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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

ISU Classic: Women’s Breakdown

Release: 02/12/2014
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AMES, Iowa – The fields are set for the 23rd annual Iowa State Classic and over 100 All-Americans from over 50 teams will be competing in Ames this weekend. The meet is set up to feature one of the largest and most talented fields in the country, showcasing talent from around the nation.

Athletes from both the collegiate and professional levels will look to post marks that will qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships and USA Indoor Championships. Below you can find breakdowns of the women’s events at the ISU Classic.

The women’s 60-meter dash will feature SMU’s No.7-ranked Stephanie Kalu, as well as three other sub-7.50 second sprinters. Kalu holds a personal best of 7.34, set earlier this season at the Vanderbilt Invitational. She will be competing against Columbia’s Marvellous Iheukwumere, Missouri State’s Pernell Joseph and NC State’s Paisley Simmons.

Four athletes in the field for the 200-meter dash have broken the 24-second barrier in their careers in Georgetown’s Amanda Kimbers, Columbia’s Iheukwumere, SMU’s Kalu and Missouri State’s Shavonne Husbands. Iheukwumere and Kalu will again face off as in the 60m, while Kimbers and Husbands will look to contend for the title. Keep an eye on Kansas’ Alisha Keys, who has posted a 23.90 in outdoor competition.

Kansas’ 2012 Olympic gold medalist Diamond Dixon is the headliner in the women’s 400-meter dash. Dixon is a seven-time All-American and ran the third leg for USA in the semifinals of the 2012 Olympic 4x400m relay. She holds a personal best of 50.88 in the event.

Dixon will be chased by a field featuring 11 athletes that have run faster than 55 seconds in their careers. Missouri State’s Althia Maximilien, North Dakota State’s Ashley Tingelstad and Sade Sealy (unattached) have all posted marks better than 54 seconds.

Two Cyclones will be in the mix as Kendra White and Ese Okoro take the track. White (54.11 – 2014) and Okoro (54.54 – 2013) have posted career marks to set the Iowa State program record and will look to best the mark again at this week’s ISU Classic.

The meet record for the 400 stands at 52.11 (Shauna Smith, Wyoming – 2004) and the facility record stands at 51.15 (Jessica Beard, Texas A&M – 2010).

A Big 12 Championship event, the 600yd run will feature a trio of Cyclones in Ese Okoro, Krista Shoeman and Dana Christensen. All three have bested the 1:23.50 mark in their careers and Okoro currently holds the top mark amongst in-conference competition at 1:20.28. Nebraska’s Ellie Grooters leads the field at 1:20.00.

New Jersey-New York Track Club’s Cydney Ross enters the ISU Classic with the top time of 2:02.50 in the 800-meter run. Eight other runners will come in looking to defeat the NJ-NY TC runner, having posted sub-2:05 times of their own in the event. Georgetown’s Sabrina Southerlans and facility record holder Bethany Praska have both run sub-2:04 this year.

Iowa State senior Ejiro Okoro will look to make a statement this weekend. Okoro posted a mark of 2:05.78 two weeks ago at the Bill Bergan Invitational, which is good for eighth nationally this season. The Birmingham, England, native was very impressive at the Armory Collegiate, where she ran an even-split 2:03 in the 800m leg of the women’s distance medley relay.

The meet record for the 800m is held by Tytti Reho (SMU) at 2:04.56 and was set back in 1998, while Praksa holds the facility record at 2:04.22 (2012).

Another Big 12 Championship event, Iowa State junior Maggie Gannon enters the race as the top seed, with a mark of 2:47.60. Gannon will be joined by fellow Cyclones Maddie Nagle and Colleen Riley. Minesota’s Maggie Bollig and UN-Omaha’s Katarina Zarudnaya will also look to contend for the event title.

Elite-level athletes will look break both meet and facility records in the mile run this weekend. Violah Lagat (adidas Rogue TC), Jessica Tebo (Brooks Beasts), Heather Wilson (NJ-NY TC), Stephanie Charnigo (NJ-NY TC) and Jamie Cheever (Brooks Beasts) have each run faster than the meet record (4:35.17) and facilty record (4:34.54) held by Gabriele Anderson (Minnesota – 2011) and Amy Mortimer (2004).

In collegiate competition, North Texas’ Josephine Adams leads the field with a top mark of 4:36.50. She’ll be contested by Kentucky’s Allison Peare and Duke’s Haley Meier and Anima Banks. Each runner is capable of running faster than 4:38 in the mile. Texas’ Marielle Hall, Big 12 Champion in cross country, is also scheduled to compete and holds a personal best of 4:39.45.

Four sub-9 minute professionals will compete for the title in the women’s 3,000-meter run in Furman Elite’s Nicole Bush and Stephanie Garcia, NJ-NY TC’s Nicole Traynor and Brooks Beasts’ Angela Bizzarri. Bush enters with the top time at 8:54.71, with the others close on her heels.

Ten athletes have run faster than the meet record 9:12.55, set by Michigan State’s Nicole Bush back in 2008, but the field will have to push the pace for the facility record. That record is held by former Iowa State stand-out and 2012 Olympian Lisa Koll. Koll set the mark at 8:56.09 in 2010.

Iowa State freshman Bethanie Brown will be at the front of the pack in collegiate competition. She will be taking on Columbia’s Waverly Neer, Butler’s Katie Clark and Texas’ Sara Sutherland. Each runner has run sub 9:11 in their career and will look to post an NCAA-qualifying mark.

Ten runners with sub-16 minute marks, including five 2013 cross country All-Americans will take the stage in the 5,000-meter run. William and Mary’s Elaina Balouris is the top-seeded competitor, coming in with a mark of 15 minutes and 40 seconds. Right behind her will be teammate Emily Sites.

All-Americans in the field include Butler’s Mara Olson, Duke’s Juliet Bottorf, NC State’s Joanna Thompson and Boston College’s Liv Westphal. Texas’ Sara Sutherland is also schedule to compete in the race, with a 15:50 qualifying mark.

Iowa State’s Samantha Bluske will be in the mix as well. The Chaseburg, Wis., native is currently eighth on Iowa State’s all-time performers list with a mark of 16:37.98 and will look to move up on the list after this weekend’s race.

Erica Twiss (Kansas State), Alexis Perry (NC State), Sarah Yeager (unattached) and Shanice Andrews (Wichita State) enter the ISU Classic as the only athletes in the field to run 8.50 or better in the 60-meter hurdles. Twiss is currently ranked 16th nationally in the event with a mark of 8.26.

The women’s 4x400-meter relay features four squads that have posted sub-3:40 marks in Kansas State, North Dakota, Minnesota and Missouri State. Iowa State will be right with them with a team of Dana Christensen, Kendra White, Krista Shoeman and Ese Okoro. Teams will look to post national-qualifying marks in the event.

Distance Medley Relay
Another event where teams will look to notch NCAA Championship berths, the distance medley relay will showcase multiple teams capable of putting up times better than 11:10. Georgetown’s squad of Sabrina Southerland, Amanda Kimbers, Chelsea Cox and Andrea Keklak holds the top mark at 10:55.95.

Duke’s team of Anima Banks, Madeline Kopp, Haley Meier and Audrey Huth is capable of posting a time of 11:01 or better and will push the Hoyas for the title. Other notable teams competing in the event will be Minnesota, Kansas (featuring Diamond Dixon) and Iowa State.

Iowa State is coming off a record-setting performance at the Armory Collegiate Invitational last weekend, where the team posted a program record of 11:11.93. The team of Perez Rotich, Ese Okoro, Ejiro Okoro and Bethanie Brown will look to improve and lower their mark at this weekend’s event.

High Jump
Three jumpers with marks better than 5’10.75” will lead the field in the women’s high jump competition in Megan Glisar (South Dakota), Marusa Cernjul (Nebraska) and Kathie-Lee Laidley (UN-Omaha). Glisar comes in with the best jump of 6’00.50 this season and is currently ranked fourth nationally.

Pole Vault
A pair of top-10 vaulters from South Dakota lead the field in the women’s pole vault. Emily Grove, currently ranked fourth nationally, enters the competition with a best mark of 14’3.25”, while teammate Bethany Firsick is ranked seventh with a mark of 14’1.75”. Firsick has cleared the bar at 14’7.50” in her career, but has yet to equal that mark this season.

Long Jump
Sami Spenner (UN-Omaha) holds the top entry in the long jump with a mark of 20’9.75”. Alexis Perry (NC State) will look to out-jump Spenner, having posted a mark of 20’0.5” earlier this season at the Gene Anderson Invitational.

Triple Jump
Four triple jumpers have eclipsed the distance of 41’9” in their careers, as Spenner (UN-Omaha), Anna Weigandt (Nebraska), Hammond (Middle Tennessee State) and Robiann Broomfield (Missouri State) will look to take home the event title.

Shot Put
NC State’s Tremanisha Taylor leads the field in the shot put with a hurl of 55’. She will see strong competition from SMU’s Helena Perez and Nebraska’s Veronica Grizzle. Perez and Grizzle have thrown the shot 54’6” and 53’6 in their career respectively.

Iowa State junior Christina Hillman will not be competing in this weekend’s event. The two-time All-American will be using the time to prepare for the USA Championships next weekend in Albuquerque, N.M. Hillman is currently the top-ranked shot putter in the country with a mark of 57’5.5”.

Weight Throw
Sara Savatovic enters the meet as a heavy favorite in the weight throw. The Kansas State thrower set a Bill Bergan meet record earlier this season with a toss of 67’6.75”, three feet further than her closest competitor in this weekend’s competition. Savatovic is currently ranked 14th nationally.

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