Stanford University junior Lena Giger, a Highland High School graduate, had a huge lifetime personal record in the shot put to punch her ticket for the first time to the NCAA Women’s Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
At the NCAA West Regionals on Saturday in Austin, Texas, Giger got off a personal-best throw of 55 feet, 9.25 inches (17.00 meters) to place sixth and earn her first berth to the NCAA Nationals, which will be held June 7-10 at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The throw was on her first of three attempts and continued a strong season that included her previous personal best of 55-1.75 (16.80m) at the Big Meet. Giger also strengthened her hold on third on Stanford’s all-time outdoor performers’ list, trailing only Olympians Jillian Camarena and Carol Cady.
“I can’t express how excited I am to compete at NCAA Nationals in a week,” Giger said. “Regionals couldn’t have went any better. Going into the meet, I was definitely nervous because of a few minor injuries in the last few weeks, but my throws from earlier in the season offered great confidence. We’re still in school for another two and a half weeks, so this season has been a large balancing act between academics and athletics.”
As for the competition itself, Giger was the last thrower from Stanford to compete, so she said she was able to feed off of the positive energy of the team’s two javelin throwers — Mackenzie Little and Jenna Gray — who had qualified on Thursday.
“I felt confident that I could throw a qualifying distance, but the nerves always add an unknown energy,” Giger said. “I opened with a throw of 55-9.25 (17m) which was not only a 20-centimeter PR, but practically a definite qualification, which eased my mind quite a bit.”
Giger’s next two throws were both fouls out of the throwing sector, but they were still great throws distance-wise, and are a great place to build off of for nationals.
She will be competing on Thursday, June 8 at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon in the NCAA Championships.
“After my competition at regionals, I feel confident that I’m ready for an even bigger throw and hopefully am able to be in scoring position,” Giger said. “So far, and thankfully I’m not done, this has been an incredible junior season.”