May 18, 2014
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The University of Iowa track and field team captured four gold, three silver, and three bronze medals on the final day of the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Iowa women tallied 86 points to tie for fourth place marking their highest finish in a Big Ten outdoor meet since 1994. The Iowa men finished seventh overall with 66 points.
“A tremendous amount of credit goes to the student-athletes, the assistant coaches, and the support staff for this total team effort,” said head coach Layne Anderson. “It was an outstanding weekend, and we are all very proud to be Hawkeyes.”
The Hawkeyes started the afternoon with back-to-back first-place finishes in the 400-meter relay. The women’s team of sophomore Lake Kwaza, freshman Elexis Guster, sophomore MonTayla Holder, and freshman Brittany Brown clocked a time of 44.62 to grab gold. This marks the first time the Hawkeyes have won the 400-meter relay since 1997 (Underwood, Cole, Grant, Wynter; 46.53).
The Iowa men’s team of junior Keith Brown, sophomore James Harrington, senior Tevin-Cee Mincy, and freshman O’Shea Wilson clocked a season best time of 39.35, a time four one-hundredths of a second shy of matching the school record (39.31). The Hawkeyes claimed the 4X100-meter title a year ago when the team of Jordan Mullen, Justin Austin, Ethan Holmes, and Josh Larney clocked a time of 40.20.
Guster ran to a first-place finish in the women’s 400 meters. Guster clocked a personal-best time of 52.77, a time that ranks fifth on Iowa’s all-time list. She is the first Hawkeye to win the women’s 400 meters since Kineke Alexander, the current school record holder (51.35), took the gold in 2007 (52.15).
“I wasn’t really expecting that but it feels amazing,” said Guster. “I’m just happy to be doing it for the team.”
Khanishah Williams grabbed gold in the women’s high jump. The junior cleared the 5-9 ¼ (1.76m) mark. This marks the first time a Hawkeye has won the high jump since school record holder (6-1 ¼; 1.86m) Peaches Roach took the title in 2007 (6-0; 1.82m).
“This win means a lot to me, especially after not competing in indoors and coming off a knee injury,” said Williams. “I had some really good practices coming in and knew that I’d be able to conquer the event. I just felt really good coming into this weekend.”
Brittany Brown broke a 10-year-old school record in the women’s 200 meters. Brown crossed the line in a personal best time of 23.45 to finish second. Sheliene Williams set the previous school record of 23.50 in 2004. Kwaza finished fifth in the event when she crossed the line in 23.84. Her time ties for the 10th best on Iowa’s all-time list.
Sam Joens used a personal-best performance to grab the silver medal in the men’s javelin. Joens recorded a toss of 210-1 (64.03m). His mark ranks fifth all-time at Iowa.
Sophomore Klyvens Delaunay and junior Babatunde Amosu scored a combined 11 points for Hawkeye men in the triple jump. Klyvens claimed the sliver medal (8 points) with a leap of 51-4 ½ (15.66m), while Amosu finished sixth (3 points) with a leap of 50-4 ¾ (15.36m).
Brittany Brown clocked a personal-best time of 11.61 to finish third (6 points) in the women’s 100 meters. Her time ranks eighth all-time at Iowa. Kwaza finished sixth (3 points) in the event when she crossed the line in 11.90.
Wilson added 11 points to the men’s team total with personal-best performances in the men’s 100 and 200 meters. Wilson recorded a time of 10.48 to finish third in the 100 before finishing fourth in the 200 in 21.16. Harrington finished sixth (3 points) in the 200 meters when he crossed the line in 21.44. Freshman Aaron Mallett finished sixth in the men’s 110-meter hurdles when he posted a time of 14.11.
Holder claimed the bronze medal in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. Holder crossed the line in a personal-best time of 57.81. Her time ranks third all-time at Iowa.
Zinnia Miller’s fourth-place finish in the women’s triple jump added five points to the women’s team total. The senior recorded a personal-best leap of 42-0 ½ (12.81m), a mark that ranks second on Iowa’s all-time list.
Sophomore Dakotah Goodell and senior Courtney Fritz finished fifth (4 points) and eighth (1 point), respectively, in the women’s discus. Goodell posted a mark of 160-4 (48.87m), while Fritz recorded a toss of 153-5 (46.76m).
The women’s 1,600-meter relay team capped off the day with a fifth-place finish. The team of Guster, Holder, freshman Alexis Hernandez, and Kwaza crossed the line in 3:37.95. Their time ranks eighth all-time at Iowa.
“I thought both teams were sensational today,” said director of track and field Larry Wieczorek. “The women had an outstanding day with the best finish in 20 years, and the men outscored what we had down on paper. The overall environment of Iowa track and field is really positive right now.”
The first round of the NCAA Championships is set for May 29-31 in Fayetteville, Ark.
* — school record