Iowa's Simpson is breaking records on the track

BY DANNY PAYNE | MARCH 28, 2013 5:00 AM

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Jasmine Simpson broke the 6-year-old hammer-throw school record just five days ago — a mark set by Becca Franklin in 2007.

Simpson’s throw of 197 feet, 7 inches (60.23 meters) was not only amazing in the sense she is the first female Hawkeye in history to break 60 meters, but also because the junior had never even heard of the event until her official visit to Iowa’s campus.

While on her visit, a current teammate’s mother saw Simpson on the track, trying her best to learn the event.

“That’s not the event for that girl,” Simpson remembers the mother saying. “Maybe she should do something else.”

Simpson, a team captain, came into the track and field program with plenty of motivation to do well. She felt she had to work much harder than most other members of the team because she was a walk-on.

“I just felt like I didn’t have the same credentials coming out of high school,” she said. “There are a ton of people on our team who are state champions in this or state champions in that … I had to prove myself more.”

And prove herself Simpson did.

“Certainly she was not someone that came in with impressive credentials in that event, but she’s worked hard,” Iowa head women’s track and field coach Layne Anderson said. “That performance is an example to others that hard work does pay off.”

This leadership is extremely beneficial to other athletes on the team, in particular junior Amanda Stahle, a fellow thrower.

“She’s probably one of the hardest working people on the team,” Stahle said. “Probably the most persevering; she’s really inspirational to everyone.”

Simpson, a product of Glenbard South high school in Glen Ellyn, Ill., has not had an easy journey to the record books. In addition to learning the hammer throw her freshman year, the Wheaton, Ill., native has faced injuries and other setbacks during her Hawkeye career. Simpson has suffered from shoulder injuries throughout college and narrowly missed out on qualifying for the NCAA regional championships.

“It hasn’t been smooth sailing for her at any stage,” Anderson said. “You like to see good kids who work had at what they do.”

Simpson’s record-breaking performance in her first meet of the year has set the bar high for the rest of the season — a campaign that’s full of high expectations. She also hopes to qualify for NCAA regionals and to score at the Big Ten championships.

“[I hope] to build on the performance I had this weekend,” Simpson said. “Not just to stay stuck at 60 [meters].”

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