Both the Iowa men’s and women’s track & field teams ended the season with appearances at the NCAA Championships last week.
Men’s Track & Field:
The Iowa men’s track & field team ended its season with a 17th-place finish on June 9 in Eugene, Oregon, at the NCAA Championships.
Iowa racked up 15 points with major contributions from senior Aaron Mallett, sophomore Reno Tuufuli, and the 4×400-meter relay team (freshman Dejuan Frye, sophomore Mar’yea Harris, freshman Collin Hofacker, and freshman Emmanual Ogwo).
Not only were they recognized for their contributions, each was also named first team All-American.
The 4×400 squad placed third overall and placed themselves in the school’s record books with a time of 3:01.91. The squad has a roster of all underclassmen and even made a critical alteration that put Ogwo as the anchor for the first time this season.
This is the highest finish ever for Iowa in the 4×400.
“Coach Woody told me yesterday,” Ogwo said in a release. “A light bulb clicked in his head and he said, ‘How do you feel about running on the anchor?’ We knew if Mar’yea got in the second leg and ran his 43.9 split then we knew we would be top three in the race.”
The Hawkeyes are no strangers to breaking school records; this is the second-straight meet that they have one-upped the record books.
At the NCAA qualifier in Austin, Texas, Iowa ran a sub of 3:03.00 to take their heat and run the second fastest time in their region.
Mallett went into the 110-meter hurdles as one of the favorites. He finished fourth overall at 13.65.
“I was aiming higher,” he said in a release. “I went out there and put my best foot forward, and Coach Woody did everything he could to get me prepared.”
Tuufuli won the discus in the West Preliminary and was put to the test in the finals. He ended in fifth at 59.81 meters.
Overall Iowa placed the highest of all of the Big Ten teams, 1 point ahead of Penn State. Florida ended up taking the title with a team score of 61.5 points.
Iowa’s Jalynn Roberts-Lewis competes during a relay at Drake Stadium during the Drake Relays on Friday, April 28, 2017. Purdue came away with the win. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)
Women’s Track & Field:
After watching Iowa’s men’s track & field finish their season, junior Brittany Brown and freshman Laulauga Tausaga took the field as the final two competitors for Iowa.
Brown placed seventh in the 200, and Tausaga finished seventh in discus to lead Iowa to a 48th place with 4 points.
Not only did Brown finish with a 23.02 to get her a top-10 finish in the 200, she is the first Hawkeye in school history to have first team All-American honors in the 200 meters.
“It’s amazing, and it’s a great feeling to be the first All-American in the 200,” Brown said in a release.
One would say that Brown might have finished higher if an Oregon runner hadn’t fallen in her lane. That ultimately might have cost her a higher overall finish and possibly team points.
“I am a stronger finisher, and so I was picking up speed,” Brown said in a release. “That was shocking, and I thought I was going to get DQ’d. I hope she is OK, and I wish it would have gone better, but it is what it is.”
Tausaga ended her freshman season with numerous accomplishments, including proving that she can be one of the best discus throwers in the country.
The freshman tallied a final mark of 55.71meters to earn herself seventh place and first team All-American honors. This is the first time a freshman has won All-American honors since Brown in 2014.
“I am really proud of this season,” Tausaga said in a release. “I can definitely compete with these girls. It was an off day for me, but I know that if I stay in my lane and not worry about everybody else, then I can get a higher spot on that podium.”