T&F Notebook: NCAA Outdoor Championships

May 24, 2016

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The University of Iowa track and field team travels to Lawrence, Kansas, this week to compete at the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships. The West preliminary round begins Thursday at 12 p.m. (CT) at Rock Chalk Park on the campus of Kansas University. The three-day event concludes Saturday at 9:45 p.m.


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. A live video stream is available at the championships central page at kuathletics.com. A direct link to that page is available on the Iowa track and field schedule page at hawkeyesports.com.

Athletes who rank among the top 48 in their respective event earn berths into the NCAA Preliminary Rounds. The best 24 relay times also advance to NCAA Regional. The top 12 individuals or relays from the West Regional move on to the NCAA Championships final round in Eugene, Oregon, from June 8-11. The 12 qualifying individuals and teams from the West Region will meet the 12 qualifying individuals and teams from the East Region (Jacksonville, Florida) to form the final 24-team/individual field. On paper, the Hawkeyes have eight individuals and four relay teams seeded in the top 12 in the West Region.

The Hawkeye men are represented by a total of 15 student-athletes competing in 17 individual events and two relays. The men are seeded 12th or higher in seven events. Redshirt freshman Reno Tuufuli is the highest seeded individual. The Big Ten runner-up is the No. 2 seed in the discus. Returning All-American and reigning Big Ten champion Aaron Mallett is the No. 3 seed in the 110-meter hurdles. Ten Hawkeye women qualified for 11 individual events and two relays. Elexis Guster, an All-American last season, is the No. 6 seed in the 400 meters, and MonTayla Holder, an All-American in 2014, is the No. 8 seed in the 400-meter hurdles. Big Ten champion Briana Guillory is making her NCAA debut as the No. 20 seed in the 200 meters. The men’s 400-meter relay has advanced to the NCAA finals the last two years and is seeded sixth. The men’s 1,600-meter relay is the eighth seed. The women’s Big Ten champion and school record-setting 1,600-meter relay is seeded fifth, while the 400-meter relay is the seventh seed.

The Big Ten Conference named freshman Briana Guillory 2016 Track and Field Freshman of the Year following the outdoor conference championships on May 17. The Antioch, California, native won a pair of gold medals at the Big Ten Championships, first in the open 200 meters and later as a member of the conference and school record-setting 1,600-meter relay. Guillory is the first Hawkeye to earn Freshman of the Year honors since Peaches Roach in 2004. Guillory was also one of 10 Hawkeyes named to an All-Big Ten team. She is joined on the first team by relay members Alexis Hernandez, MonTayla Holder, and Elexis Guster. The Iowa men’s 400-meter relay — including 110-meter hurdle champion Aaron Mallett, Vinnie Saucer, Jr., Christian Brissett, and James Harrington — also earned first-team honors. They are joined by men’s high jump champion Kevin Spejcher. Redshirt freshman Reno Tuufuli placed second in the men’s discus to earn second-team all-conference honors.

The Hawkeyes set four school records heading into the NCAA Championships. The Iowa women have three new record holders, including freshman Briana Guillory (100 meters, 11.35), the 400-meter relay (44.04) and 1,600-meter relay (3:31.22). The 1,600-meter relay broke the school and Big Ten Conference record in their gold medal race at the conference championships on May 15. William Dougherty set the men’s decathlon record (7,311 points) at the Big Ten Championships. Dougherty set eight personal bests to finish fifth in the Big Ten, the highest finish ever for a Hawkeye decathlete. Dougherty is ranked 27th nationally, three spots outside of automatically qualifying for the NCAA finals in Eugene, Oregon.

Nearly half of Iowa’s 25 qualifiers are making their NCAA Championships debuts. Twelve Hawkeyes — three women and nine men — are appearing in the NCAA Championships for the first time. That list includes freshmen Taylor Chapman (100m), Briana Guillory (200m), Christian Brissett (100m, 200m), Chris Douglas (110m hurdles), DeJuan Frye (400m), Mar’yea Harris (400m), and Pavlo Hutsalyuk (800m). Redshirt freshmen Noah Larrison (400m hurdles) and Reno Tuufuli (discus, shot put), sophomore Alex Balke (javelin), and juniors Madison Rouw (high jump) and Avery Meyers (shot put) are also making their NCAA debuts.


Seniors MonTayla Holder and Lake Kwaza are competing at their fourth NCAA Outdoor Championships. Kwaza is racing the 200 meters for the second time in as many years. She placed 15th in 2015, three spots shy of qualifying for the NCAA final site in Eugene. She advanced to the final site in 2014 as a member of the 400-meter relay. In 2013, she placed 20th at the West Regional in the 100 meters. Holder was also a member of the 400-meter relay that earned second-team All-America honors in 2014. That is her only NCAA finals appearance. In 2015, she was one spot from advancing in the 400-meter hurdles, placing 13th at the West Regional. She is making her fourth NCAA appearance in the 400-meter hurdles. She placed 23rd in 2014 and 20th in 2013.

Seven Hawkeyes are aiming for a return trip to the NCAA final site in Eugene, Oregon. Aaron Mallett was a first-team All-American in 2015, placing fifth in the 110-meter hurdles. He also ran the second leg of the men’s 400-meter relay that placed 12th at the 2015 NCAA Championships. Vinnie Saucer, Jr. and James Harrington were also members of that relay. Harrington is aiming for his third straight trip to Eugene as a member of the 400-meter relay. He ran the third leg on each of the last two qualifying teams. The trio is joined by freshman Christian Brissett in 2016 and is seeded No. 6 in the West Regional. Junior Mitch Wolff, the No. 14 seed in the West Regional, is aiming for a return to Eugene in the 400-meter hurdles. Wolff earned second-team All-America honors last season. Elexis Guster has advanced to Eugene in each of the last two seasons, first in 2014 as a member of the 400-meter relay, and then again last season in the 400 meters. In 2015, she placed 21st to earn honorable mention All-America. In 2014, Guster, MonTayla Holder, Lake Kwaza, and Brittany Brown placed 16th in the 400-meter relay to earn second-team All-America honors. Brown is not competing in the West Regional this season, but Guster, Holder, and Kwaza return with freshman Briana Guillory, the school’s 100-meter record holder.

Freshman Christian Brissett, redshirt freshman Reno Tuufuli, and sophomore Jahisha Thomas all qualified for the NCAA West Regional in two individual events. Thomas is making her second straight NCAA appearance in the triple jump, but has added the long jump to her event list in 2016. Brissett and Tuufuli are both NCAA rookies. Brissett is the No. 38 seed in the 100 meters and No. 20 seed in the 200 meters. Tuufuli is seeded No. 2 in the discus and No. 24 in the shot put. The last Hawkeyes to qualify for the NCAA finals in two individual events was Zinnia Miller in 2014. Miller was a first-team All-American in the long jump and second-team All-American in the triple jump.

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