By JACK ROSSI
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Junior Carter Lilly took center stage, leading the Hawkeye middle distance runners as they ran wild on the final day of the Meyo Invitational on Saturday inside the Loftus Sports Center.
Lilly’s time of 1:47.33 to set the Iowa school record previously held by former Hawkeye and World Champion, Erik Sowinski. That mark ranks fifth in the nation and third in the Big Ten.
“You can’t say enough great things about Carter Lilly,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “He’s made a big name for himself and he is one of the best in the country.”
“We just started backing off training this week, so I thought I was tired after from the workouts,” Lilly said. “But today after the 600, I felt better than I did before the race, so I knew I was going to run fast.”
Of Iowa’s 10 personal bests on the day, five came during the 400-meter and 800-meter races and freshmen set three of those.
“To have all those freshmen run as well as they did this weekend in the 600 and 800; those are big time marks,” Woody said “A lot of those guys ran faster in the 600 than I ever did as a freshman. We have some great things ahead.”
Freshman Collin Hofacker set two personal bests over the two-day competition. The Freedom, Wisconsin, native’s first collegiate best came during the 200-meters on Friday with a time of 21.65 seconds, while his second was in the 400-meters (47.64).
“Over the past few weeks I felt like I have gotten a lot stronger,” Hofacker said. “So coming into this year, my races haven’t been that strong, but these last couple weeks, I have felt very strong.”
Freshmen throwers Laulauga Tausaga (14.76m, 48 feet 5 ¼ inches) and Erika Hammond (14.56m, 47 feet 9 ¼ inches) highlighted the field events for the Hawkeyes as both recorded collegiate bests during the shot put, finishing 11th and 12th, respectively. Both marks rank in Iowa’s top-10 all-time.
“It was different today because it was a different ring,” Tausaga said. “In a way it felt better than the one at home maybe because it was away, but either way, it made for a good turnout.”
“We’re trying to have a great women’s throws program and Coach (Andrew) Dubs has recruited some great athletes. The thing about throwing is that it is about getting your technique right while getting stronger. The Big Ten is the toughest conference to throw in so they have be on a high level.”
The Hawkeyes split up next weekend for the Iowa State Classic and Tyson Invitational both meets run Feb. 10-11.
Julie Hollensbe – Personal Best (5:01.60)
Alexis Hernandez – Personal Best (54.67)
Brittany Brown – Personal Best (7.39), Event title
Austin Lietz – Personal Best (48.74)
Emmanuel Ogwo – Personal Best (48.74, 8th all-time)