The Next Level Iowa: THE YEAR IN REVIEW!

Some of The Next Level Iowa’s top stories for 2012, in NO particular order.

Katie Flood-Dowling Catholic-Washington

Katie Flood-Dowling Catholic-Washington

Katie Flood, former Dowling state champion, now University of Washington All American, won 2 NCAA championships in 2012!  The first came in the indoor season when she anchored the Huskies to a come from behind NCAA title in the Distance medley.  The second came in front of her hometown crowd on Drakes renowned blue oval!  Flood ran down the field on the front stretch to win the NCAA Outdoor 1500 meter title.

Drake’s Brogan Austin (Boone) won the MVC Indoor 5k title.  Austin has really come into his own.  He battled through and injury riddled Cross Country season to place 4th in the Valley and 27th at a tough Midwest Regional meet.

Des Moines Roosevelt alum Lolo Jones came back from her infamous fall, while leading the 2008 Olympic final, to make the

Lolo Jones-Roosevelt-LSU©Robert Deutsch, Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Lolo Jones-Roosevelt-LSU©Robert Deutsch, Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

2012 team in the 100 hurdles.  Many naysayers said Jones was focusing too much on garnering media attention and would not be focused nor conditioned enough to make the US team.  The former LSU All American not only proved them wrong by making the team, but she also made the final and narrowly missed out on a medal with her fourth place finish.

Cole Decker-Dowling Catholic and Eli Horton-SE Polk© Central Athletics

Cole Decker-Dowling Catholic and Eli Horton-SE Polk
© Central Athletics

The Central College men, led by the 1-2-3 finish of former Iowa preps, Eli Horton (SE Polk), Cole Decker (Dowling) and Drew Jackson (Johnston) won their first ever Iowa Conference Men’s Cross Country team title!  The Dutch went on to finish a best ever twelfth at the D-3 championship meet.

Former Tipton 15 time state champion, Ashley Miller, closed out her All American career at Nebraska in exciting fashion.  Miller won Big 10 titles in the 3,000 Indoors and the 800 and

Ashley Miller-Tipton-Nebraska©Darren Miller

Ashley Miller-Tipton-Nebraska
©Darren Miller

1500 outdoors.  She anchored the Cornhuskers Distance Medley relay to a 7th place finish in Boise, Idaho to earn Indoor All American accolades.   She also made the semifinals in the 1500 at the Olympic Trials and ran a PR 4:11.49 and won the Drake Relays 1500 meters and set a new meet record.

Former Des Moines Roosevelt state and Drake champion, Erin Hawkins is working hard to come back from off season knee surgery.  Hawkins, a freshman at Minnesota will likely redshirt the indoor season and hopes to be a Big 10 scorer outdoors.

Former Shenandoah state champion and Wartburg College national champion, Missy (Buttry) Rock, is

Missy and Andrew Rock

Missy and Andrew Rock

mounting a comeback of sorts as she prepares for her marathon debut.  Missy and her husband, Olympic gold medalist Andrew Rock have 2 children and are in the process of adopting a third.  Missy comes from a family of 14, many of whom were adopted.  Missy’s 19 year old brother Brandon was killed in Afghanistan on November 5.

Sheldon native and Morningside All American, AG Kruger, made his 3rd US Olympic team in the Hammer Throw.  Despite not medaling in London, the 11 time US champion had a great year and is training hard for 2013.

Drake Relays 4x1600m Relays Champions. (L-R) Megan Raneger, Jackie Laesch, McKenzie Melander, Betsy Flood©Jim Kirby

Drake Relays 4x1600m Relays Champions. (L-R) Megan Raneger, Jackie Laesch, McKenzie Melander, Betsy Flood
©Jim Kirby

The University of Iowa women’s 4 x 1600 meter relay team won the Drake Relays title!  The Hawkeye quartet included former Dowling state champion Betsy Flood.  Flood went on to earn runner-up honors in the 5,000 at the Big 10 outdoor championships.  Betsy now runs professionally for the Boulder Track Club in Boulder, Colorado.

Arizona State Sophomore Shelby Houlihan, Sioux City East, continues to excel at the collegiate level!  Houlihan garnered All American honors this fall finishing 31st at the NCAA Cross Country championships.  Shelby’s older sister Shayla, SC East/UNI, has “retired” from competition in the steeplechase and is now on the coaching staff at the University of California.

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU©Charlie Neibergall

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Charlie Neibergall

The Iowa State women won the Big 12 Cross Country title behind the 1-2 finish of Betsy Saina and Meaghan Nelson.  Saina went on the win the NCAA championships, while Nelson, once again, earned All American honors.

The Wartburg women, with a bevy of Iowa natives on their rosters, won the NCAA D-3 Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field titles and finished as runners-up in Cross Country.

Tyler Mulder-MOC-UNI©Associated Press

Tyler Mulder-MOC-UNI
©Associated Press

Former MOC state champion and UNI NCAA champion Tyler Mulder continues to rise up among the US best in the 800 meter run.  Mulder ran 1:45.02 to finish 5th in a very competitive Olympic Trials 800 meter final.

Lisa Koll Uhl, 3 time NCAA champion and American Collegiate record holder at 10k for Iowa State and her husband former DM Roosevelt state champion, Kiel Uhl have moved back to Ames from Portland, Oregon after making her first ever Olympic team.  Lisa, after her trials 4th place finish, went on to run a personal best 31:12.80 in London for a very respectable 13th place finish. Uhl has battled a few injuries but is training extremely well.  The Ft. Dodge native is training under ISU head coach Corey Ihmels and is volunteer on the Cyclones coaching staff.

The UNI Panther throwers were led by two former Iowa preps that won MVC titles and advanced to the NCAA Championships.

Justin Romero-Cedar Falls-UNI©Jim Kirby

Justin Romero-Cedar Falls-UNI
©Jim Kirby

Jordan Williams, Monticello, won his 2nd Valley discus title in 2 years and advanced to the outdoor championships in Des Moines where he finished 13th.  His teammate Justin Romero, Cedar Falls won the Valley indoor title in the shot put.  In the outdoor season, Romero was 2nd in the conference meet but went on to shatter the UNI school record and Valley all time best with his PR throw of 62’ 4 ½” at the West Regional.  Romero went on to finish 19th at the NCAA Championships.

Obsie Birru-Johnston-Grand View©Jim Kirby

Obsie Birru-Johnston-Grand View
©Jim Kirby

After winning double digit national championships at Grand View, former Johnston prep Obise Birru and taken her talents to yet another level, moving to The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston, to run for Adidas Team Green.  Birru felt she hadn’t fulfilled all of her running dreams and was willing to make the sacrifices necessary to see if she can compete at “the ne

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