By JACK ROSSI
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Aaron Mallett, junior Jahisha Thomas, and sophomore Mar’yea Harris highlighted the first day of the Tyson Invitational with personal bests and school records on Friday in Fayetteville.
Mallett and Thomas improved on their school records previously set last season. Mallett ran a 7.64 in the 60-meter hurdles, placing second overall and third in the nation.
“We’ve been training at a high level for a while with Aaron,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “It’s a testament to him trusting in the system and believing in us. We knew he had a big week ahead of himself because we starting pulling back training and it’s just a big testament to his trust in me and the program.”
Thomas tightened her grip on the school record in the women’s long jump. Her mark of 6.39m (20 feet 11 ¾ inches) was good enough for third place and is fifth in the conference.
“She started out the day with a huge PR,” Woody said. “We saw it coming too. Coach (Clive) Roberts did a great job of getting her on the runway for today. She’s like Aaron in the way that there are some technical things to clean up and once we do, we will start to see even bigger marks.”
Harris is the newest Hawkeye to reign atop Iowa’s leaderboard. He clocked in with a time of 46.39 in the 400-meters to pass Steven Willey, who set the record in 2010.
“We knew he had it in him.” Woody said. “It’s good to see him trust the process and it shows that when they do we will run big times. We still think he has 45 seconds in him by the Big Ten meet.”
Harris’ time places him sixth in the nation and first in the Big Ten.
In addition, sophomore Collin Hofacker had a personal best in the men’s 400m (47.53) and senior Alexis Hernandez set a personal best in the women’s 400m (54.31).
Looking ahead to tomorrow with the triple jump, high jump, 200-meters and more events, the event most intriguing is the 4×400 meter relays and Iowa’s surging group in that race.
“We have a lot of events to look forward to tomorrow, but I think that our 4x400m can break the school record if we can put it all together,” Woody said. “I am excited for that.”
The Hawkeyes conclude the Tyson Invitational tomorrow with the women’s pole vault beginning at 11 a.m. (CT).