Nudge from the competition spurred Hillman to NCAA title

Christina Hillman cheers for her competition. Seriously.

“I love it when others do well,” Hillman, the recently crowned NCAA champion shot putter from Iowa State said. “I cheer for them. (If they are successful), it helps me. It pushes me.”

Hillman’s first attempt at last week’s national championship was good for a temporary spot atop the standings.

“I was content with the throw, but I knew it wouldn’t win,” Hillman told Cyclone.tv’s Tom Kroeschell. Auburn’s Valentina Muzaric took over first place subsequently and that was all the Cyclone junior from Dover, Del. needed.

One attempt later, Hillman bettered her personal record by 18 inches and cruised to the NCAA Championship (59-6.75).

In winning the title, Hillman became the first-ever Cyclone female to win a field event at the indoor national championship. A relay team in 1981 was ISU’s first women’s indoor champions and it was followed by Edith Nakiyingi (800 in 1989 and 1991), Karen Glerum (mile in 1991), Lisa Koll (5,000 in 2010) and Betsy Saina (5,000 in 2012) as NCAA indoor titlists.

Hillman entered the national meet last week in Albuquerque undefeated as a collegian this year and ranked 18th in the world.

“She (Hillman) showed speed and a level I hadn’t see before,” assistant coach Fletcher Brooks said.

Hillman’s performance was equal parts talent / execution and a nudge from her competition. The result was a school-record performance and a NCAA championship.