Highland: Sports

Giger opens indoor season in record fashion

Lena Giger
Lena Giger

It was a personal record-setting opening day for Stanford University senior track and field thrower Lena Giger at the University of Washington Indoor Preview Saturday, Jan. 13 at Dempsey Indoor.

Giger, a Highland native, was the top collegian and second overall in the women’s shot put with a new personal-best distance of 56 feet, 9.25 inches (17.30 meters).

The distance was a lifetime best by nearly a foot — 55-9.75 set outdoors last spring — for the All-American and makes the 2014 graduate of Highland High School the No. 4 performer on Stanford’s all-time absolute list, trailing only Olympians Jillian Camarena, Carol Cady, and Pam Dukes. It makes Giger No. 3 indoors at Stanford, behind Camarena and Dukes.

“The season opener this last weekend was a easy, low-pressure competition to execute the technical improvements that my coach and I have worked on over the last few months,” Giger said. “My team competed at the University of Washington in Seattle, which we are quite familiar with, and we will return to three more times this season. Opening with a personal best is always extremely motivating and I can’t wait for the next few meets.”

Giger, who three-peated as the IHSA Class 2A state champion in the shot put while at Highland High, said that she is excited to get to compete at the University of Michigan in a few weeks because it will be a bit closer to home and she will get the opportunity to compete against some throwers from the east coast.

Going into this indoor season, Giger’s primary goal was to qualify for the NCAA Indoor National Championships to be held March 10 and 11 in Fayetteville, Ark.

“My throw of 17.30m (56-9.25) this last weekend is a mark that has historically qualified for nationals, so from here I’m aiming to throw further, as always, and score at NCAA Indoors,”she said.

Last spring during her junior outdoor season, Giger earned NCAA All-American Honorable Mention status after placing 17th in her first NCAA Outdoor National Championships and won four meets; Hornet Invitational, Standford Invitational, Big Meet and the Cardinal Classic.