Between the first and second quarters of tonight’s football game, the Iowa State Athletics Department and the crowd at Jack Trice Stadium will congratulate long-distance running superstar Lisa Koll on a remarkable college career.
On the track, Koll won four NCAA championships. She is in pretty select company as only three other Cyclones have won that many national titles:
· Jonah Koech, who captured five titles in long-distance running and cross country;
· Debbie Esser, who earned four AIAW (that organization preceded women being allowed to compete in NCAA events) titles in the 400 hurdles;
· Cael Sanderson, who ended his undefeated wrestling career, with four titles.
As a senior in 2010, Koll was named the Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year, won the Honda Award (best female college track athlete) and was a finalist for the Broderick Award (given to the top female athlete in any sport).
Off the track, she had remarkable achievements as well. Graduating summa cum laude in three years as a biology student, Koll spent last season doing graduate work in the veterinary medicine school at Iowa State. The four-time academic All-American had a cumulative GPA of 3.98 and had one B+ grade on her transcripts.
The Ft. Dodge native has moved onto the professional track circuit. She has re-located to Portland and is training with a track club. In July, she ran a personal best in a 5k race in Paris.
As a long-time observer of college athletics, I can state with certainty that I’ve never witnessed a more accomplished STUDENT and ATHLETE than Lisa Koll.
When she strolls (or runs) into the north end zone Thursday night, give her the appropriate recognition for the magnificent way she has represented all Cyclones.
She is a rare student-athlete and we need to honor her genuine greatness in the right way.
Reader feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow