Question, “Will another former Iowa prep win the NCAA 1500 meter title?”


“Yes, another former Iowa prep will win the NCAA 1500 meter title!”


Shelby Houlihan-E. Sioux City-ASU ©Jim Kirby

Shelby Houlihan-E. Sioux City-ASU
©Jim Kirby

In the season that was 2011-12, Iowa state champion and Iowa’s All Time record holder at 3,000 meters, former Dowling Catholic prep, Katie Flood had a breakout year as a sophomore at the University of Washington. Flood won the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships then went on to earn All-American honors with her seventh place finish at the NCAA Championships.

At the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships, Flood anchored Washington’s distance medley relay, leading the Huskies to national title.

During the outdoor season, she recorded some outstanding finishes and times, highlighted by her 1500-meter title-winning effort in Des Moines. At Drake Stadium. On her home track: “The Blue Oval.”

Her sophomore season was a long one, not ending until after the Olympic Trials.

After a less than successful cross country and indoor seasons earlier this year, Flood is now contemplating redshirting the outdoor season to rest and refuel for next year.

Now, let’s turn the page to 2013.

Sioux City East and Arizona State standout Shelby Houlihan has made a significant statement during her sophomore season this year. She was an All-American in cross country with a 31st place finish in the fall. She won the mile at the MPSF meet (Pac-12’s Indoor Championships) and qualified to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 800 where she suffered a fall in the prelims.  Despite a gutsy effort to get up and finish, Houlihan did not advance to the final nor earn All-American honors.

The Iowa All-Time record holder in the 800 and 1500 ran a huge 1500 meters PR of 4:13.64 at the Sun Angel Classic this past weekend, destroying the ASU school record of 4:17.98, which stood since 1999.

Shelby moved to the top of the 1500 rankings ladder, bumping Utah’s Amanda Mergaert (4:17.22) from the top rung.

As a side note: Mergaert is coached by Kyle Kepler, who prepped at Webster City, Iowa and was Shelby’s sister, Shayla’s teammate at UNI.  Shayla had a successful post-collegiate career in the Steeplechase, trained with Kepler at Utah, and also assisted with the Ute’s track program.  She is now an assistant at California.

Last year, Shelby Houlihan became the first athlete to be chosen Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year in both track and field and cross country in the same school year.

Shelby won’t have the opportunity to win it on “The Blue Oval” as the NCAA meet will be held at Hayward Field in Oregon where there will be many track crazy fans to cheer her on.  However, the question remains: Will Shelby Houlihan continue to show people what Iowans are made of while showcasing the talent and work ethic they possess?  Can she become the second former Iowa prep in as many years to win the NCAA Division One 1500 meter title?

We think so!

Heck, why not!