Joanna Topham-Griswald-Hawkeye Comm
©Jim Kirby 2017

Younger Topham is an All American to!

Joanna Topham-Griswald-Hawkeye Comm. © Jill Dahlstrom-2017

Joanna Topham-Griswald-Hawkeye Comm.
© Jill Dahlstrom-2017

Hawkeye RedTail Cross Country athlete Joanna Topham was named an All-America athlete by the National Junior College Cross Country Coaches Association.

Courtesy Redtail Athletics, click here! Joanna Topham-Griswald-Hawkeye Comm ©Jim Kirby 2017


The award recognizes U.S. athletes who finish in the top 40 at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Cross Country Championships. Topham finished 38th at nationals, which were held November 11, 2017, in Fort Dodge.

“To have an All-America athlete in our first year is huge for our program,” said head coach Micah Ruroden. “For Joanna to achieve this in year one is a credit to her discipline.”

Running comes naturally to Topham. Her father coaches girls cross country and track and field at Griswold High School, where she competed in both sports, and she has a sister currently running for Wichita State University.

“I started running when I was six,” Topham said. “We’re just a very athletic family.”

Last summer, she ran 40-45 miles a week to prepare for her first collegiate season. The extra training gave her an edge early in competition, helping Topham shave 24 seconds off her personal record at the regional time trials held August 26, 2017, at Iowa Western Community College.

“I wanted to improve my time, and I knew I could do that this season,” Topham said. “Breaking your best time isn’t as easy as people think it is.”

She put up solid times all season, but the final regular season contest offered one of the best moments for Topham. She took the Trent Smith Invitational women’s title on October 18, 2017, in Mason City, setting new personal and school records with a 19:20 5K race.

“After I crossed the finish line I was in shock,” she said. “Even 10 minutes later I couldn’t believe I had won.”

Fresh off a top-10 finish at regionals, Topham and the rest of the RedTail women headed into nationals ranked 24th in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll. Topham was the top RedTail at the national meet and the only one to place in the top 50.

“It’s such an honor and privilege to be able to get All-America status,” Topham said. The season is only a few weeks behind her, but she’s already looking forward to track and field in the spring, and how to improve for cross country season next fall. Her goal is to finish in the top 10.

“We think that she’s just starting to scratch the surface of her true potential,” said coach Ruroden. “We can’t wait to see what is in store for her in the upcoming seasons.”

Hawkeye Community College Men's XC Team
©Shannon Hooyer-2017

Redtails Embark on Maiden XC Journey

Joanna Topham-Griswald-Hawkeye Comm. © Jill Dahlstrom-2017

Joanna Topham-Griswald-Hawkeye Comm.
© Jill Dahlstrom-2017

The RedTail Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams opened their inaugural season at the Region XI Time Trials in Council Bluffs, IA this past weekend. The women took third place out of nine teams while the men placed fourth out of eight teams.

Courtesy Redtail Athletics, click here!  Feature photo: Hawkeye Community College Men’s XC Team ©Shannon Hooyer-2017 

Leading the way for the women was Joanna Topham, who posted a new school record time of 19:59 finishing 6th overall at the meet. “We were very pleaed with her performance, she puts herself out there that first mile and as a result she had a big personal best.”, said head coach Micah Ruroden. Next for the lady RedTails was Shea Dahlstrom (21:17) and Mikki Mundus (21:30), placing 12th and 13th respectively. The surprise finishes of the meet came from first year cross country runner, Atlanta Groeneveld (23:22) and Waterloo East grad, Autumn Weekley (23:51), placing 26th and 31st respectively. “These young ladies seem to impress us a little more each day during training, these girls push themselves each and every day in practice and it has shown in our first meet this year.”, said Ruroden. The final finisher for the RedTails was Divine Washington(31:03) finishing 38th overall.

For the men, Peter Torkelson posted a school record of 16:31 and a 12th place finish at the time trials. “Peter ran a well-rounded race and was patient from the beginning”, said coach Ruroden. Landon Boomsma of Iowa Falls was the surprise runner for the men finishing 15th overall with a personal best of 16:36. Finishing next for the team was Dalton Gosch (16:39, 16th) Isaac Connolly (16:42, 18th), David Thompson (16:45, 20th), Ryan Millikin (16:57, 22nd), and Malcom Myers (17:08, 24th). “These guys really run well together in practices and it showed in how close they were in finishing. We were able to run as a pack and we had a great initial showing for our first meet in program history”, said Coach Ruroden.

Coach Ruroden said, “Overall we felt we we had a great showing of effort from both squads. The men were close to putting themselves in third place, and the women were close to second place. As we continue to get stronger throughout the season, we should be able to shake some things up in our conference on both sides.

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Mike Mahon 2016

Next Level Iowa Podcast For August 1, 2017: Shelby Houlihan

Alex Gouchenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas and Kurtis Brondyke-Clinton-Central ©Jim Kirby

Alex Gouchenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas and Kurtis Brondyke-Clinton-Central
©Jim Kirby

On this week’s edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we talk with Olympian Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU (and huge Harry Potter fan!)  as she prepares for the World Championship coming up later this month.

We also talk about how Kurtis Brondyke and Alex Gochenour fared in Germany’s Thorpe Cup last week.

All this and more on this week’s Next Level Iowa Podcast!

Shelby Houlihan-SC EAST - ASU and Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Jim Kirby 2017

Missourian: Schweizer Shatters School Record-by Quinn Malloy

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou  ©Darren Miller

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Darren Miller

Three-point-four seconds.

That’s the amount of time that separated Missouri junior Karissa Schweizer, who finished fourth in the women’s 5,000-meter event at the USA Track & Field Championships on Friday in Sacramento, California, and Olympian Molly Huddle, who came in third.

Courtesy The Missourian-Quinn Malloy, click here! Shelby Houlihan-SC EAST – ASU and Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou ©Jim Kirby 2017

Huddle is a three-time U.S. national champion in the 5K. Schweizer hadn’t competed against professionals at her signature distance on a national stage before tonight.

Granted, 3.4 seconds is significant in the world of track and field, where runners are measured to the hundredth of a second and shaving several ticks off a race time is considered an accomplishment worth celebrating.

That’s why it’s all the more impressive that Schweizer’s time at the USATF Outdoors — 15 minutes, 18.69 seconds — was a remarkable 20.24 seconds faster than her winning time at the NCAA Championships (15:38.93).

Schweizer’s USATF time also surpassed the internationally recognized World Championship standard for the women’s 5,000 (15:22.00), although she missed automatically qualifying for the August meet in London by that one place.

Earlier in the day, freshman Ja’Mari Ward defended his title in the junior long jump. Ward fouled on his first two attempts before leaping 25 feet, 7½ inches to put himself at the head of the field. He would stay there for the final three rotations and add a second USATF gold medal to his collection.

Freshman Emily Stauffer and former Tiger Tony Carodine also competed Friday.

Stauffer placed 12th in the junior women’s shot put with a mark of 47-0¾, and Carodine’s 52-6½ earned him ninth in the men’s triple jump.

Supervising editor is Pete Bland.

Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton
©Jim Kirby

Miller Plows Her Way Into the Creighton Record Books

Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton ©Jim Kirby

Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton
©Jim Kirby

Strong showings from Emily Martin and Eric Klein paced the Creighton women’s and men’s cross country teams on Saturday morning at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn.

Courtesy Jayhawk Athletics, Click Here!

Martin finished the 5K Percy Warner Park course in a time of 18:06.9, making her the 12th fastest runner in school history at that distance. She took 52nd of 261 runners to help the Creighton women to a 14th place finish among 25 teams. CU’s score of 369 fell behind meet winner Eastern Michigan (68), which edged Ohio State (87) and host Vanderbilt (124) for event crown.

Vanessa Miller placed 58th, clocking in just behind Martin with a time of 18:10.7. Miller moved from 15th to 13th place in the school record books with the finish.

Megan Paule took 66th with a time of 18:15.2, while Adriana Kammerer (96th, 18:39.9) and Grace Mimmack (124th, 18:54.3) rounded out CU’s scoring contributors. Kammerer’s time was also a personal best in a 5K race as a Bluejay.

The men took 16th in a field of 23 teams, but did beat host Vanderbilt, while finishing with a score of 415. Middle Tennessee topped the field with a score of 63 to edge out Georgia (81), Ohio State (106), Butler (116) and Missouri (150) for the team title.

Eric Klein paced the CU men with a 57th-place finish, clocking a time of 26:01.0. Patrick Reinschmidt was CU’s second-best finisher with a time of 26:20.7 on the 8K course, taking 86th. Nine seconds behind him with a 26:29.3 time was Jacob Ohnstad, who placed 95th. Ty Medd (107th, 26:39.3), Spencer De Jong (116th, 26:42.6), Chase Howard (117th, 26:43.5) and Nicholas Monkemeyer (120th, 26:46.6) rounded out CU’s lead pack.

The Creighton men return to the course next Saturday when it heads to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn. The Bluejay women are off until the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark., on Oct. 1.

Hannah Thomas-Dowling-Missouri, Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton, Grace Gibbons-Dowling/Gilbert-ISU, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley
©Jim Kirby

Luksan Starts Out Season With Another Great Effort

Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley ©Jim Kirby

Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley
©Jim Kirby

The Bradley University cross country teams swept the 30th running of the Bradley Intercollegiate on Friday at Detweiller Park. In addition, junior Hannah Witczak won the women’s individual title – leading a pack of five Braves at the top of the leaderboard – while junior Michael Ward claimed the men’s crown.

Courtesy Braves Athletics, Click Here! Feature photo; former Dowling runners, Hannah Thomas-Dowling-Missouri, Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton, Grace Gibbons-Dowling/Gilbert-ISU, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley taken at Iowa Invite
©Jim Kirby

Witczak finished with a time of 16:48.7 to place first in the women’s three-mile race, shaving nearly a minute off her career-best time to claim her first collegiate title. Witczak finished 12 seconds ahead of senior teammate Lauren Cunningham, who posted a time of 17:00.8.

“Hannah Witczak put in a big performance for us today,” said Bradley head coach Darren Gausen. “To record a perfect score after losing so many key contributors last year is outstanding. It shows how good our depth is and that we are ready to compete at Notre Dame.”

Junior Natalie Burant (17:30.5), sophomore Gabby Juarez (17:30.8) and redshirt freshman Bailey Johnson (17:32.1) rounded out the top five for the Braves as Bradley finished with a perfect score of 15 on the afternoon.  Also performing well for the Braves was Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley.

On the men’s side, Ward picked up where he left off last season, finishing first with a time of 24:30.3. The junior finished more than 17 seconds ahead of second-place Kyle Hauser of Illinois-Chicago to earn his first individual title in cross country.

“Michael Ward put together a fantastic performance for him,” Gausen said. “He was controlled and really excelled after putting in a ton of work during the summer. Illinois-Chicago’s Kyle Hauser put together a strong race and it was good to have a challenge up front. It prevented us from having a perfect score but I thought Patrick Campbell, Caleb Beck and Taylor Floyd Mews were all strong as well today. In addition, Jake Hoffert and Will Anderson had really good performances as well.”

Overall, Bradley claimed six of the top seven finishers to earn the team title on Friday with 19 points. Senior Patrick Campbell placed third with a time of 24:48.0 and was followed by classmate Caleb Beck (24:50.8), junior Taylor Floyd Mews (24:59.6), redshirt freshman Jake Hoffert (25:12.4) and sophomore Will Anderson (25:25.6).

Illinois-Chicago placed second on the women’s side with a score of 67 and was followed by Western Illinois and Arkansas State. The Flames also finished second in the men’s race with 45 total points with Arkansas State and Green Bay placing third and fourth, respectively.

The Braves look to continue their winning ways on Sept. 30, traveling to South Bend, Indiana to compete in the Notre Dame Invitational.

Jessica Heims-CR Prairie-USA

“Letters From Rio” by Jessica Heims

Jessica Heims-CR Prairie-USA

Jessica Heims-CR Prairie-USA

Jessica Heims made her debut on the world stage when she qualified for the 2015 IPC World Championships. Heims competed in the discus and the 400 meter dash in Doha last year, and has now qualified to represent the USA in the same 2 events at the 2016 Paralympics, this month, in Rio. Heims, a senior at Cedar Rapids Prairie High School is coached by Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Bill Calloway.

Heims competes in the T-44 category which is the classification for athletes with a single, below the knee amputation. Due to a birth defect, Heims had her right leg amputated before the age of 1.
Complete Rio Paralympics Games information Click Here!

Jessica agreed to keep us up to date on her experiences as an Olympian from Iowa in Rio

“Letters From Rio”-by Jessica Heims

I’ve been busy training! I was at the Naval Base for a few days, and then went over to the Air Force Academy to train for a day. Now I am training at the Olympic Stadium warm-up track until my events. This morning my teammate and fellow thrower Natalie had a mock-competition training. We woke up at the time we will on Sunday and went through every step we will for the real thing. Afterwords we were able to go into the Olympic Stadium to check it out. I’m still getting goosebumps thinking about it. The track is so wonderful and the stadiums lights and structure is just so overwhelming. Everything about it is so grand, yet so perfect. I cannot wait to compete Sunday. The rest of the day for me today will consist of a light track workout and lots of rest. It’s been a blast so far, and it’s only just begun!

Coach Frank Schweizer and the boys 1974 Dowling State Champions

Our Saturday Segment For the Central Iowa Sports Network Featuring Frank Schweizer

Frank Schweizer by the tent of his alma mater "White Bear Lake in Minnesota

Frank Schweizer by the tent of his alma mater “White Bear Lake in Minnesota

We normally don’t post our segments for the Central Iowa Sports Network which air Saturday Mornings between 8am-9am on AM1350 ESPN Radio, bit we felt this show deserved an exception.

Feature Photo: Frank Schweizer and his 1974 Dowling Boys State Champion Cross Country Team

Frank Schweizer was the long time track and cross country coach at Dowling Catholic, he was an All-American for Mankato State as well as a member of the Hall of Fame both at Dowling and Mankato State.

But what makes Frank Schweizer even prouder these days is watching his champion grand kids Karissa Schweizer-Dowling Catholic-Mizzou, Ryan Schweizer-Dowling Catholic-Notre Dame and Kelsey Schweizer-Dowling Catholic.

We talked with Frank as he prepared to watch Ryan run the Adidas Dream Mile in Boston. (see link below)

Check out the show Saturday morning 8am-9am on AM1350 ESPN  For the Central Iowa Sports Network web site, Click Here!

Khanishah Williams-Burlington-Iowa
©Darren Miller

Hawks Williams Jumping Off Opposite Leg and Doing Just Fine

Khanishah Williams-Burlington-Iowa ©Darren Miller

Khanishah Williams-Burlington-Iowa
©Darren Miller

Khanishah Williams-Burlington-Iowa had every reason to walk away last summer.

She has a degree from the University of Iowa. She has a Big Ten title. And she has a bad knee.

Many have walked away with less, but Williams wanted more.

The summer after winning the 2014 Big Ten high jump championship, Williams had surgery to repair her left knee. It was her dominant leg; the one that won her both Iowa high school and Big Ten Conference championships. But after years of service it needed medical attention.

By Chris Brewer, Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics Click Here!

The surgery cost Williams her senior season. She could have called it a career, but instead she saw an opportunity: If she could not jump from the left leg, she would learn to jump from the right.
“I could have walked away,” Williams said. “It was either give it all up and rest my knee, or keep going and practice the other side and see what I can do.”

For seven years Williams had attacked the high jump with a right-side approach and exploded with her left leg, but that changed when Iowa assistant coach Molly Jones joined the staff in 2013.

Jones implemented a training regimen that included jumps from each leg. It was an uncomfortable move then, but it looks prophetic today.

“When Molly first came here we would practice both sides,” Williams said. “I think testing it out and seeing that helped a little bit because I actually got to practice the other side.”

Last season, while Williams redshirted and rehabbed her left knee, she continued training on her right. She did not compete at all during the indoor season, and entered three outdoor events, winning the Kip Janvrin Open with a season-best mark of 5-6 ½ (1.69m).

It was a solid mark considering the circumstances, and to Jones’ delight, the experience reaffirmed Williams’ commitment to the new approach.

“We met at the beginning of this year and I thought I may have to convince her, but she had already made up her mind that she wanted to stick with the right,” Jones said. “She saw progress and potential.”

It took Williams some getting used to, and there was a time she thought about returning to her dominant leg, but today she doesn’t consider it a possibility.

“I feel good every time I jump. I’ve seen video and I’m over the bar higher each time,” Williams said. “I feel like I’m going to get higher every time I go to each meet.”

In her first official competition since the surgery, Williams placed second at the Border Battle with a mark of 1.60 meters. She followed that performance with a pair of first place finishes at the Iowa Duals (1.73 meters) and Big 4 Duals (1.75 meters), improving her season-best each time.

“I set goals every time I go to a meet,” Williams said. “Either set a new PR or hit something a little higher than I’ve already jumped. Each PR makes you feel good.”

Williams’ career-best 5-11 1/4 (1.81 meters) ranks third in school history. She hit that mark with her left leg in 2013. Her personal best this year, jumping from her right leg, would rank fifth on Iowa’s all-time top performers list. Today her mark ranks 12th in the Big Ten, but if she hits her final goal, she could contend for another conference title.

“I want to keep pushing out what I can do,” Williams said. “I want to get over that six-foot mark. I jumped 5-11 in high school and college. I’ve always been right there. The six-foot mark is personal. That’s the goal.”

Jasmine Stabler-Clayton Ridge-ISU
©Luke Lu

New Comers Shine For the Cyclones

Jasmine Stabler-Clayton Ridge-ISU ©Luke Lu

Jasmine Stabler-Clayton Ridge-ISU
©Luke Lu

The Iowa State track and field team put up some impressive performances Friday at the Holiday Inn Invitational, hosted by Nebraska. The day saw the Cyclones pick up their first event win of 2016, and saw some great performances by both the ISU women and men.

The first event win of the Iowa State indoor track and field season came from freshman Jasmine Stabler-Clayton Ridge. The Guttenberg, Iowa native led a 1-2-4 effort by the Cyclones in the 1,000-meter run, crossing the line in 2:52.67. She was not far from breaking into ISU’s all-time top-10 for the event, with the cutoff being 2:52.05. Right behind her were fellow freshmen Erinn Stenman-Fahey (second, 2:45.25) and Grace Gibbons-Gilbert (fourth, 2:58.88).

The Cyclones’ women’s distance runners were at it again in the mile, as the Cyclones racked up a 2-3-4-5 finish. Leading that was Maryn Lowry, with the junior taking second in 5:01.13, and she had fellow ISUers Maddie Nagle (third, 5:01.36) and Anne Frisbie (fourth, 5:01.70) with her at the finish line. Freshman Kelly Naumann was not too far back, taking fifth in 5:04.44.

On the men’s side, Taylor Sanderson-Bondurant-Farrar competed in the long jump, and put up a performance that will certainly help his efforts in the heptathlon later in the indoor season. Sanderson took third, recording an indoor personal best in the long jump of 23-4 1/2.

Elijah Young-DSM Lincoln put up a nice season-opening showing in the men’s 60-meter hurdles qualifying round, taking sixth place in 8.34 to advance to tomorrow’s prelims. Freshman Davis Eldridge also made it out of the 60-meter dash qualifiers, taking 23rd in 8.83.

Up Next
Iowa State returns to the track tomorrow at noon for the second and final day of the Holiday Inn Invitational. Events begin at noon in Lincoln.

Iowa State Results
60-meter hurdles qualifying (W): 1. Sharika Nelvis, Axis Athletics – 8.39; 30. Emma Whigham-Pleasent Valley- Iowa State – 9.90.
60-meter hurdles qualifying (M): 1. Antoine Lloyd, Nebraska – 7.95; 6. Elijah Young, Iowa State – 8.34; 23. Davis Eldridge, Iowa State – 8.83; 25. Trey Achterhoff-Orange City-Iowa State – 8.96.
60-meter dash qualifying (W): 1. Schillonie Calvert, Axis Athletics – 7.30; 30. Lucy Schneekloth-Cedar Rapids Jefferson-Iowa State – 8.23.
800-meter run (W): 1. Cammy Sargent, Northern Colorado – 2:13.55; 5. Jackie Feist, Iowa State – 2:17.19.
1,000-meter run (W): 1. Jasmine Staebler, Iowa State – 2:52.67; 2. Erinn Stenman-Fahey, Iowa State – 2:54.25; 4. Grace Gibbons, Iowa State – 2:58.88.
Mile run (W): 1. Emma Huston-DM Roosevelt-Drake – 4:55.69; 2. Maryn Lowry, Iowa State – 5:01.13; 3. Maddie Nagle, Iowa State – 5:01.36; 4. Anne Frisbie, Iowa State – 5:01.70; 5. Kelly Naumann, Iowa State – 5:04.44.
Long Jump (M): 1. Nikita Pankins, Nebraska – 24-0 1/4; 3. Taylor Sanderson-Bondurant-Farrar-Iowa State – 23-4 1/2.