Iowa track’s Kimbro rises to the competition

Jenny Kimbro, the Hawkeyes’ multi-event star, continues turning heads in her second year at Iowa.


Ben Allan Smith

From left: Iowa’s Tria Seawater-Simmons, Minnesota State’s Alexis Smith, and Iowa’s Jenny Kimbro compete in the women’s 100 meter hurdles during the 19th annual Musco Twilight meet at the Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track in Iowa City on Thursday, April 12. Kimbro finished first with the time of 13.77.

Sydney Becker, Sports Reporter

Jenny Kimbro, a multi-event track and field star, holds the No. 2 all-time Hawkeye position in both the pentathlon and the 60-meter hurdles, but she’s been blowing minds for years.

The junior from Catlin, Illinois, spent her time in track, softball, basketball, and volleyball throughout her four years at Salt Fork High, but track and field seemed to be her greatest strength, eventually taking her to Iowa City to become a Hawkeye.

In her senior year of high school, Kimbro qualified for 11 events in the Class 1A state track and field meet. She placed eight times, also taking the state championship in four events.

“I knew it would be a big transition going to college, but mostly, I was just excited,” she said.

Heading into her first season at Iowa, she was set to be a hurdler who would catch the eyes of fans. However, it wasn’t long before Director of Track and Field Joey Woody moved her into practices for multi-events.

“She had a lot of potential to be a multi-event athlete, and she came in with an open mind,” Woody said.

It didn’t take her long to thrive in this area, placing sixth in her first Big Ten Championships indoor pentathlon and seventh in the outdoor heptathlon.

“At first I was a little nervous, because it was out of my comfort zone,” Kimbro said. “I’d never run anything over a 400 meter before, but I was really excited. It took a little bit of adjusting. Freshman year was a big learning year for me.”

The women’s multi-event section contains a 200-meter sprint, 800-meter run, 60-meter hurdles, 100-meter hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put, and javelin throw between the pentathlon and the heptathlon. 

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Before joining the multi-event team, Kimbro had never had the opportunity to toss a shot or a javelin, making the transition into college-level athletics much more intense.

“It’s really exciting and has been a lot of fun,” she said. “Being able to train with [multi-event athlete] Tria [Simmons] every day is really cool.”

Simmons has worked throughout the season with Kimbro in the multi-events, along with competing by her side when she placed second in the all-time pentathlon score.

As Kimbro continues into the second half of the indoor season, she’s more in tune with team goals than personal ones.

“Mostly I just want to be able to score as many points as I can for the team when it comes to Big Ten Championships,” Kimbro said. “That’s the goal this year: to win as a team.”

Humble as she is, Kimbro sits in the middle of the indoor season with time to improve on her personal marks as well as put some points on the table for the team.

With numerous areas of strength and versatility, she has shown she is a tough competitor with room for improvement.

Kimbro has just one more opportunity in the indoor season left when Iowa heads to South Bend, Indiana, for the Alex Wilson Invitational. Shortly after, the championship season will be right in front of her with the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Feb. 22-23 and the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 8-9.

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