There probably isn’t an athletics program at Iowa State that has improved its league performance more than women’s track & field and cross country since 2010.
In the last four the years, the Cyclones have averaged fifth-place league finishes in both indoor and outdoor track & field and second in cross country. In the prior four years, their Big 12 averages were ninth (outdoor), 10th (indoor) and eighth (cross country).
Lisa Koll (2012 U.S. Olympian) and Betsy Saina were two of the stars, who spurred the team’s improvement in this timeframe.
Saina will be competing this week at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. It will be the closing act for her stellar collegiate career. Saina will run the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
Saina will come to the starting line this week as a nine-time All-American. Koll crossed the finish line for the last time as a collegian (winning the 5k in 2010 at Eugene) as an 11-time All-American.
Koll won four NCAA Championships at Iowa State and Saina has two. One of Saina’s came last fall at the national cross country championships. She beat a field of the nation’s 253 best runners.
Saina and Koll were teammates for a couple of seasons at Iowa State, so their careers are somewhat linked. Beyond their personal achievements, however, they also share in restoring a proud tradition of Cyclone long-distance running dating back to the 1970s.