April 28, 2016
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
By CHRIS BREWER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Musco Twilight XVII was billed and celebrated as Senior Night for the University of Iowa track and field team, but by the end of the day, it was a freshman who stole the show.
Briana Guillory, who competed in the 100 meters for the first time in her collegiate career, became the fastest woman in program history when she crossed the finish in 11.35, breaking the meet record by .06 seconds, and topping the school record by .05 seconds.
“It feels great,” Guillory said. “I just appreciate all the love my team has given me for it.”
Racing on the back side of the track with a slight wind at her back, Guillory was the first of three Hawkeyes to post season-bests in the 100 meters. Freshman Taylor Chapman placed second in 11.60, and sophomore Jalynn Roberts-Lewis placed fourth in 11.87. A fourth Hawkeye, senior Lake Kwaza, was scratched from the race and sat idly as Guillory raced past what was once her school record.
It marked the third time in 53 weeks the record has either been matched or surpassed. That is quite a stretch considering it had previously lived for 30 years without being touched. Vivien McKenzie set the mark at 11.45 in 1985, and it stood until Kwaza ran 11.40 at the 2015 Mt. SAC Relays.
Six weeks later, Kwaza matched her record at the 2015 NCAA West Regional. Eleven months later, she passed it on to someone else — someone who was quick to acknowledge the assist.
“I have to give kudos to Lake because I’ve been working on my block starts with her,” Guillory said. “My block starts have been really bad, and (Saturday) it was good, so I have her to thank for that.”
Guillory figured she had outperformed her training, a period that saw her timed in the 11.8-range, but was surprised to see a half-second shaved from the clock.
“It’s my first race of the season and I went from 11.8 to 11.3,” Guillory said. “I had no idea what time to expect (after the race), but my friends looked at me and said, ‘Oh my gosh, Bri.’ That’s when I started feeling the excitement.”
“It was an amazing effort,” said UI director of track and field Joey Woody. “She is such a super talent. She has wanted to run the 100 all year, so I guess she knew something we didn’t.”
In her first year on campus, Guillory has made a home for herself on Iowa’s all-time top-10 lists. She ranks sixth in the indoor 400 meters and seventh in the indoor 200 meters. She also sits among program leaders in the outdoor 200 and 400 meters, and is a part of three school-record relays — the 400-meter relay, and both indoor and outdoor 1,600-meter relays.
Guillory shares the Big Ten’s top spot in the 100 meters and ranks sixth in the 200 and 11th in the 400 meters. She competes on the 1,600-meter relay that ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten, and on the 400-meter relay that ranks No. 2.
Competing in all five events is an impossible task, but her versatility gives the Hawkeyes options.
“She’s special between the 100 through the 400,” Woody said, “so we’ll see what happens here in the next few weeks. I think she is going to do big things.”
Guillory and the Hawkeyes return to the track this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Drake Relays.