May 9, 2016
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The University of Iowa track and field team competes at the 2016 Big Ten Outdoor Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska, this week. Competition begins Friday at noon (CT) with the multi-events and continues through Sunday. The three-day event takes place at the Ed Weir Stadium on the University of Nebraska campus.
Live results will be available on the track and field schedule page on hawkeyesports.com. Follow @IowaXC_TF on Twitter for updates and relevant statistics on the team throughout the weekend.
B1G ON BTN
BTN provides live coverage on BTN2Go of the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Sunday, May 15, at 1:40 p.m. (CT). The championships will air later on BTN at 6 p.m.
The Big Ten features two nationally-ranked teams on the men’s and women’s side. Minnesota (14) and Penn State (15) lead the men’s field, while Wisconsin (21) and Nebraska (24) are ranked for the women.
The Hawkeye men return six individual point-scorers from last year’s championships. Junior All-American Aaron Mallett is the defending Big Ten champion in the 110-meter hurdles, while junior Vinnie Saucer, Jr. finished runner-up in the 100 meters. Junior All-American Mitch Wolff placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles, while seniors Sam Joens (javelin/7th), Kevin Spejcher (high jump/7th), and James Harrington (100 meters/8th) also return.
For the women, junior All-American Elexis Guster won her second Big Ten 400-meter title at last year’s championships. Senior MonTayla Holder recorded a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles, while senior Lake Kwaza took fifth in the 100 meters. Sophomore Jahisha Thomas (6th) and senior Dakotah Goodell (7th) added points in the long jump and javelin, respectively.
FROSH LEADS BIG TEN
Redshirt freshman Reno Tuufuli has led the Big Ten in the men’s discus for five straight weeks. The Las Vegas native recorded a collegiate-best throw of 199-2 (60.71m) at the Florida Relays on April 2, becoming the top-ranked freshman in the country and eighth overall.
B1G SPRINTER SWEEP
The Hawkeye women own the top seed in each of the three sprint events. Freshman Briana Guillory (11.35) recorded her conference-leading and school recording-breaking time in the 100 meters at Musco Twilight on April 23. Senior Lake Kwaza (23.17) and junior All-American Elexis Guster (51.85) registered the Big Ten’s fastest marks in the 200 and 400 meters, respectively, at the Jim Click Shootout on April 9.
GUSTER GOES FOR GOLD… AGAIN
Junior All-American Elexis Guster goes for her third straight Big Ten title in the women’s 400 meters. The defending Big Ten champion raced to first place in 52.19 in 2015. No Hawkeye has ever won the event three years in a row. Shellene Williams won back-to-back 400-meter titles in 2003-04.
Guster broke the 52-second barrier for the first time in her career this season when she clocked 51.85 at the Jim Click Shootout on April 9. That time leads the Big Ten and ranks ninth nationally.
MALLETT DEFENDS TITLE
Junior All-American Aaron Mallett is competing for his second Big Ten title in the men’s 110-meter hurdles. The St. Louis native ended a 26-year drought in 2015, becoming the first Big Ten champion in the event since Pat McGhee (13.74) in 1989. Mallett won last year’s championship in a then-school record, 13.43. He bested that mark to 13.40 at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
400-METER HOLDER HURDLES
MonTayla Holder (58.64) finished fourth in the women’s 400-meter hurdles behind Big Ten foes Symone Black of Purdue (1st/57.72) and Ohio State’s Alexis Franklin (3rd/58.23) at Drake Relays on April 29. The senior owns the top time in the conference and 16th-fastest nationally with a collegiate-best 56.70, which she recorded at the Jim Click Shootout on April 9.
FINAL ATTEMPT FOR SPEJCHER, WILLIAMS
The 2016 conference championships mark the final attempt for senior Kevin Spejcher and graduate student Khanishah Williams in the men’s and women’s high jump, respectively. Spejcher, the 2014 runner-up, has been a point-scorer for the Hawkeyes the past two seasons. He placed seventh at last year’s championships (6-9 3/4, 2.08m).
Williams won the Big Ten title in 2014 (5-9 1/4, 1.76m). She did not compete at the 2015 championships.
TRIPLE JUMP SUCCESS
The Hawkeyes have a long line of triple jump success at the Big Ten Championships, having tallied nine titles — outdoor (4) and indoor (5) — in the past eight years. Jahisha Thomas contends for Iowa’s 10th overall title and third in women’s program history this weekend. The sophomore improved by over a meter to earn the third seed, registering a career-best jump, 42-3 1/2 (12.89m), at Musco Twilight on April 23.
WATTS’ WINNING WAYS
Junior Mahnee Watts won the women’s 800 meters (2:07.93) and anchored the winning sprint medley relay, which included senior Lake Kwaza, junior Elexis Guster, and senior MonTayla Holder, at the Drake Relays from April 28-30.
Watts heads to the conference championships ranked seventh in the 800 meters with a personal best of 2:07.41. The conference field features eight women who have run 2:07, with 0.73 seconds separating the fourth-fastest time (2:07.17) from the 12th-best time (2:07.90).
NEXT ON THE BLOCK
The first round of the NCAA Championships is set for May 26-28 in Lawrence, Kansas. For each individual event contested at the East and West NCAA sites, the top 48 declared student-athletes will be accepted into the competition. For each relay event contested at each of the preliminary championships competition sites, the top 24 declared relay teams will be accepted into the competition.