Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch 2016-17 | Hawk Talk Monthly — Feb. 2017 | Watch Mallett’s 60-Meter Hurdles Race | Watch Brown’s 200-Meter Title Race | Big Ten Championships Results (PDF)
By JACK ROSSI
GENEVA, Ohio – The University of Iowa track and field team named two champions on their way to a sixth and 10th place finish during the finale of the Big Ten Championships in Geneva, Ohio on Saturday.
The Iowa men finished sixth with 60 points, the team’s highest finish since 2011, while the Iowa women placed 10th with 34 points. Iowa continued their record-setting trend, setting four more school-records on a day where qualifying to the national meet was just as important as the team’s finish.
“For the women, that is not where we want to be. I feel like we are a better team than that,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “We have special athletes that need to step up.”
“On the men’s side, we ended up on the bottom half of where we should be. There were not a lot of points between second and sixth place and we didn’t score on events that we should have, but this shows the strength of our team. We have national qualifying marks.”
Senior Aaron Mallett returned to repeat in the event and reset his own school-record in the 60-meter hurdles. His time of 7.63 is tied for third in the nation and bested his last best set at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 12.
“It feels amazing,” Mallett said. “I came in here with one goal and that was to get points for my team. To do it against a field like this again is a blessing. We have been putting in a lot of work and to repeat in any conference is difficult and then to run the third fastest time in the country was a lot of fun.”
“Aaron Mallett is an exceptional athlete and he’s got big goals,” Woody said. “He expects to be a national champion.”
A day after breaking the school-record in the 200-meters, junior Brittany Brown backed up her day one performance with Iowa’s second Big Ten Championship, taking the title easily with a time of 22.83.
“I am very blessed,” Brown said. “It is a good feeling to walk away and know that I can compete not only with Big Ten athletes but anybody in the country.”
Brown is currently sitting fourth in the country.
Junior Will Dougherty came into the final day of competition in eighth place saying he needed to show up to put some points on the board for Iowa and he did. Dougherty finished third overall and broke his own school-record in the heptathlon with 5,504 points.
“Last night I had some time on my hands so I made a spreadsheet and calculated that I could potentially get second place with the three events that are left and that is where it all turned around,” Dougherty said. “I was bummed out after yesterday, but when I saw that, it was very reassuring.”
Dougherty set a personal best in the pole vault with a mark of 4.70m.
“I cannot say enough about Will,” Woody said. “He was a former walk-on and now he is scoring at the Big Ten meet. He has put multi-events on the map for us”
The final two school-records came from sophomore Mar’yea Harris. His 45.75 in the 400-meters placed him second overall and in the 4×400-meter relay; Harris anchored a group that went 3:04.93 to beat their previous record set at the Tyson Invitational.
“This feels great. It means that I made history and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Harris said. “I wish we could have won, but we are going to go to nationals and win there.”
The Indiana men won the meet with 112 points and the Penn State women won with 96.5 points.
“This shows the direction of our program. We are taking big steps forward.” Woody said. “We can’t do it with a handful of athletes, but I am excited about the future of our program. We have a lot of young athletes that will help our program build a championship level team.”
The Hawkeyes return to Iowa City to prepare for the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas. The meet runs March 10-11.