Stanford University's Lena Giger earned First-Team All-American accolades at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships Friday at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Giger's throw of 56 feet, 2.75 inches (17.14 meters) was good enough for sixth place, which gave her a sport for the first time on the All-America list.
For Giger, her finish certainly was impressive, especially considering she placed 17th outdoors last year in her first NCAA meet. But another 9.5 inches would have vaulted Giger all the way to second place. Those distances seemed attainable on a better day.
"It was a good stepping stone from nationals last year," said Giger, a three-time IHSA Class 2A state champion in the shot put from 2012-14 while at Highland High School. "But the goals were a little higher, especially because the distances above me weren't way out there."
Giger was in danger of not being among the top nine throwers in the final, but got a toss of 55-11.25 (17.05m) on her third try, while she was in what she described as "survival mode," to give her three additional throws.
Giger improved on her fourth throw to earn her best mark of the competition, reach All-American status and earn points for her team.
"The competition this weekend was not exactly what I had hoped for going into the meet, but I am still extremely happy and proud with the outcome," she said. "I ended up sixth, which is All-American, and that is an incredible feeling. The competition itself was rather slow and the marks from myself and other girls were huge, which makes my sixth-place finish a bit more frustrating, because places 3-7 were all within one foot of each other. But It was a great learning experience, and I can’t wait for outdoor season. I’ll open up at the Stanford invite in three weeks. While the meet was definitely a bit nerve-wracking, it was great, and I can’t wait to compete against these wonderful women throwers again at NCAA outdoors this June."