The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa’s ‘quiet competitor’ Chloe Larsen makes some noise

Larsen lets her history-making times speak louder than her words.
Grace Smith
Iowa’s Chloe Larsen runs during the Jimmy Grant Alumni Invitational at the Hawkeye Indoor Track Facility on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. The Hawkeyes hosted Western Illinois and Wisconsin, competing in events including the pentathlon, weight throwing, field events, and various running events at the indoor track.

Three years ago, mid-distance track and field runner Chloe Larsen committed to Iowa as an underdog. In the last two seasons, Larsen has established herself as a “quiet competitor” on the mid-distance squad and women’s 4×400 meter relay.

If it wasn’t for Larsen’s older sister, Abby, her story as a Hawkeye might have never been written.

Larsen described her hometown of Waunakee, Wisconsin, as a small town where everyone knows each other, ultimately allowing Larsen to be referred to as “Abby’s little sister.” Naturally, Larsen was encouraged by coaches and teachers to follow in her sister’s footsteps and compete in volleyball and track and field.

During Larsen’s first year on the track team, the coaches took notice of her 4×400-meter relay splits.

“Everyone had to try the 4×400 at least once,” Larsen said. “I just happened to split pretty well.”

Though Larsen provided her team with a strong leg in the 4×400-meter relay, she didn’t compete in the open 400-meter race until her sophomore year.

During her second year in the sport, Larsen helped her team capture the track and field state title. Her performances grabbed the attention of a few college recruiters, including an invitation to Iowa’s junior day.

“It was a really cool experience, but I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to run in college,” Larsen said.

Larsen was intimidated by the expectations and commitment level of Division I track and field. Her parents encouraged her to build confidence and continue contacting coaches.

Following this advice proved to be one of the best decisions in Larsen’s career.

Larsen immediately connected with Jason Wakenight, Iowa’s recruiting coordinator and mid-distance coach.

“I met with [Wakenight], and he was really selling me on the University of Iowa,” Larsen recalled.

Despite their bond and Larsen’s love for Iowa, she didn’t make the final decision about running in college until December of her senior year of high school.

“She wasn’t highly recruited, but that wasn’t because we didn’t think she was a good athlete,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “She came in under the radar.”

Nevertheless, Larsen found her home in the Black and Gold.

“I really can’t imagine what our [mid-distance] group would be like without [Larsen,]” second-year mid-distance runner Audrey Biermann said.

Biermann and Woody highlighted the gap Larsen fills as a leader on the mid-distance squad.

“When we have hard workouts and stuff, she’s always trying to push us through,” Biermann said of Larsen’s leadership.

“She’s just become a natural leader in that group because of her work ethic,” Woody added.

Larsen leads the Hawkeyes on the stat sheets as well. She is known for her ability to run multiple races in one meet and deliver consistent performances.

“She’s resilient, so she can handle a lot of races,” Woody said. “She’s PRing in everything.”

During the Hawkeyes’ first road test of the season on Feb. 2-3, Larsen wrote herself into the school history books in every event she competed in.

Over the weekend, Larsen became the third-fastest Hawkeye woman to run the 600-meter race with a time of 1:28.31. In the 400-meter race, Larsen earned a new personal best of 54.20 and climbed to 10th in school history. In the 4×400, Larsen and her teammates ran a 3:34.24 and are now ranked sixth all-time.

Despite her apparent success, the Hawkeyes love Larsen even more for who she is off the track.

“She’s just a sincere person who cares about other athletes,” Woody said. “She is going to ask how her teammates are doing. She’s not boastful. That’s the type of person you want in your program.”

Larsen is described as quiet by her coaches and teammates — a quality she has turned into a threat.

Larsen isn’t known as a big name coming into races and often sneaks up on her competition. No matter who she runs against, she is unafraid of the challenge. Larsen’s shy dominance is an unlikely quality in a fierce competitor, but it is effective.

“She’s become somebody that’s like a quiet competitor,” Woody said. “She’s fearless.”

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About the Contributors
Mia Boulton
Mia Boulton, Sports Reporter
Mia Boulton is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication, as well as exploring a possible double major in Sports Media. She works at the Daily Iowan as a sports reporter. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Mia has been a photographer for her hometown newspaper, The Record.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.