|IOWA CITY, Iowa — This is the third of a five-part series previewing the University of Iowa track an, Iowa -d field team’s indoor season. The third installment previews the vertical jumps and multi-events.
The Hawkeyes return a couple vital leaders in the multi-events — senior Heaven Chandler and junior Will Dougherty.
Chandler is making the transition to being a bigger part of the team’s multi-event group after setting collegiate-bests in the 60-meter hurdles and long jump.
“She is one of the best hurdlers we have on the team,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “She has done a lot of training over the summer to prepare her body and mind to be able to handle the multi-events this year.”
Dougherty, a 2016 national qualifier, has been off to a blistering start to 2017, setting personal-bests in every event he has competed in.
“Will is a guy that we expect to qualify for the national championships both indoors and outdoors,” Woody said. “He has been training at a high level. He has had PR after PR this indoor season, so that is a good sign of things to come.”
Sophomore Andy Jatis is Iowa’s best returning pole vaulter. Jatis set a career-best at last season’s Border Battle with a height that ranks ninth all-time at Iowa.
“He was a 16-foot vaulter in high school, but didn’t hit that mark last year,” Woody said. “We have been focusing a lot of his speed development. He expects to be a 17 foot vaulter by season’s end.”
ATHLETE POISED FOR A BREAKOUT YEAR
Freshman Jenny Kimbro may soon be known as Iowa’s “X-factor” moving forward in the multi-events.
“We haven’t had a traditional history in the women’s multi-events,” Woody said. “It has not been an emphasis of our program. Once I did research on a lot of successful track programs, I realized that the multi-event athlete on the women’s side could be the most important athlete on your team.”
Kimbro was recruited by Woody and his staff as a hurdler, but they soon realized that with Kimbro’s athleticism, they could be using her in other events.
“She was one of the best hurdlers in Illinois last year,” Woody said. “Once she got here I realized that she has a lot of athletic ability. We started training her more toward that the multi-event area and she has taken off.”
FRESHMEN TO WATCH
Another young event group for the Hawkeyes is the women’s high jump, led by freshman Gillian Urycki. Out of Metamora High School in Illinois, Urycki set a personal-best with a jump of 5’9″ in her senior year.
“She was one of the best jumpers in the country last year,” Woody said. “She was jumping high her senior year and jumped over 20 feet in the long jump. She has some pop and is starting to put together some good training.”