AMES – Lisa Koll’s rags to riches college career comes to a close this week with two more chances to pad her already sterling resume.
The Iowa State senior will attempt the rare double win at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., starting with Wednesday night's 10,000-meter race, her signature event.
The 2008 NCAA champ in the event also will run in the 5,000 Friday night. Arizona’s Amy Skieresz was the last female to win both in the same year, doing it back-to-back in 1996 and ’97. Two others – North Carolina State’s Betty Jo Springs (’83) and Wisconsin’s Stephanie Herbst (’86) – also have swept the distance races at the national meet.
“It’s going to be quite a task to try and get them both,” said Koll, who won both at the qualifying Regional meet in Austin, Texas. “I figure it’s my last NCAA meet, so I’ve got to take a shot.”
Koll became the only woman to win four straight Big 12 Conference titles in the same event, winning the 10K last month.
She took the 5K at the NCAA indoor meet back in March, but his will be the first time the lightly-recruited Fort Dodge native has done both when the stakes are this high.
“The key is to be really relaxed during the 10K and use the least amount of energy possible in order to win,” Koll said. “It would mean a lot more to me to pull off the double win than to PR.”
Koll set a new American collegiate 10K record this year, finishing in 31 minutes, 18.07 seconds.
She isn’t planning to push that kind of pace tonight.
“I ran a really fast time earlier this year. I don’t think I have anything to prove as far as time is concerned,” Koll said.
Koll won the ’08 outdoor title when the event was held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
She was a disappointing ninth in last year’s 10K. She’ll come in again as the odds-on favorite to win that and the 5K, but isn’t taking anything for granted.
“On paper those may be mine to lose, but you get in the competition and weird things happen. You have to be prepared,” Koll said. “Last year everyone would have said it was mine to lose, and I did lose. Times you’ve run in the past don’t really matter.”
Koll is one of a group of Cyclone distance runners competing this week, two of whom will be at the starting line with her in Semehar Tesfaye and Betsy Saina.
Senior Kiel Uhl qualified for the men’s 10K which will be run on Thursday night.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s in the top three or four,” coach Corey Ihmels said. “He’s got one of those races left in him.”
Hillary Bor took fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as a freshman and was second last year.
Bor, who took second at the NCAA Regional meet, wants to be highest on the medal stand this time around.
“He’s got a good chance to win,” Ihmels said.
Koll took time off from heavy training in April after posting her record time at Stanford.
It’s helped her re-energize for the stretch run.
“I’m coming around to a second peak now,” Koll said. “Training has been going really well.”
Following the USA Outdoor Championship in Des Moines June 23-27 Koll said a trip overseas for a couple of races on the European tour is likely.
Koll is being wooed by the major shoe companies for the right to sponsor her. She’ll make it official once the NCAA meet is over and amateurism rules no longer apply.“Hopefully within the next month or so I’ll be signing with someone,” Koll said.