By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa – On a day that the University of Iowa track team would rather be competing outdoors, the Hawkeyes concluded their indoor regular season with two competitions. Iowa hosted the Iowa Open and sent 12 athletes to the Alex Wilson Invitational.
The final tune-up before the postseason saw the Hawkeyes looking to put themselves in good position before the Big Ten Championships. It started with sophomore Reno Tufuuli in the shot put.
“I threw really well this week,” Tufuuli said. “I changed my technique a bit. I usually don’t lift the day before a meet, but on days I threw a day after lifting, I throw really well so we switch that up and it worked. My series wasn’t great, but I put everything together and had that one good throw.”
Tufuuli’s throw of 18.78m is a personal best and places him third all-time in Iowa history, leapfrogging teammate Avery Meyers.
The men’s 400m group highlighted the day in South Bend, Indiana, as four Hawkeyes set personal bests. Freshman Austin Lietz (48.11), sophomore Noah Larrison (48.55), senior Nick Jensen (48.63), and freshman Chris Thompson (48.95).
“With those guys, some run the 600 and some run on a relay,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “That just gives us a good opportunity to build on their speed and be able to get ready for the Big Ten Championships.”
Back in Iowa City, junior Heaven Chandler was 2-for-2 in setting personal bests on the day. The Columbus Junction, Iowa, native set a personal best in the 60-meter hurdle prelims (8.54) and finals (8.44) where she also won the event.
“I was really happy with how I ran today,” Chandler said. “I wanted to get back into the 8.4 range and I did which was very relieving heading into the pentathlon next weekend.”
“Heaven was a walk-on,” Woody said. “She was a long jumper out of high school and ran the hurdles, but not to this level. I am really happy to see her have that big breakthrough. It was just a matter of time for her to do this.”
Heading into the postseason, Woody has seen enough to know what the team must work on this next week.
“We need to do what we’ve been doing all year,” Woody said. “We need to go out, stay relaxed, have fun, compete at a high level like we did today, and we will have a real shot at winning the whole thing.”
The postseason begins with the Big Ten Championships in Geneva, Ohio. The meet runs Feb. 24-25 at the Spire Institute.
Men’s High Jump
Brelyn Barclay – Personal Best, 2.00m
Men’s 800m (Alex Wilson Invitational)
Matt Manternach – Personal Best, 1:51.86
Nolan Tuebel – Personal Best, 1:51. 23
Men’s 200m (Alex Wilson Invitational)
Christian Brissett, Personal Best, 21:41
Emily Paul – Personal Best, 1:00.92
Women’s 60m Hurdles
Heaven Chandler – Personal Best, 8.44
Men’s 60m Hurdles
Chris Douglas – Personal Best, 7.82
Macie Weber – Personal Best, 5:10.43
Bailey Hesse-Withbroe – Personal Best, 8:21.33
Ian Eklin – Personal Best – 8:29.37
Gage Eller – Personal Best, 22.81