Women’s track, field athletes display improvement in weekend meets

Senior Perez Rotich placed 28th in the women’s 5000-meter at the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 12.

Kyle Heim

Lied Recreation Athletic Center, home of the Iowa State Classic over the weekend, left its doors open to cool off the indoor track for athletes competing Friday, leaving the spectators in attendance bundled up in their winter coats.

But the move wasn’t enough to cool off the ISU women athletes, as two of them, freshman Emma Whigham and redshirt sophomore Erin Hooker, recorded top-10 all-time ISU performances in the 200-meter dash and 5,000-meter run, respectively.

Hooker’s time of 16:12.96 was 12 seconds faster than her previous personal best in the 5,000-meter run, placing her seventh all-time in ISU history in the event.

Whigham’s personal-best 24.82 time in the 200-meter dash placed her sixth on the all-time list.

While Whigham and Hooker performed well for the Cyclones in Ames on Friday, freshman Kate Hall and sophomore Jhoanmy Luque recorded top-10 performances in events at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.

With all of the healthy ISU athletes competing throughout the weekend, including 10 freshmen, ISU assistant coach Andrea Grove-McDonough said the goal was to see progression. 

“The freshmen are getting more and more experience, so we start to expect a little bit more in terms of how they perform on race day,” Grove-McDonough said. 

Iowa State built off of its performance Friday when it returned to action Saturday. Its first four athletes recorded season-best times, and three of them posted personal records.

Sophomore Jackie Feist led off with a season-best performance in the 800-meter run before junior Maryn Lowry, redshirt junior Maddie Nagle and freshman Grace Gibbons posted personal-best marks in the mile.

The meet wouldn’t be complete without Jasmine Staebler making headlines. The freshman, who had two first-place finishes going into the Iowa State Classic, finished first in her section of the 800-meter run and eighth overall.

“I didn’t really know how big of a role [Erinn Stenman-Fahey and I] would have, and once we got here, [Grove-McDonough] was like, ‘All right, you’re the 800 girls. This is your thing. Go do it,'” Staebler said. “I guess I didn’t really know how much of an impact she wanted us to play, but now I’m kind of getting a little bit better of an understanding of what she wants from us.”

Staebler’s 2:06.14 mark put her fifth all-time at Iowa State in the 800-meter run — her favorite event.

“The 800 is still kind of fast,” Staebler said. “I like the speed kind of aspect to it, but it still requires a lot of endurance. That’s kind of why I like it. You kind of mix in speed with endurance.”

Sophomore Jhoanmy Luque and redshirt senior Christina Hillman concluded action for the Cyclones in Arkansas on Saturday. Luque finished eighth in the invitational women’s triple jump with a leap of 42 feet 1.25 inches, placing her second all-time at Iowa State.

Hillman took third in the shot put with a toss of 56 feet 5.25 inches.

The long list of improvements from the athletes who competed Friday and Saturday will give the team some momentum heading into the final meet before the Big 12 Indoor Championship. 

“It’s always nice if everybody can be on at the same time, but we’re working toward that,” Grove-McDonough said. “Hopefully that will happen at the Big 12 meet.”