ISU women’s track, field packs night of competition at NCAA Championship


Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Johanmy Luque attempts a jump in the long jump at the Drake Relays on April 24 in Des Moines.

Kyle Heim

A late season surge by five ISU women’s track and field athletes has provided the team with a diverse representation at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship. 

The five athletes competing on Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Thursday and Saturday include a sprinter, distance runner, thrower and two jumpers. And four of them have either set or matched a personal record in their respective events within the past month and a half.  

“I feel like I’ve had a great career so far and a great season,” said redshirt senior Katy Moen. “I know that when it comes to race time, I’m going to do what I can and can’t be disappointed in my result.”

Competition for the women’s team begins with its youngest athlete, Jhoanmy Luque, who quickly ascended to one of Iowa State’s best all-time long jumpers. She will conclude her freshman campaign at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the long jump.

Luque’s path to Eugene: Luque entered the NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, Texas from the outside looking in. She had the 15th best mark among her competitors and needed to finish inside the top 12 in order to advance to nationals. Luque not only continued her season, she placed fifth and positioned herself second on Iowa State’s all-time list in the event with a personal-best mark of 20 feet 10.5 inches.

Senior Kendra White will follow Luque in the 400-meter dash at 7:30 p.m. White entered the Big 12 Outdoor Championship on May 16 in Ames with two goals: running a sub-53:00 400-yard dash and qualifying for nationals. She met both goals in back-to-back meets.

White’s path to Eugene: White accomplished her first of two goals at Big 12s in the preliminaries of the 400-meter dash, finishing with a time of 52:53 and earning the 15th ranked time at the regional meet. Like Luque, White still had work to do to qualify for nationals. She set another personal record at regionals, earning her first ever trip to Eugene.

In a jam-packed Thursday night of action for the Cyclones, senior Christina Hillman will compete in the shot put at 7:50 p.m. Thursday marks Hillman’s first return to Hayward Field since she took the title in the shot put at last year’s event.

Hillman’s path to Eugene: Nothing went right for Hillman in the shot put this outdoor season until the Big 12 Outdoor Championship on May 16. Hillman entered the NCAA West Preliminaries with the fifth best mark in the shot put, a mark she reached on her fifth and final throw of Big 12s. Hillman continued that momentum into regionals, and even added to it, with a first-place finish in the event.

“I’m looking forward to nationals because I feel like I have a lot of things I can build off of from the prelims,” Hillman said. 

Moen will follow Hillman in the 10,000-meter run at 8:38 p.m. Moen left much to be desired at last year’s event. Moen said she feels more relaxed heading into this year’s meet. 

“I’m not sure how the race will play out, but I’ll probably definitely be more aggressive earlier [in the race] than I would be at regionals,” Moen said. 

Moen’s path to Eugene: Moen clocked her fastest 10,000-meter run time of the season at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 2. Her time of 33:09.63 gave her the fifth fastest time at regionals and ranks sixth in ISU history.

Sophomore Marine Vallet and Luque provide Iowa State with one of its best jumping duos in the history of the program. Vallet enters the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship with the second best mark in ISU history in the high jump — 5 feet 11.25 inches.

Vallet’s path to Eugene: Vallet qualified for regionals after tying her career-best mark in the high jump at Big 12s. She followed up that performance with a 10th place finish at the NCAA West Preliminaries. Vallet will conclude action for the Cyclones in Eugene at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.