Feb. 5, 2016
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — After opening her season with a pair of personal bests at the Razorback Invitational last weekend, University of Iowa sophomore Jahisha Thomas returned this week to break the women’s long jump school record on the first day of the Meyo Invitational on Friday.
Thomas jumped 20-4 ½ (6.21m) to break the previous school record set by Zinnia Miller in 2014 (20-4 ¼, 6.20m) en route to earning a second-place finish overall. Her mark would slot second in the Big Ten and tie for 20th nationally.
“Jahisha is starting to put things together,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “She had a slow start at the beginning of the season because she was battling a small injury, so it is exciting to see what she has done in back-to-back weeks after opening last weekend in both the hurdles and the long jump. She has a lot more in the tank.”
Thomas also set a career best in the 60-meter hurdles when she crossed the finish in 8.51 to qualify for Saturday’s semi-final. That time moves her to sixth all-time at Iowa.
“I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks as she continues to build in those event areas,” Woody said. “She did not have a great race today based on her mechanics going into the first hurdle, but she knows how to correct that and I think she will be ready to run around an 8.30 tomorrow.”
Thomas was one of seven Hawkeyes to notch collegiate bests during opening action.
Senior Will Teubel won the men’s 600 meters in a lifetime-best 1:17.55, while freshman Pavlo Hutsalyuk (3rd/1:19.00) and sophomore Ryan Dorman (6th/1:19.91) also posted collegiate bests in the event. Teubel continues to stand second on Iowa’s all-time list and would hold the same position on the conference leaderboard.
Senior MonTayla Holder’s season-best 1:30.09 (3rd) would top the Big Ten as she led the Iowa women in the 600 meters. On her heels was junior Mahnee Watts (4th) in a collegiate-best 1:30.83. Watts moves to fifth in program history.
“I was excited for Will, MonTayla, and Mahnee,” Woody said. “All three of them competed at an extremely high level.
“Even for Pavlo to run 1:19 flat is impressive. I remember when (All-American) Erik Sowinski was a freshman. He didn’t run 1:19 until the Big Ten Championships that year, so it was exciting to see a young guy put up a big mark. He and Will have set themselves up well for the 800 meters tomorrow.”
In the short sprints, senior Lake Kwaza tied her 60-meter school record — which she co-owns with junior Brittany Brown — when she crossed the finish in 7.41. She enters Saturday’s race with the second-fastest preliminary time.
Kwaza made a final appearance in the 200 meters where she took second in 24.02.
“We were thinking about holding Lake out of the competition this weekend, but sometimes it is good for sprinters to keep building on their rhythm,” Woody said. “We felt like she was ready to put things together, and today was a good sign of that in both races.
“I definitely think she can break that school record; she just has to focus on herself and she has been doing a better job of that these last couple of weeks.”
The Meyo Invitational continues Saturday at 8:45 a.m. (CT) in the Loftus Sports Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.
“I am excited about the start of the weekend,” Woody said. “The 400s and the 4x400s are going to be exciting on the track and we still have big events to come in the field events, so it should be a fun Saturday.”
Additional Personal Bests:
Women’s 60 meters:
So. Jalynn Roberts-Lewis (7.67)