Relay Resets School Record in Season Debut

Mar. 19, 2016

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TEMPE, Ariz. — One school record and three event titles concluded the Baldy Castillo Invitational for the University of Iowa track and field team Saturday at the Sun Angel Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University. No team scores were kept.

The women’s 400-meter relay of senior Lake Kwaza, junior Elexis Guster, freshman Briana Guillory, and junior Alexis Hernandez bested the school record in a winning time of 44.04. The school record-setting relay operated with three of the four members who set the previous school record of 44.51 in 2014, which included All-American Brittany Brown.


“It was an exciting performance, and I think it’s only going to get better from here,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody. “We all believe that Brittany is one of the best sprinters in the country, but that doesn’t take away from what these girls did today. The relay has lofty goals — not only to get to the NCAA Championships but to make that final. We’ll look at what we need to do in order to progress with that relay, but it was definitely a good start to be able to break that school record even without Brittany on there.”

Madison Rouw also started her season on a high note with a win and a collegiate-best performance in the women’s high jump. The junior passed three heights on her first attempt before clearing the winning mark of 5-8 3/4 (1.75m) on her second try. She enters Iowa’s all-time list in sixth place.

Graduate student Khanishah Williams matched that height on her third attempt to finish runner-up. The pair were the only two competitors remaining after 5-5 (1.65m).

“Both of them had a good indoor season,” Woody said. “They jumped well but not good enough to score at the indoor conference meet, so I think this is a good sign of where we thought they would be at this time of the year. We’re excited to see that they’re progressing well and putting up some bigger marks.”

Returning to the track, junior Carter Lilly tacked on another Hawkeye win in the men’s 800 meters. The Sioux City, Iowa, native climbed to sixth in school history following a personal-best 1:49.00.

In the women’s 200 meters, Guillory (5th/23.46), Kwaza (6th/23.48) and Guster (9th/23.63) each posted marks that rank within Iowa’s top-10 all-time. Guillory ran a collegiate best which puts her third in school history, while Guster’s personal best ranks eighth. Kwaza’s time would rank fourth at Iowa.

“We’ve always known that Guster had good speed,” Woody said. “Today is a good sign that she can compete in that race at the conference meet. She hasn’t raced the 200 meters that often, but she definitely has the ability. I think she’s someone who will try to get into the 22-second range by the end of the season.”

Freshman Christian Brissett opened his season leading Iowa in the 100 (6th/10.43) and 200 meters (4th/20.98), while also running a leg on the seventh-fastest 400-meter relay in program history. The quartet of senior Brendan Thompson, Brissett, juniors James Harrington and Aaron Mallett took second in 39.73.

“Christian had a great day today,” Woody said. “Having a freshman come out and put up some big performances is always a great sign. He ran a great leg on the relay and came back to run big PRs in the 100 and 200 meters. He’ll probably be ranked pretty high in the Big Ten to start the outdoor season.

“Our men’s 400-meter relay ran a great time today; one of the top times we’ve ever run, and that was without Vinnie Saucer, Jr.,” Woody said. “I think the same thing as with the women’s relay; once we put Vinnie on there, we can much faster and set ourselves up to get to that national meet and do some big things.”

The Hawkeyes split competitors for the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Florida, and the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California, from April 1-2.

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