Heims, Mitchell representing UNI globally


UNI Track and Field is on the global stage after Jessica Heims’ world record and with freshman sprinter Onal Mitchell set to compete at the IAAF World Track and Field Championship in Doha, Qatar, on Oct. 5.

Heims, a junior, has represented UNI with excellence.  The Panther broke her own discus world record (34.15 meters) with a throw of 34.4 meters at the 2019 Parapan American games in Lima, Peru, to earn gold.

“It’s a really exciting feeling,” Heims said.  “It kind of makes you thirsty for more, knowing that you can PR and get a new record.”

Being a part of her first Parapan American Games has been a dream come true for the Cedar Rapids Prairie grad as she envisioned standing on the podium and hearing the national anthem as a kid.

“I grew up watching everyone on TV saying, ‘Hold up the flag!,’ and that was my first time being able to do that on an international stage,” Heims said.  “I don’t think my heart rate went back to normal for about an hour or two.”

Putting Heims’ world record into perspective, the women’s college and Olympic discus weighs 2.2 pounds, and Heims threw 34.4 meters which is equivalent to 37.6 yards.  After a historic achievement to take gold at the largest Parapan games in history, Heims still strives for more.

“I came away a little disappointed in my technique of the throws,” Heims said. “That just made me excited to know that I can throw a good throw with poor technique, which means I can throw even better once I get back to training.”

Heims will now begin training for the 2019 World Para Athletics Championship, which take place in November in Dubai. 

“We kind of focus in more as we get closer,” Heims said. “I do more event specific training, and we have a lot shorter intervals of training.”

Onal Mitchell joins Heims as the second track and field athlete to compete on a world stage this season. The freshman sprinter will be competing as a member of the national team for his home country of Trinidad and Tobago, an island off the coast of Venezuela. Running as a member of the 4×400 meter relay team, Mitchell is one of nine team members representing Trinidad and Tobago at the championship.

From Iowa to Peru, Dubai, Qatar and back, the UNI brand is being represented with greatness.