April 2, 2016
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Iowa redshirt freshman Reno Tuufuli made an emphatic statement in the men’s discus to start the final day of the 72nd-annual Pepsi Florida Relays, becoming the top freshman in the country and the fifth-ranked overall.
The Hawkeyes then capitalized with two school record-setting relay performances Saturday at the Percy Beard Track complex on the University of Florida’s campus. No team scores were kept.
Improving by 6.62 meters on his opening throw in the invite division, Tuufuli (3rd/199-02, 60.71m) is the first Hawkeye to post an Iowa all-time mark (4th) in the event since former school record-holder Gabe Hull in 2014.
“Reno kept his composure today even with the rainy conditions,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “It ended up being a great discus competition and he PR’ed on every throw. Today was an amazing start to his outdoor season. Reno got the day started with a great performance, and that just carried over to all the other events.”
The women’s 1,600-meter relay of senior MonTayla Holder, freshman Briana Guillory, and juniors Alexis Hernandez and Elexis Guster took a step in the right direction when the quartet snapped the previous school record (3:34.83) in 3:33.25. The relay’s time would rank seventh nationally and first in the Big Ten.
The makeup of the 2014 school record-setting quartet included the three veteran runners — Guster, Hernandez, and Holder — plus senior anchor Lake Kwaza.
“We know we still have a lot more to give in that relay,” Woody said. “The women had a great day today, but if you had up all their best splits, we’re about a 2- to 3-second better team. It’s just a matter of putting all the splits together at the right time. They are definitely confident in what they can do. They know they can win the Big Ten outdoor title. They know they can be national finalists.”
The men’s 800-meter relay of senior Brendan Thompson, freshman Christian Brissett, and juniors James Harrington and Jared Ganschow broke the second school record of the day, clocking 1:23.36 to replace the previous school record of 1:24.85 set in 2009.
“Great competition is going to bring the best out of you, and our athletes definitely showed up today,” Woody said. “I was really proud with how everybody came out and competed.”
The Jim Click Shootout in Tucson, Arizona, is next for the Hawkeyes from April 8-9.