By JACK ROSSI
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — For the first time in 2017 the University of Iowa track and field team got a taste of the road, finishing strong at the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind. on Friday.
Iowa joined over a dozen teams inside a crowded Loftus Sports Center. Iowa qualified seven athletes for day two in the 60-meters and 60-meter hurdles.
“It was good to get our feet wet today,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “We set a lot of PRs and it was good to see us finish off with all those 600s.”
The men dominated the 600-meters. Six runners competed and all six set personal bests in a race that saw Iowa take six of the top nine spots. Carter Lilly (1:17.20), Anthony Chaidez (1:19.09), Austin Lietz (1:19.70), Matt Manternach (1:19.75), Ryan Dorman (1:19.90), and Noah Larrison (1:19.97) all set personal bests.
“For a freshman to run under 1:20 is pretty impressive, especially because freshmen are usually still figuring things out,” Woody said.
Freshman Tyler Kirkwood was the lone Hawkeye in the 60-meter hurdles. He was competing in his first collegiate meet away from Iowa, but despite the unfamiliar setting, Kirkwood’s goals remained the same as he qualified for day two with a time of 8.37.
There is no difference (than in Iowa),” Kirkwood said. “There are just more people. Competition is competition and it does not make a difference. Every week people are running fast and you have to keep up with them. There is no room to be mediocre here.”
Iowa had all four Hawkeyes qualify for day two in the men’s 60-meters – Sophomore Christian Brissett (6.87), senior Vinnie Saucer (6.88), junior O’Shea Wilson (6.86), and sophomore Jacob Gourley (6.96).
Heading into tomorrow, Wilson already knows what to do to make it to finals.
“Technique,” Wilson said. “It is all about technique. If you are technically sound then everything should be easy during the race. I ran decent even with a bad start so hopefully tomorrow I can correct that to get in the finals.”
On the women’s side, the distance runners made the headlines. Sophomore Andrea Shine and senior Kelly Breen both set personal bests. Shine, who finished 11th overall, shattered her previous best by over a minute with a time of 16:49.23, while Breen recorded a time of 17:42.05 – a ten-second improvement on her previous best.
“Those were big personal bests for Andi Shine and Kelly Breen,” Woody said. “Andi, she improved by over a minute. She skipped the 17-minute mark completely and went down to 16, so that was impressive. That may be the performance of the night for our team.”
The Hawkeyes return to action in the finale of the Meyo Invitational tomorrow. The first race is slated for an 8:45 (CT) start time.
Collin Hofacker – Personal Best, 21.65
Antonio Woodard – Personal Best, 21.56
Mallory King – Personal Best, 1:35.21