By HANNAH OSSMAN
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Former University of Iowa track & field star Lake Kwaza was named to the USA Bobsled National Team on Friday morning. She is one of nine women to make to the 17-athlete team.
“It was an amazing feeling hearing my name be called,” Kwaza said. “I wasn’t initially supposed to race at team trials, so I just tried to stay quiet and prayed a lot. Then one day during practice, I got the opportunity to push with one of our pilots, and it was good enough to convince another pilot to race with me at team trials. We didn’t do great, but it certainly allowed the selection committee, the coaches, and the other pilots to see the potential in me. My next step will be training in whistler Canada for a few weeks. Everything is still a bit stressful, because in this sport, you have to dedicate your life to it and that includes not having a job and hustling to make ends meet, but this is a lifestyle worth living for if given the opportunity. It’s feels like I’m on top of the world to be so lucky and to be given the opportunity to represent this country with some of the greatest athletes in the world. I’m excited to get started, and I can’t wait help Team USA take on the world, beginning with our first race in Sigulda, Latvia, in December.
As a Hawkeye, Kwaza was highly decorated with All-America honors (2014, 2016), first-team All-Big Ten honors, a Big Ten Championship title in the 400-meter relay, and holds school records in the indoor 60 meters (7.33) and outdoor 400-meter relay (44.04).
The 2016 graduate etched her name in the record book 14 additional times, including top-10 marks in the outdoor 100 meters, 200 meters, 400-meter relay (4), 1,600-meter relay (2), sprint medley relay (5), and indoor 200 meters.
Kwaza will join Team USA for three races, including World Cup races in Sigulda, Latvia, and Lake Placid, N.Y., through December 3-9 and February 11-16, respectively, and will close out the season at the World Championships in Whistler, Canada, from February 25-March 10.