Shot putter’s quest for another national title runs through Arkansas


Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily

Christina Hillman throws the shot put at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship on May 17, 2015. 

Kyle Heim

While the ISU women’s track and field team continues to move into the future, shot putter Christina Hillman is attempting to repeat the past.

Hillman, who earned national titles in the shot put event during both the 2014 indoor and outdoor seasons, has one last opportunity to redeem her disappointing 2015 outdoor season and return to championship form in her final ISU season.

The redshirt senior did not compete last year during the indoor season and finished sixth at nationals during the outdoor season.

“Outdoors was pretty slow coming, and I finally hit a decent mark at conference, but was stagnant after that,” Hillman said.

In her first competition this season, Hillman placed first in the shot put at the Big 4 Duals with a 55-feet-11-inch mark.

“It was just good to get back in the game again,” Hillman said. “I haven’t thrown since last June in a competition, so I was really excited to make my debut. It was my last first meet; it was here [at Iowa State]. But as far as performance goes, I’m not content with it. It was an OK opener, but I know there’s a lot more to come.”

More to come for Hillman means setting a personal record and becoming the Big 12 champion and national champion in the shot put.

“I have very high goals for myself, I always do, even last year when I was not feeling so great I had goals,” Hillman said.

After dealing with back issues last season, Hillman said she has made lots of improvement since the summer. She’s taken two cortisone shots since and has had back therapy every day. She’s also been taking voltaren to help with inflammation and has been avoiding things that hurt her back.

Hillman said it’s been rewarding overall, and her back hasn’t been punishing her as much as it used to.

The next step for Hillman in returning to 2014 form is taking baby steps. She said she needs to work a lot on technique and apply what she does in practice to competition.

“I do realize I still haven’t reached the point where I can just transfer everything I do in practice to competition,” Hillman said. “I get a lot more excited, more nervous, technique starts to fall apart. So that’s important for me to focus on this year, and patience. I don’t have much of it, especially in the circle, so working on that.”

Razorback Invitational

A trip south to Arkansas is next on the schedule for Hillman and the Cyclones.

The meet presents another opportunity for the team to gain some experience as the indoor postseason quickly approaches, with the Big 12 Indoor Championship less than a month away.

“I think that the Big 12 is a really great middle-distance conference, certainly not an easy road,” said ISU assistant track and field coach Andrea Grove-McDonough.

Many of the same athletes who competed at the Big 4 Duals will travel with the team to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the Razorback Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

“We’re going to have good competition in Arkansas, too, so it will be interesting to see what happens,” Hillman said.