|Editor’s Note: This is the third part in a five-part series previewing the University of Iowa track and field team’s indoor season. The third installment previews the Hawkeye vertical jumps and multi-events.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A returning school record holder, a drastically improved multi-event group, and a high jump group ready to contribute highlight the University of Iowa’s vertical jumps and multi-event groups.
Senior Will Dougherty is Iowa’s top multi-event athlete, school record holder in the heptathlon, and two-time national qualifier. Dougherty’s 5,504 points set the Iowa record by 150 points as he set two personal bests in the 60-meter dash and long jump.
“The next step for him is to be top three at the Big Ten meet again,” said Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody. “Hopefully he can get to the indoor national meet, which is a big goal for him. Every event for him has improved from the throws to the jumps to the hurdles.”
On the women’s side, Iowa returns sophomores Jenny Kimbro, Allison Wahrman, and Tria Simmons. Kimbro and Wahrman made noise when they debuted as true freshmen and entered Iowa’s all-time top 10 at fourth (3,715 points) and eighth (3,421 points), respectively.
“It’s fun to see these girls all come together and become a really good training group,” Woody said. “I see these girls not only compete to be at the top of the Big Ten, but also qualify for the national meet.”
Simmons did not begin to train as a multi-event athlete until the outdoor season, but her sixth place performance at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships adds another athlete to Iowa’s strong multi-event lineup.
“At this point last year Tria had never seen a hurdle let alone gone over one,” Woody said. “She didn’t start training as a multi-event athlete until after the indoor season. She has seen some huge improvements, especially in the throws and jumps. She came in as a horizontal jumper, but the high jump has become a good event for her.”
Juniors Amy Smith and Andy Jatis return as Iowa’s premier pole vaulters. The duo rank in Iowa’s all-time top 100 in second (3.65 meters) and fifth (5.00 meters), respectively.
ATHLETES POISED FOR A BREAKOUT YEAR
Iowa brought in five high jumpers for the 2017 season – Bri Lantrip, Gillian Urycki, Kelli DeGeorge, Sydney Collins, and Christina MacNab — and after a year under their belts, they are ready to contribute to the team.
“We have five girls that have the ability to score points at the conference meet,” Woody said. “All have improved over the fall and I’ve seen huge development in that whole event group.”
“Sydney Collins has made some huge strides this fall and it has been good to see her take that next step and make much bigger bars that last season,” Woody said.
FRESHMAN TO WATCH
Freshman Daniel Gaynes redshirted last season, but he is next in line to be Iowa’s next big multi-event athlete on the men’s team.
“He has been training right alongside Will and has actually showed him up in a couple workouts,” Woody said. “We will see what happens with Daniel. A lot of it is just getting out there and doing the heptathlon for the first time, but his strongest event is the 400-meters.”
Iowa returns to action Jan. 13, hosting the Hawkeye Invitational at the UI Recreation Building beginning at 10 a.m. (CT).