Stanford University senior Lena Giger continued her amazing indoor season in the shot put, winning at the Power Five Invitational indoor track and field meet Saturday with a new lifetime best.
Giger, a 2014 graduate of Highland High School, hurled the shot put a personal-record distance of 56 feet, 10.75 inches (17.34 meters) to outduel Louisville’s Emmonnie Henderson, an Edwardsville grad and the 2017 NCAA outdoor runner-up. Henderson finished with a mark of 54-10.25.
Giger, a three-time IHSA Class 2A state champion in the shot put while at Highland High, took the lead in the first round, Henderson grabbed it in the second and Giger recaptured it for good in the third of the six rounds at the University of Michigan’s Indoor Track Building. The throw eclipsed Giger’s three-week-old personal record of 56-9.25 (17.30 meters), which itself was a one-foot improvement upon her best during a 2017 All-America season that culminated at the U.S. Championships.
“It was a great opportunity to compete against a few of the top women in the NCAA, especially those that I don’t usually see until nationals,” Giger said. “I had a small PR but it definitely is a step in the right direction. I’m within six inches of the indoor school record, so that is the next goal. It was cool to compete against Emmonnie Henderson again, especially since we used to compete in high school. I have two more meets in Seattle, Wash. before heading to NCAA indoor nationals in Texas in early March and I am extremely excited to see how the rest of the season unfolds.”
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In each of her three meets this season, Giger has finished as the top collegian.
“Lena is competing at a very high level,” Stanford throws coach Zeb Sion said in press release. “Though she’s improved her personal best in two of the three meets this season, Lena’s progress has been in motion for several months. She’s made significant strength gains and also has become much more technically sound.
“Even though she threw well last year, I’m not surprised by her continued progress. Her confidence, attitude and approach to competition has also continued to improve.”
Giger strengthened her hold on the No. 3 spot on Stanford’s all-time indoor performance list and closed within four inches of Jillian Camarena’s school record. In fact, on Stanford’s absolute list, Giger sits No. 4, behind only a trio of Olympians — Camarena, Pam Dukes and Carol Cady.
Giger moved into the No. 5 spot on the NCAA Division I season list. The top 16 advance to the NCAA Indoor Championships March 9-10 at Texas A&M. Over the past eight years, every mark at 55-3 (16.84 meters) and above has earned passage.