Friday, Hall got out of the blocks strong in heat one and blazed her way to the only sub-one minute time of the day. The London, Ontario, native clocked in at 59.32 seconds, which broke her previous best by over 2.6 seconds.

Hall’s previous experience with the 400m hurdles was extensive, as she ran the event in four out of five meets during last year’s outdoor season. Her highest placing was 13th at the Rock Chalk Classic, but she had never run a time under a minute.

Hall’s performance Friday missed a top-ten all-time spot; her time was just 0.09 seconds slower than Alyssa Gonzalez’s mark of 59.23 seconds from the 2015 NCAA West Preliminary meet.

But the record-breaking weekend was not over for Hall, as she set her next personal best in Saturday’s 100m hurdles finals. Competing in the day’s opening heat, she faced off against Wisconsin’s Destiny Huven, the reigning Big Ten Champion at the event.

Huven just clipped Hall at the tape, narrowly missing her personal best by clocking a time of 13.16 seconds. Hall’s silver medal time of 13.34 seconds broke her previous top mark by nearly 0.30 seconds.

Her time is now the third-fastest in Iowa State history, surpassing Jenna Caffrey’s time of 13.54 seconds from the 2010 Drake Relays.

Record-breaking women’s 10K

On Thursday, Dana Feyen kicked off the Cyclones’ distance running program at the Raleigh Relays as she shaved more than 85 seconds off of her 10,000m personal best and finished in eighth.

Feyen is coming off an indoor season for the Cyclones that saw her bag a bronze medal in the 5,000m at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. Feyen also ran a personal best time of 9:22.46 in the 3,000m at the Razorback Invitational, which improved by nearly 17 seconds.

In her race Thursday, Feyen attempted to stay with the lead pack of runners, a group that included Georgia Tech senior Nicole Fegans. Fegans is the reigning ACC champion in the women’s 10K and was also named a second-team All American in the event with a 13th place performance at last year’s national championships.

Through the first half of the race, Feyen ran splits around the 1:22 mark, as the field soon thinned out to a leading trio of Fegans, Maggie Donahue of Georgetown and Alexandra Hays of North Carolina State.

Throughout the final 4,800 meters, Feyen began to run lap times ranging between the 1:19 and 1:20 marks as she tried to hold on to a top-ten placing amongst the field. In the final few laps, she and Michigan State’s Makayla Perez nearly matched each other stride-for-stride and ran almost identical times.

Perez managed to out-sprint Feyen at the tape and clocked a time of 33:36.86. Feyen’s time of 33:37.10 was not only a personal best but also the tenth-fastest time in program history. She joins a list that includes teammate Cailie Logue (32:19.37) and former Olympians Lisa Koll (31:18.07) and Betsy Saina (31:37.22).

Koll’s time is also the current NCAA record; she recorded it at the 2010 Stanford Invitational.

The pace seemed to improve the rest of the field’s standard, as five out of the seven runners that finished ahead of Feyen also established new personal bests. Donahue’s time of 33:05.56, second only to Fegans, is now the second-fastest in Georgetown history.

La Salle’s Eleanor Mancini finished in fourth with a time of 33:20.63, which is just five seconds off her school record from over a decade ago.

Gannon follows Sakson to discus PB

It was a so-so weekend for sophomore thrower Kevin Sakson, who had high hopes after placing third in the men’s discus at the Bobcat Invite, but then fouled on all three of his attempts in the shot put, ending his weekend in last place.

Sakson was accompanied by junior Jonathan Gannon, who finished fifth with a personal best throw of 51.14 meters, or approximately 167 feet and 9 inches.

Gannon’s throw beat his previous personal best by over two meters, a mark he set on his way to earning 11th place at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in Lubbock, Texas.

The event was won by Northwestern State’s Djimon Gumbs, who broke his own school record by recording a throw of 57.25 meters. The mark was over a meter better than second place’s Darian Brown, who ranked nearly four meters better than Sakson.

Gannon’s performance was his highest placing since last year’s 2021 Blue Oval Invitational, where he placed fourth to eventual champion Sakson in a five-man competition.

To get on the Cyclones’ all-time leaderboard, Gannon will need to improve his current mark by nearly 20 more feet. Dave Juehring is currently 10th on the list with a throw of 187 feet from 1984, while Sakson is one better at 187 feet, 2 inches from the 2021 Rock Chalk Classic.

Next, the Cyclones will compete at the Stanford Invitational on April 1 and 2.