Track and field seniors embark on a final season together

BY KATRINA DO | MARCH 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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The classic freshman-year roommate horror story is one that seniors Ashlyn Gulvas and Jasmine Simpson will never be able to tell. When the pair was randomly assigned to live together five years ago, they never expected to spend the rest of their college years as both teammates and lifelong friends.

The two have been joined at the hip since they were roommates. Now in their last semester at Iowa, a major transition is drawing near as they embark on a final track and field season together.

“We’ve gotten along since Day One,” Simpson said. “She’s been there when I’ve been at my lowest and when I’ve been at my highest, supporting me the whole way.”

Gulvas and Simpson have both developed significantly over the past few years; the seniors will start in on the upcoming outdoor season as Iowa’s top-two all-time weight throwers.

Their success originated from humble beginnings.

There was not a single thrower on the Iowa women’s team the year before Gulvas and Simpson arrived. Assistant coach Scott Cappos said the two would be the foundation of the women’s throws — Cappos’ hopeful anticipation has since then motivated them “to succeed at a high level,” Simpson said.

The duo continually fought to prove as deserving enough to be the foundation of the program. After five years of hard work, they have certainly proven themselves.

Last year, Gulvas set the school record in weight throw during the indoor season, and Simpson broke the hammer-throw record during the 2013 outdoor season.

“Many of our school record holders came with modest credentials and have developed,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “Ashlyn was not a weight thrower coming to Iowa — she had never thrown a weight in her life.”

In a similar fashion to her roommate, Simpson had never heard of the hammer throw before coming to Iowa City.

This learning curve has caused the pair to learn the importance of hard work and strong leadership; they have also learned the value of supportive teammates.

“I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to have [Gulvas] as a teammate who knows my goals and has held me to them,” Simpson said. “Although she has been such a great part of track and field for me, I’m even more thankful for the lifelong friendship.”

Like many senior athletes, Gulvas and Simpson will soon face a transition away from a life of organized athletics, which can be a big adjustment.

“It’s not like I play a sport like basketball or volleyball where I can play just about anywhere; I know once my season ends here at Iowa that I’ll never throw a weight or hammer ever again,” Gulvas said. “And that’s what I will miss the most.”

For Simpson, adjusting to more free time may be the hardest to get used to; however, a tough transition is the least of her worries.

But before they shift into life after graduation, Gulvas and Simpson are preparing for the upcoming outdoor season—and they are certain their last season will be the best one yet. 

“We’re very ready to lead the way this outdoor season in the hammer,” Gulvas said.

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