Making her collegiate track and field debut, Highland High School graduate Lena Giger set a Stanford University freshman record in the hammer throw to win the event at the California Outdoor Opener at Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
Giger, a 2014 HHS grad, threw her hammer 188 feet, 3 inches to break the 2001 freshman mark of 187-0 set by Jessica Pluth. Giger’s throw also makes her the No. 6 performer in Stanford history in that event.
Giger’s throw is the second-farthest by a collegian so far. It also bettered her personal record of 185-9.
“I went into today’s competition with my focus on the technique we’ve been working on lately,” Giger said. “The last few weeks have gone really well, so I knew a PR was definitely a possibility.”
Her first attempts were a bit cautious, but “eventually, I picked up some speed and things started to click.”
Giger didn’t find out she broke the record until after the meet, during which she also placed second in the shot put (47-10).
“I’m quite happy with today’s throws and definitely excited to get the rest of the season underway,” said Giger, who also placed second in the shot put with a distance of 47-10.
Stanford completes its indoor season Friday and Saturday at the NCAA Championships, and resumes its outdoor season at the Texas Relays on March 26 and the Stanford Invitational on April 3-4.
Giger, who was a three-time Illinois Class 2A state shot put champion while at Highland High School, won the 2014 U.S. Youth Championships in the hammer with a best mark of 183-1. The throw made her No. 1 in Illinois and No. 2 on the 2014 U.S. high school list.
She placed fourth at the 2014 U.S. Junior Nationals and the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the hammer.
The 2014 Highland co-valedictorian set a best in the shot put of 50-0 in placing fourth at the 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals.
Giger made the U.S. high school list in two events in 2013, with a 48-10¾ in the shot put and 161-10 in the hammer throw.
She won the 2013 Golden West Invitational in the hammer. and finished third in the 2013 New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the shot put.
She is the daughter of David and Caroline Giger of Highland. Her major is undecided, but she anticipates a major of American studies.