Embracing these qualities is a joint goal Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa State Athletics Department equally share, and each year 16 Cyclone student-athletes (one from each sport) are honored for their dedication on the Farm Strong Squad.
"The values and attributes of farmers and Iowans are exemplified daily by Iowa State's student-athletes," said ISU Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard. "We are thrilled to again partner with the Iowa Farm Bureau to salute these outstanding Cyclones for their Farm Strong character, work ethic and dedication to academic and athletic excellence."
Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau president, is excited to announce this year's team.
"We are proud to recognize the exceptional Cyclone student-athletes who have been honored as members of this year's Farm Strong squad," Hill said. "These hard-working young men and women share the work ethic and dedication of Iowa farmers and set a positive example of their teams and community.
"Just like Iowa farmers, these student-athletes continue to put their best foot forward when confronted with challenges, while rising up as effective leaders with the values and virtues that reflect what being Farm Strong is all about."
The 2021-22 honorees include….
Gabe Kalscheur, Men's Basketball, Edina, Minn. – Gabe, a first-year player and senior on the Iowa State men's basketball program, joined the Cyclones as a transfer after three seasons at Minnesota. His impact as a leader is well-established and provides the Cyclones with a trustworthy and experienced player entering head coach T.J. Otzelberger's first season at the helm. Gabe was Minnesota's Sportsmanship Award honoree. He has been active in the community, volunteering at Grace's Amazing Lemonade Race and helping the Minneapolis community by boxing food for people who lost their homes and stores during the civil unrest in the summer of 2020.
Ashley Joens, Women's Basketball, Iowa City, Iowa - Ashley is widely known as one of the nation's top women's basketball players, earning All-America honors by numerous publications in 2020-21. She was the recipient of the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award, which honors the nation's best small forward, and earned unanimous All-Big 12 honors for the second time in her career. In addition to her success on the court, Joens excels academically, being a member of the Academic All-Big 12 first team in 2021. She is a relentless competitor, and most importantly, embodies everything about the Iowa State Way.
Thomas Pollard, Men's Cross Country, Ames, Iowa – A multiple-time team captain, in 2021 Thomas became the first male in Big 12 history to earn All-Big 12 Cross Country honors five times in his standout career with his seventh-place finish at the Big 12 Championship. In the classroom, Pollard has already earned his bachelor's degree from ISU and is an eight-time Academic All-Big 12 first team and six-time USTFCCCA All-Academic honoree.
Cailie Logue, Women's Cross Country, Erie, Kan. – A 10-time Big 12 champion across track and cross country and three-time Big 12 Women's Cross Country Runner of the Year, Cailie has also earned three All-America honors in her storied Iowa State career. She qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 10,000m run via her personal best 32:19.37. A 2021 CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American, Logue is a six-time USTFCCCA All-Academic and five-time Academic All-Big 12 first-team honoree.
Trevor Downing, Football, Creston, Iowa – Trevor is one of Iowa State's top offensive linemen, starting 12 games as a freshman in 2019 en route to second-team Freshman All-America accolades and Honorable Mention All-Big 12 recognition. An injury in the season-opener of 2020 sidelined him for the remainder of the season, but he has returned healthy and is a key cog along ISU's 2021 offensive line. Trevor, who was an Academic All-Big 12 second-team recipient in 2019, grew up on a family farm and regularly returns home to assist his family any chance he can.
Frank Lindwall, Men's Golf, Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Frank has been a staple in the Iowa State lineup for four seasons, competing in 109 rounds while compiling a 74.08 stroke average. The two-time U.S. Amateur qualifier is also a standout in the classroom. Frank is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 first-team honoree and two-time GCAA All-American Scholar recipient. As one of the team's leaders, Frank acts with integrity and has a strong character. He's demonstrated kindness and goodwill to teammates, coaches and others in the community.
Taglao Jeeravivitaporn, Women's Golf, Bangkok, Thailand – Taglao enters her fourth season as one of Iowa State's top golfers. She was second on the team in stroke average in each of the last two seasons, averaging below 74.0 strokes both years. Taglao has ended the last two seasons ranked in the nation's Top 200 and owns the fourth-best career stroke average in school history (74.28). An Academic All-Big 12 second-team member in 2020-21, Taglao has shown all of the traits of a valuable leader on the team according to head coach Christie Martens and has established a strong work ethic that others on the team have emulated.
Sophia Steinmeyer, Gymnastics, West Lawn, Pa. – Sophia has competed in 45 events for the Cyclones over four years, including every meet over the last three seasons. She has a career-high on the vault with a 9.925, while finishing tied for 44th nationally with a NQS of 9.881. Sophia was a 2021 Academic All-Big 12 first-team selection and has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll four times. Sophia suffered an injury in the final event last season and will return for her COVID "Super Senior" year in 2022.
Claudia Najera, Soccer, St. Charles, Ill. – Claudia has appeared in 30 games over her first two years at Iowa State, drawing 22 starts. During her sophomore season, she played 1,057 minutes as a midfielder. Claudia attempted eight shots, including three on goal. She led the Cyclones with four assists as a freshman and was named to the 2020 Academic All-Big 12 first team.
Mikayla Ramos, Softball, Riverside, Calif. – Mikayla has appeared in 124 career games, including 101 starts. She set an Iowa State record in 2021 with 57 RBI, as she batted .365 with 65 hits and 39 runs. Her 15 doubles led the team, while her 13 home runs were the fifth-most in a single-season in ISU history, and her 29 walks were the second-most in a single-season at ISU. Mikayla was named to the NFCA All-Midwest Region first team and All-Big 12 second team in 2021. She is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection, earning second-team honors in 2020 and first-team recognition in 2021. She was named to the 2019 All-Big 12 freshman team.
Lucia Rizzo, Swimming and Diving, Woodbury, Minn. - Lucia was voted by her teammates as one of team captains for the 2021-22 season. She earned all-conference honors last season by placing third in both the 200 and 400 IM races at the Big 12 Championship, while setting the school record in both events because of years of dedication, hard work and perseverance. She is also a two-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 first team in addition to her success in the pool.
Chie Kezuka, Tennis, Fujisawa, Japan –Chie has played a significant role in the national rise of the Iowa State tennis program. The sophomore posted an 11-7 singles record during the dual season, recording a team-best five match-clinching wins, including the deciding point in the Big 12 Tournament against No. 29 Texas Tech and the NCAA Tournament against No. 24 South Carolina. Chie also clinched the Cyclones' first-ever win against TCU. She went 8-5 at No. 5 singles and also had a winning record (3-2) when forced to move up in the lineup to No. 4 singles. Chie was an Academic All-Big 12 first-team honoree and twice been named an ISU Scholar-Athlete and an ITA Scholar-Athlete.
Wesley Kiptoo, Men's Track & Field, Marakwet, Kenya – Wesley won the NCAA Indoor 5,000m title in 2021, running to a meet and school record 13:23.77 in the final. At the 2021 Big 12 Outdoor Championships, Wesley became the first male in conference history to win three individual titles at one championship, winning the 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m and 10,000m all in meet record times. In the classroom, Wesley was a 2021 USTFCCCA All-Academic recipient.
Zakiyah Amos, Women's Track & Field, Houston, Texas – Zakiyah has scored points for Iowa State at the past two Big 12 Indoor Championships in the 600-yard run and was a member of a pair of top-three relay teams at the 2021 Drake Relays. During the 2021 outdoor season, she clocked a personal-best 55.06 in the 400m dash. In the classroom, Zakiyah has been on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll each of the past three semesters.
Eleanor Holthaus, Volleyball, Richmond, Minn. – A two-time AVCA All-Midwest Region pick and two-time All-Big 12 first-team member, Eleanor has been Iowa State's leader in attack each of the past two seasons, making herself one of the league's top hitters while transitioning into a six-rotation player who can contribute on either the right or the left. Across her three years at ISU, Eleanor has 827 kills, 460 digs and 200 blocks. An Academic All-Big 12 first-team honoree, Eleanor has balanced her time in the classroom and on the court with work in the community. The Iowa State coaching staff believes she is a leader with a strong work ethic and is committed to her team, university and community.
David Carr, Wrestling, Canton, Ohio – David completed one of the greatest individual seasons in the history of Cyclone wrestling in 2020-21. He finished with an unblemished 20-0 mark, winning the 157-pound NCAA title to become Iowa State's first undefeated champion since 2011. David is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree and a two-time NWCA Scholar All-American. An executive on Iowa State's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, David takes initiative in addressing student-athlete concerns and is an active volunteer in the community.
Article originally published on Cyclones.com.