Mizzou Women's XC
©Tigers Athletics-2016

Building on Success, Mizzou Has High Hopes For 2017

Marc Burns-Mizzou, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou ©Jim Kirby-2016

Marc Burns-Mizzou, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Jim Kirby-2016

Looking to build off a highly successful 2016 campaign, Mizzou Cross Country head coach Marc Burns announced the team’s 2017 schedule on Wednesday. Mizzou will begin the season at the JK Gold Invitational in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Courtesy Mizzou Athletics, click here! Feature photo:  Mizzou Women’s XC ©Tigers Athletics-2016

“Our 2017 cross country schedule is going to set us up for a big post-season,” said Coach Burns. “Wichita State has a nice course just outside of Wichita that will be a low-key opener for us. The Vanderbilt and Oklahoma State meets will have some rolling terrain and will be good opportunities for us to race teams outside our region. The hills at Oklahoma State should help prepare us for the courses we will see this season, but we will also have to do some quality work on hills this fall to be ready to roll.”

After the opening meet, Mizzou will travel to Nashville, Tenn., and Stillwater, Okla., for meets on Sept. 16 and Sept. 30, respectively. Last season, senior Karissa Schweizer(Urbandale, Iowa) began her dominance through the cross country season by winning the Commodore Classic on Sept. 17. Mizzou will then be in action on back-to-back days as the team splits to compete at the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill., on Oct. 13 and the Pre-National Invitational in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 14.

“The Bradley and Pre-National meets will give us a chance to score some at-large wins and figure out our post-season roster,” said Coach Burns. “Louisville will host both the Pre-National and NCAA meet, and has a fast, flat and very tight course. It requires the ability to get out fast enough to not get buried early on, but not too fast, so you can close fast.”

After the Pre-National meet, Mizzou will begin post-season competition with the SEC Championships, Oct. 27 in Athens, Ga. Following the conference meet, Mizzou will then race at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on Nov. 10, where the women’s team will be defending their regional title from a season ago. At the NCAA regional meet, Mizzou hopes to qualify both teams to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2000. In 2016, The women’s team made their first appearance at the NCAA meet since 2004, while the men’s team looks to qualify for the first time since 2000.

“The SEC meet is at Georgia this year, and will present a challenging course,” said Coach Burns. “Following the conference meet, the NCAA Midwest Regional is at Iowa State, where they have a dedicated cross country course that is rolling-to-flat most of the way. You never know about the weather will be like in Iowa in November, so we will be prepared for anything. Overall, we are excited about the schedule and look forward to seeing how the season pans out.”

2017 Mizzou Cross Country Schedule

Date Meet Location
Saturday, Sept. 2 JK Gold Invitational Wichita, Kan.
Saturday, Sept. 16 Commodore Classic Nashville, Tenn.
Saturday, Sept. 30 Cowboy Jamboree Stillwater, Okla.
Friday, Oct. 13 Bradley Classic Peoria, Ill.
Saturday, Oct. 14 Pre-National Invitational Louisville, Ky.
Friday, Oct. 27 SEC Championships Athens, Ga.
Friday, Nov. 10 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships Ames, Iowa
Saturday, Nov. 18 NCAA Championships Louisville, Ky.
Madie Waymire leads the Hawkeye Women-DC Grimes-Iowa
©Hawkeye Athletics-2016

New Title and New Season For Coach Hasenbank

Randy Hasenbank-Iowa ©Hawkeye Athletics-2016

Randy Hasenbank-Iowa
©Hawkeye Athletics-2016

Randy Hasenbank is a full-time coach on the University of Iowa track and field team. The announcement was made Friday by UI director of track and field Joey Woody.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Madie Waymire leads the Hawkeye Women-DC Grimes-Iowa ©Hawkeye Athletics-2016

Hasenbank was named interim associate head coach cross country/assistant track and field coach in August, 2016.

“We knew Randy was going to be a good fit for this program when he arrived last summer, and he’s proven every day since that he is committed to helping our athletes reach their full potential while training to win championships,” said Woody. “He understands and embraces the challenges and expectations we share as a program and we’re glad he’s here to stay.”

In his first season, the men’s and women’s cross country teams finished 11th and 17th, respectively, at the NCAA Regional. Iowa set a school record in the men’s distance relay at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, and scored multiple points at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2011. Three Hawkeye distance runners qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Regional in Austin, Texas.

This summer, freshman Nathan Mylenek represented Team USA and won a silver medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Pan American Junior Championships in Trujillo, Peru.

The Hawkeyes open the 2017 cross country season hosting the Hawkeye Invitational on Friday, Sept. 1. The women’s 4,000-meter race begins at 6 p.m. (CT) and the men’s 6,000-meter race follows at 6: 45 p.m. Admission to the Ashton Cross Country Course is free.

4A Girls Start State XC-2015
©Dave Mable-IDphoto

Iowa Track and Field Coaches Association Preseason XC Poll

2015 1A State Champions Central Elkader ©IDphoto

2015 1A State Champions Central Elkader

The Iowa Association  of Track and Field Coaches association has posted their boys and girls XC preseason poll.  For the full story click here! Feature photo:Start of 2015 XC 4A Girls State Championship

Boys 4A

Rank School
1 Pleasant Valley
2 Dowling Catholic WDM
3 Prairie Cedar Rapids
4 Johnston
5 Valley WDM
6 Dubuque Hempstead
7 Cedar Rapids Washington
8 Iowa City West
9 Iowa City City High
10 Linn-Mar Marion
11 Dubuque Senior
12 Indianola
13 Waukee
14 Ankeny
15 Cedar Falls

Teams to Watch

Ankeny Centennial
Cedar Rapids Kennedy
Davenport West

Girls 4A

Rank School
1 Johnston
2 Dubuque Hempstead
3 Cedar Falls
4 Iowa City City High
5 Dowling Catholic WDM
6 Waukee
7 Ankeny Centennial
8 Iowa City West
9 Dubuque Senior
10 North Scott Eldridge
11 Pleasant Valley
12 Cedar Rapids Kennedy
13 Valley WDM
14 Ankeny
15 Linn-Mar Marion

Teams to Watch

Des Moines Roosevelt

Boys 3A

Rank School
1 Mount Vernon-Lisbon
2 Grinnell
3 Gilbert
4 Dallas Center-Grimes
5 Marion
6 Decorah
7 Cedar Rapids Xavier
8 Carlisle
9 Dubuque Wahlert
10 Humboldt
11 Sergeant Bluff Luton
12 Mount Pleasant
13 Clear Creek Amana
14 Pella
15 Sioux City Heelan

Teams to Watch

Spirit Lake

Girls 3A

Rank School
1 Bishop Heelan
2 Decorah
3 Wahlert
4 North Polk
5 Pella
6 Humboldt
7 Dallas Center-Grimes
8 Denison Schleswig
9 Gilbert
10 Charles City
11 Ballard
12 Spencer
13 Solon
14 Assumption
15 Mount Vernon-Lisbon

Teams to Watch

Fort Madison

Boys 2A

Rank School
1 Mid-Prairie
2 George-Little Rock
3 Western Christian
4 Tipton
5 Aplington-Parkersburg
6 East Marshall
7 Roland-Story
8 Monticello
9 South Hamilton
10 Garner-Hayfield-Ventura
11 Unity Christian
12 Waukon
13 Regina, Iowa City
14 Des Moines Christian
15 Osage

Teams to Watch

Grundy Center
New Hampton
Sioux Center

Girls 2A

Rank School
1 Monticello
2 Mid-Prairie
3 Okoboji, Milford
4 Shenandoah
5 Underwood
6 Cascade
7 Roland-Story
8 Osage
9 Unity
10 Aplington-Parkersburg
11 Emmetsburg
12 Pocahontas Area
13 Regina, Iowa City
14 George-Little Rock
15 Tipton

Teams to Watch

East Marshall
Grundy Center

Boys 1A

Teams to Watch

None Submitted for Pre Season

Girls 1A

Rank School
1 Central Elkader
2 Hudson
3 South Winneshiek
4 Springville Central City
5 Pekin
6 Baxter
7 Marquette
8 Denver
9 North Linn
10 St Edmond
11 Newman Mason City
12 Panorama
13 Griswold
15 West Fork
UNI Women's Cross Country
©Panthers Athletics-2016

Panther Women Cast as MVC Favorites

Hannah Truniger-UNI ©Panthers Athletics

Hannah Truniger-UNI
©Panthers Athletics

The University of Northern Iowa women’s cross country team has been picked to repeat as Missouri Valley Conference champions after a vote of the head coaches conducted by the league office.

Courtesy Panther Athletics, click here! Feature photo: UNI Women’s Cross Country©Panthers Athletics-2016

UNI and Bradley were each tied for first in the MVC preseason poll with 94 points apiece. UNI tallied six first-place votes, while Bradley captured the other four first-place votes.

Under the direction of league coaching staff of the year Dave Paulsen and Alex Wilson, UNI captured the 2016 MVC women’s cross country championship in its own backyard at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls. The Panthers return senior Ashley Norem, who placed sixth overall at last year’s meet. Norem was also given the MVC’s Elite 18 Award given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA at the MVC Championship – Norem has a 3.89 GPA while pursuing a degree in exercise science.

MVC freshman of the Year Hannah Truniger returns for her sophomore campaign. Truniger placed ninth a year ago at the MVC Championship. Senior Brette Correy is back after a 10th-place finish in the league meet last year. Junior Lucy Conroy posted a 20th-place finish at the MVC meet last season.

The UNI men return a pair of runners that took part in the 2016 MVC Championship meet in CJ Mayand Ethan Smith.

The UNI cross country squads will get their season underway Sept. 1 at the Hawkeye Invite in Iowa City. The Panthers will also compete in the Mayflower Day Open (Sept. 16 – Madison, Wisconsin), the Joe Piane Invitational (Sept. 30 – South Bend, Indiana) and the Bradley Classic (Oct. 13 – Peoria, Illinois).

This year’s MVC Championship meets will be held Oct. 28 in Springfield, Missouri.

The NCAA Midwest Regional is set for Nov. 10 in Ames, Iowa.

Allyson Felix
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relay Alums Make Us Proud in London

Omar McLeod- Jamaica ©Jim Kirby

Omar McLeod- Jamaica
©Jim Kirby

With the 2017 IAAF Track & Field World Championships concluding this past weekend in London, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee had alumni posting many outstanding medal winning performances to garner 10 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze medals during the event.  Individual gold medal winners who competed at the 2017 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee included Kori Carter (400mH), Phyllis Francis (400m), Sam Kendricks (Pole Vault), Omar McLeod (110mH) and Brittney Reese (Long Jump).

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Allyson Felix ©Jim Kirby 2013

Overall, the United States set a team record for the most medals at the World Championships with 30 (10-gold, 11-silver, 9-bronze) while three-time Drake Relays champion Brittney Reese became the first woman to win four World long jump gold medals and only the second woman to win four golds in a single event (Valerie Adams, shot put).  Below is a listing of the medalists with their last appearance year at the Relays in parentheses.  Unless noted otherwise, athletes represented the United States.



  • Shelby Houlihan-5K (2017 Bowerman Track Club)
  • Morolake Akinosun – Gold-4x100m Relay (2016-Texas)
  • Kori Carter – Gold-400m Hurdles (2017)
  • Michelle Carter – Bronze-Shot Put (2016)
  • Allyson Felix – Bronze-400m, Gold-4x100m Relay, Gold-4x400m Relay (2006)
  • Phyllis Francis – Gold-400m, Gold-4x400m Relay (2015)
  • Dawn Harper-Nelson – Silver-100m Hurdles (2017)
  • Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas) – Bronze-200m (2013-Georgia)
  • Sandi Morris – Silver-Pole Vault (2017)
  • Dalilah Muhammad – Silver-400m Hurdles (2016)
  • Brittney Reese – Gold-Long Jump (2017)
  • Yarisley Silva (Cuba) – Bronze-Pole Vault (2014)
  • Jenny Simpson – Silver-1500m (2017)
  • Ekaterini Stefanidi (Greece) – Gold-Pole Vault (2016)
  • Ristananna Tracey (Jamaica) – Bronze-400m Hurdles (2015)
  • Ajee Wilson – Bronze-800m (2015)


  • Will Claye – Silver-Triple Jump (2016)
  • Kerron Clement – Bronze-400m Hurdles (2016)
  • Sam Kendricks – Gold-Pole Vault (2017)
  • Renaud Lavillenie (France) – Bronze-Pole Vault (2015)
  • Jarrion Lawson – Silver-Long Jump (2015-Arkansas)
  • Wil London – Silver-4x400m Relay (2016-Baylor)
  • Omar McLeod – Gold-110m Hurdles (2017)
  • Gil Roberts – Silver-4x400m Relay (2015)
  • Mike Rodgers – Silver-4x100m Relay (2007)
  • Jarrin Solomon (Trinidad & Tobago) – Gold 4x400m Relay (2013)
  • Christian Taylor – Gold-Triple Jump (2017)
  • Rabah Yousif (Great Britain) – Bronze-4x400m Relay (2016)
  • Stipe Žunic (Croatia) – Bronze-Shot Put (2012-Florida)
Carter Lilly-SC East-Iowa
©Darren Miller Hawkeyesports.com

Hawk’s Lilly Winner of Ashe Sports Scholars Award

Carter Lilly-SC East-Iowa © Darren Miller-hawkeyesports.com)

Carter Lilly-SC East-Iowa
© Darren Miller-hawkeyesports.com)

University of Iowa track and field athletes Marta Bote Gonzalez, Ashley Espinosa, and Carter Lilly were named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sport Scholars, it was announced by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Carter Lilly-SC East-Iowa ©Darren Miller Hawkeyesports.com

Named after tennis legend Arthur Ashe Jr., the namesake sport scholars honor undergraduate students who excel in the classroom and in their sport. In addition, sport scholars show a commitment to community service and student leadership.

Gonzalez, a marketing major from Merida, Spain, was named to the third team. She holds a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.66. During the 2017 outdoor season, Gonzalez qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary in the 3,000 meter steeplechase and led Iowa in the event at the Big Ten Championships, finishing seventh with a time of 10:25.98.

Espinosa, a human physiology major from Lindenhurst, Illinois., was named to the honorable mention list. Espinosa carries a cumulative GPA of 3.31 and was on the Dean’s List in 2017. She placed fifth in the 3,000 meters at the Larry Wieczorek Invite with a time of 10.28:83.

Lilly, a entrepreneurship and marketing major, was named to the first team. Lilly holds a cumulative GPA of 3.71 and was named academic All-Big Ten, a USTFCCCA All-Academic honoree, and a member of the Dean’s List. In 2017, he was an NCAA qualifier in the 800 meters and anchored the Drake Relays champion sprint medley (3:20.40), a time that ranks third in Iowa history.

2016 ISU Women's Conference Champions
©Cyclones Athletics

Cyclones Announce 2017 XC Schedule

Thomas Pollard-Gilbert-ISU ©Jim Kirby

Thomas Pollard-Gilbert-ISU
©Jim Kirby

The 2017 Iowa State Men’s and Women’s Cross Country schedule is set. The 2017 slate has a similar look to it as 2016, as the Cyclones will run in three regular season contests before beginning their postseason chase at the Big 12 Championship.

Courtesy Cyclones Athletics, click here! Feature photo: 2016 ISU Women’s Conference Champions ©Cyclones Athletics

The season begins on Friday, Sept. 1 in Iowa City. Both teams will compete at the Hawkeye Invitational.

Iowa State will then head to Minneapolis, Minn. for the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23. The Griak has become a staple in ISU’s cross country schedule. Head coach Martin Smith has claimed seven team titles at the event and was inducted into the Roy Griak Invitational hall of fame last season.

The regular season concludes on Friday, Oct. 13 at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. The prestigious event held in Madison, Wis., will serve as a final tune-up before the Cyclones begin their postseason run.

This season, the Big 12 Championship will be hosted in Round Rock, Texas on Oct 28. Last season, the women claimed their fifth Big 12 title in six years, while the men posted their best finish since the meet began in 2013, finishing runner-up.

The Iowa State Cross Country will play host for the 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional on Friday, Nov. 10. The Midwest Regional was last held in Ames in 2013.

The Cyclones will look to conclude their season at the NCAA Championship on Saturday, Nov. 18. This year’s championship will be held in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2016, both the men’s and the women’s team qualified for the NCAA Championship. The men took 16th, while the women finished 29th, respectively.

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club
©Michael Scott http://miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

The World Knows Shelby Now: by Nicole Bush of Citrus Mag


© Michael Scott 2016, www.miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

© Michael Scott 2016, www.miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

Citrus Mag is a publication dedicated to running.  Early this summer  Citrus Mag’s Nicole Bush posted this story about Shelby Houlihan.  As Shelby has qualified for the 5k final at the World Championships in London (in a personal best time of 15:00), we thought it would be a good time to share a portion Nicole’s story.

For the full story, click here!    Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club©Michael Scott http://miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

Before the 2016 Millrose Games in New York City, Houlihan had only run a handful of 5,000-meter races. She’d run 5,000 meters at conference meets to assist for points toward a team score. She contested it at an NCAA regional and then once more at the national championship “just to run it” because it was her last NCAA meet and the schedule permitted it after her 1,500 meter focus.

But, she had never really chased a fast time in a 5,000 until the 2016 Millrose Games in New York City. Running 25 laps at the Armory’s 200-meter banked track wasn’t the initial intention.

“I actually wanted to do the mile at Millrose and I couldn’t get in,” said Houlihan.

After receiving this news, according to Houlihan, she and coach Jerry Schumacher had a conversation that went something like:

Jerry: Alright, we’ll just stick you in the 5k. I think you could run a good 5k. You’ve been hanging with Emily and Betsy and stuff.

Shelby: Alright (while shrugging).

But Houlihan had never actually run a 5K to really run it.

“So, I was kind of nervous about it–but at the same time, there was no pressure,” Houlihan said.

She went out with her Bowerman Track Club teammates and hung on to the hot pace from the front by Emily Infeld and Betsy Saina. She sustained it for as long as she could before crossing the finish line in 15:06 – nearly 43 seconds faster than anything she had run before.

Houlihan attributes the successful run to the presence of her teammates and a vibe she’s used to, saying, “I mean, I do that everyday in practice.”

After that Millrose performance, according to Houlihan, she and Schumacher had a conversation that went something like:

Jerry: …I think we’re gonna do the 5k this year.

Shelby: *silent nod in confirmation* *probably smiling*

“So that’s kinda how it happened,” said Houlihan.

That is also kind of how the universe shifted for her.

After such a successful run at Millrose, she did not run another 5K until the prelim at the Olympic Trials nearly five months later.

What was that like jumping events, only really running it once–five months–before the Olympic Trials and then toeing the line with so many women with such cachet in the event? Well, she was kind of nervous. But, at the same time, she said, “After Millrose I was pretty mad at myself because I felt like I could run faster.”

At Millrose, she thought she was kind of a “wimp,” that she should have “gone around Abbey (D’Agostino)” and that she should have “hung onto that lead pack.” Instead, she got in her own head and didn’t do any of that.

“So I was really mad at myself about that and I think it was actually better for me not to race it again,” Houlihan says.” Because then I had this fire in me, like, ‘I need to do this again. I know I can do better.’”

She returned to the distance on a stage that she had never been on and in an event she had never run that seriously.

So what, she was a little nervous. But her workouts had been going well and when she saw her teammate in Infeld make the 10,000-meter team, Houlihan said she thought to herself, “Well, she can make the team–I can make the team because, we workout everyday.”

She was also the last athlete of Schumacher’s group to race, as the 5,000 meter final was on the last day of the Trials. And all of her teammates were making the Olympic Team. Houlihan said she thought to herself, “Well I have to make the team now. Because, otherwise it’ll be embarrassing if I don’t. Like, I’ll be the one that doesn’t.”

If you were paying the slightest bit of attention to Houlihan on the track during that 5,000 meter final, it was on her face and in her body language; it didn’t really matter who was on the track or what they had done–it was all irrelevant and it didn’t matter. She was going to do whatever the race required of her–whatever needed to be done, whatever it took–and make the Olympic Team.

It just looked like…

“…we’re going for it,” Houlihan said.

And that was exactly the energy and focus that backed up her thought process going into the race.

This is the plan and we’re executing.

We’re going for it.

“I had actually written on my mirror, like two months out, ‘I will be an Olympian’,” Houlihan said.

But then, like all meaningful and exciting goals do–regardless of size–it started to pervade her thoughts.

I will be an Olympian

“I saw it every single day and I was telling myself it. It kind of made it–so when it actually came around to that time–I was like, ‘Yeah, I can do this. Like–yeah’,” Houlihan said.

It became decidedly true.

She had been telling herself she would be an Olympian everyday for two months and it became more of a matter of fact than a far off dream for four years from now. Combine that conviction with seeing all of her Bowerman teammates make the team–in a way normalizing it–and she had an attitude of:

“I can definitely do this,” Houlihan recalls telling herself.

And so she did it.

She became an Olympian at 23, in an event she had only ever raced with complete seriousness about four times.

With personal bests in the 1,500 and 800 of 4:03.3 and 2:01.1 respectively. Being able to split 54 for a 400 relay leg. Being a NCAA Champion and NCAA runner-up at 1,500-meters; Houlihan’s talent goes without saying, because it should be obvious.

But what elevates this Iowa native to such performances as 11th in the world her first time at the Olympics; her 6th time running the event in earnest?

It could be her love of Harry Potter. Her Patronus is a unicorn–or well, maybe it’s a beagle. She said she took a Patronus quiz and got a beagle but that she was “not happy about it”. Because she doesn’t think that’s what her Patronus is. “It should be–a unicorn,” she said.

Plus, she doesn’t even like dogs, she said. So obviously, it’s a unicorn.

Houlihan’s heightened performance is attributed to her love of the spirit of Harry Potter. But not really.

Houlihan current racing prowess can be attributed to a few things.

Joining Bowerman

According to Houlihan she “was debating on staying in Arizona” and training with her coach, Louie Quintana, at ASU. But he guided her in another direction.

Houlihan said Quintana is close with Schumacher in that they talk once in awhile. Quintana knew that she was debating staying in Tempe and that she loves Arizona.Initially, she really didn’t want to move to Portland, where the Bowerman Track Club is based.

Quintana told her that he would love to have her in Tempe to train with him and the team.  But then they had a conversation that went something like:

Louie: But I mean, if Jerry wants [to coach] you, you should probably go to his group, because, he’s a great coach.

Shelby: Alright, yeah, you’re right. I know what I should do.

So to Portland she a-goed.

The smooth transition

Houlihan will aptly say it herself, that her transition from collegiate to professional went smoothly. Which isn’t the typical experience for post-collegiates. It’s typical for it to be anywhere from a little bit rocky to a lot a bit avalanche. So for athletes and fans everywhere, Houlihan’s transition is remarkable–literally, people remark about it.

Schumacher “has coached a lot of good athletes,” Houlihan said. Which also goes without saying, in the track world. “I immediately just trusted him. Which is what you have to do. You just have to be in and believe that it’s going to work.”

You have got to have faith. Houlihan season ‘15-’16: case in point.

What Houlihan thinks might be the bigger deal for such a seamless adjustment is staying healthy.

“I think staying healthy all four years of college and each year increas[ing] my mileage a little bit–to get stronger and just having those building to training–finally kind of stack up,” she said.

Setting her up pretty perfectly to begin adapting to Schumacher’s workload.

“And,” Houlihan said, “Doing the work.”

Then, the adaptation.

“His workouts were way more intense and I was getting my butt kicked every week. I would get my butt kicked every week and, like, just lay in bed the rest of the day–because I just couldn’t move,” Houlihan said.

This was a change of pace–quite literally– for Houlihan:

“In college I felt like I’d have a couple hard workouts a year that were really hard. So just the improvement in that intensity level, I think, is what really kind of skyrocketed me to the next level.”

Also, some luck. In a such a planned, calculated sport–there’s always room for it.

“Everything came together at the right moments. So, that was also luck,” Houlihan said. “I could have definitely hurt myself trying to keep up with Betsy and Emily but, it ended up being fine.”

Perfectly fine.


“My future’s going to be great,” adds Houlihan.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Paul Merca 2017

Jenny Simpson Surprises Herself For Silver at Worlds

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Paul Merca 2017

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Paul Merca 2017

Our own Jenny Simpson surprised even herself at the end of the World Championship Women’s 1500m in London on Monday. Below is an excerpt of Deadspin’s Dan McQuade article covering Simpson’s shock at her late race heroics. For the complete story at Deadspin.com, click here!

Feature photo: Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Paul Merca 2017

The women’s 1500 meters headlined the fourth day of the IAAF World Championships in track and field, and it was a worthy main event for the London crowd. Great Britain’s Laura Muir led the pack through the first 800 meters at 2:17, at which point the race turned into a sprint.

Sifan Hassan, the bronze medalist in the event two years ago, ran from last place into the lead. But Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, the defending Olympic champion, and American Jenny Simpson were right with her. Meanwhile, Caster Semenya lurked just behind.

The last lap was the best lap of these championships so far. (Jenny Meadows said it was one of the best races she’d ever seen!) Hassan and Kipyegon got a healthy lead on everyone, then both started to break down on the final stretch, and the rest of the pack surged. Kipyegon held on for first place in 4:02.59, Jenny Simpson took second, and Semenya beat out Muir for third.

 But it appeared Simpson didn’t realize she took silver until Laura Weightman pointed it out to her, as you can see above. Then she decided to sprint across the track for a celebration that lasted nearly 30 seconds—after running 1500 meters in just more than four minutes.

Her post-race celebration was made all the better because of what happened when Simpson won the 1500 meters back at the 2011 World Championships; winning on a late kick, she reacted like she had no idea she’d just won the world title.

Kiana Phelps-Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central High School
©Jim Kirby

Phelps Ready For Sophomore Year For the Ducks!

Kiana Phelps-Kingsley Pearson with her Drake Relays Flag and Next Level Iowa water bottle..two treasured items!

Kiana Phelps-Kingsley Pearson with her Drake Relays Flag and Next Level Iowa water bottle..two treasured items!

Kiana Phelps-Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central-Oregon has been patient, but is ready to attack year two.  Kiana explained how things were going in an article by Jason Cowley in the Sioux Journal.

Below is an excerpt of the article.  For the full article click here!

Feature photo: Kiana Phelps-Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central High School ©Jim Kirby. Article excerpt ©JASON COWLEY jcowley@siouxcityjournal.com 

The four-time state discus champion from Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central underwent a technique change during her first year on the Eugene, Oregon campus.

“My first year went about how I expected and wanted it too,” said Phelps.

The daughter of Scott and Laura Phelps redshirted during the indoor season and improved throughout the outdoor season meet by meet through the process of changing the technique with which she uses to throw.

She finished fourth in the Pac-12 Championships in the discus (165-6) and 13th in the shotput (44-4.75) and qualified for the NCAA West Regionals in the discus.

Phelps described the process as trying to find the “perfect form” though achieving such is impossible.

“But the goal is to get as close to it as you can,” she said. “It’s an incredibly difficult thing to master.”

Phelps endured a year where her form was broken down to fix a couple of bugs in order to rebuild it to be better and stronger.

The Kingsley-Pierson graduate and all-time Iowa record-holder in the discus (179-7) had a unique way of describing the process of changing her technique, an initial form taught to her by her father Scott, a two-time state discus champion of his own.

“The way I look at it is like thinking of a trampoline,” Phelps said. “I had a good, tight trampoline to jump off of, the trampoline being my fundamentals. But it can always be tighter. The tighter it is, the more fundamentally strong you are, and the higher for you to jump.

“But the only way to tighten the trampoline is to loosen it up, replace the springs, and tighten it back up. In a way, it’s like taking one step back before you can take steps forward. Now, this trampoline, is stronger than ever, and I have a tighter trampoline to jump higher off of. In other words, now I have a stronger base to go off of.”

Phelps has spent the majority of the summer on campus, taking classes and working out, lifting and conditioning with an eye on year two in a Ducks uniform.

She didn’t compete in any summer meets for the first time since early childhood since she was too old to compete in the USATF Junior Championships.

She does have her eyes on the IAAF World Championships — the current ones are ongoing in London — in a few years and she hasn’t stopped dreaming of the Olympics either.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Mike Byrnes

Iowans to Compete at the 2017 World Championships

© Michael Scott 2016, www.miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

© Michael Scott 2016, www.miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

The 2017 Outdoor Track and Field World Championships begin TODAY in London!

We have 3 Iowans/Iowa connections on Team USA:

Jenny Simpson, Webster City, 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist.  Drake Relayts champion.  Round 1 of 1500M, today August 4.


Hillary Bor, Iowa State, 2016 Olympian. Round 1 of Steeplechase, Sunday, August 6.


Shelby Houlihan, Sioux City, 2016 Olympian. Round 1 of 5K, Thursday, August 10.


Track and Field News event by event predictions, click here!

Team USA Roster, click here!

World Championships time schedule, click here!

Broadcast schedule, click here!


Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Mike Mahon

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!

Lindsie Shinkel-Ankeny-UNI
©Jim Kirby 2017

Good Times and Good Grades From Panthers

Lindsey Kite-Jesup-UNI ©Jim Kirby 2017

Lindsey Kite-Jesup-UNI
©Jim Kirby 2017

Ten Panthers and the UNI women’s track and field team earned USTFCCCA academic honors.

Courtesy Panther Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Lindsie Shinkel-Ankeny-UNI ©Jim Kirby 2017

The women’s track and field team earned a cumulative 3.43 GPA. In order to be in contention for Scholar Team of the Year, a program must finish highly at the respective national championship meet and have at least a 3.00 cumulative team GPA.

All told, 360 NCAA Division I teams were honored for their academics by the USTFCCCA.
Breaking it down further, 218 of those were women’s teams compared to 142 men’s programs.

In addition to the women’s team, 10 track and field student-athletes earned individual honors.

Including the Scholar Athletes of the Year, a total of 516 men and 752 women earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors during the 2016-17 track & field seasons.

To qualify for USTFCCCA All-Academic honors, the student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and have met at least one of the following athletic standards:

  • For the indoor season, a student-athlete must have finished the regular season ranked in the national top 96 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 48 (collective listing) in a relay event on the official NCAA POP list provided by TFRRS.org.
  • For the outdoor season, a student-athlete must have participated in any round of the NCAA Division I Championships (including preliminary rounds).

Scholar Teams of the Year and All-Academic Team honors for the 2016-17 NCAA Division I Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field seasons were announced Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Audry Miller-Loras
©Jim Kirby 2017

DuHawks Reap Academic Awards

Bob Schultz and Audrey Miller-Loras ©Jim Kirby 2017

Bob Schultz and Audrey Miller-Loras
©Jim Kirby 2017

The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced its 2017 All-Academic awards on Thursday, July 27. Included among the recipients were members of the men’s and women’s teams. In addition, the women’s team was recognized as an All-Academic Team.

Courtesy DuHawks Athletics, click here!

In order for a team to receive All-Academic distinction, it must carry at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average. For individuals, the student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and have met at least one of the following athletic standards: competed in an NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championship or finish the regular season ranked in the national top 35 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 25 in a relay event.

A total of 608 female student-athletes, 402 male student-athletes, 111 men’s teams and 183 women’s teams were recognized by the USTFCCCA. Inside the Iowa Conference, Loras’ women were one of nine programs to be recognized, while 48 individual females and 32 males claimed the award.

For senior Alexis Hanson, junior Rachel Kilburg, junior Audrey Miller and junior Alyssa Simon, it is their second consecutive USTFCCCA All-Academic honor.

Loras Members of the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team

Shamari Scott – Undecided

Elyse Acompanado – Psychology / Criminal Justice
Alexis Alt – Biology
Alexis Hanson – Biochemistry
Rachel Kilburg – Politics / Spanish
Audrey Miller – Biology
Alyssa Simon – Elementary Education

Joe Dunham-Central
©Jim Kirby 2017

Three Dutch Honored Academically

Mark Fairley-Dubuque-Central ©Dutch Athletics

Mark Fairley-Dubuque-Central
©Dutch Athletics

The Central College men’s track and field program had three individuals named to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team.

Will Daniels (freshman, Geneseo, Ill.), Mark Fairley (junior, Dubuque) and Ryan Kruse (junior, St. Clair, Minn.) earned the distinction, Fairley and Kruse were also recipients in 2016. Daniels was a first-time honoree.

To qualify for the honor, student-athletes must post a 3.3 or better combined GPA and compete in an NCAA Division III indoor or outdoor championship or finish the regular season ranked in the top 35 in the nation in an individual event.

Daniels, a 4.0 student, set an Iowa Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships record by winning the heptathlon with 4,753 points. Additionally, he placed 10th at the NCAA outdoor championships in the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 8.25 inches.

Ending his athletic season with a second-place finish at the NCAA outdoor meet in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Fairley maintains a 3.82 GPA while majoring in exercise science. He was the conference champion in the steeplechase and the 1,500-meter run.

Kruse holds a 3.70 GPA as a mathematics major. He registered a 13th place decathlon finish at the NCAA outdoor meet in May. He was the conference champion in the javelin throw and the league’s performer of the week on March 26.

The Dutch men have had 29 athletes win the honor 40 times.

Central’s USTFCCCA All-Academic men’s track and field team
Craig Cantrall, 1994
Andy Goodman, 1994
Nate Smith, 1994
Jon Rathje, 1999
Matt Webster, 1999
Marc VanderVelden, 2000
Tony Brownlee, 2001, 2002
Lucas Nims, 2001
Matt Jens, 2002
Matt McCombs, 2002
Cale Van Genderen, 2003
Tanner Whipple, 2003
Ben Bollard, 2006, 2007
Bryan George, 2006
Guy Dierikx, 2007, 2008
Cody Huisman, 2007
Alex Miller, 2007
Adam Wolf, 2007
Kurtis Brondyke, 2011
Tyler Crouse, 2010, 2011, 2012
Spencer Hammack, 2014, 2015
Drew Jackson, 2014, 2015
Eric Larson, 2014, 2015
Jaemin Powell, 2014, 2016
Jamie Vander Veer, 2015
Mark Fairley, 2016, 2017
Hunter Howe, 2016
Ryan Kruse, 2016, 2017
Will Daniels, 2017