By JACK ROSSI
TEMPE, Ariz. – In the team’s 2017 outdoor debut, the University of Iowa track and field team started fast at the Baldy Castillo Invitational on Friday.
The University of Iowa track and field team completed the first day of the Baldy Castillo Invitational with seven personal bests, a pair of event titles, and promising debuts from many freshmen on Friday night.
“I was really proud about how everybody came out and got the season started on a high note,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “We had a lot of heat champions and that is what I am looking for. I want people to win their heat and we did that.”
18 freshmen made their outdoor debuts on the Joe Selleh track including freshman Nathan Mylenek, who claimed his first event title in his young career, winning the 2,000m Steeplechase with a time of 5:53.48.
“A big highlight for me was watching Nathan Mylenek, in his first ever steeplechase, go out and win the race,” Woody said. “Right from the start he went out there and didn’t hold back.”
Junior Marta Bote Gonzalez grabbed Iowa’s second victory of the evening in the women’s 2,000m Steeplechase. The school-record holder in the 3,000m variation narrowly defeated Ohio State’s Sarah Kanney by .73 seconds.
“To see her go out and perform at a high level was really inspirational for her and I am really proud of Marta,” Woody said.
It has been 20 years since Woody set the meet record on the 400m hurdles. He posted a time of 49.38 seconds in 1997. He returned this weekend to show that hurdles are still a strength of Iowa’s program. Iowa had three athletes finish in the top six in the men’s race: sophomore Noah Larrison (2nd), senior Mitch Wolff (5th), and sophomore Chris Douglas (6th).
For the women, junior Sheridan Champe finished fifth overall in the event. The Amherst, Ohio, native recorded a time of 1:02.60.
“The biggest event for me was watching the 400m hurdles,” Woody said. “To see Noah go out there and almost hit his personal best was a great start. Sheridan Champe had a big PR too and that was fun to see. She is close to putting together a really good race.”
The Hawkeyes return to the track tomorrow to conclude the Baldy Castillo Invitational. Field events begin at 12:30 p.m. (CT) and the running events start at 4 p.m. The meet will be live streamed on pac-12.com from approximately 4-7:15 p.m.
Jahisha Thomas: Personal-Best (24.98)
Aaron Mallett: Personal-Best (21.29)
Mar’yea Harris: Personal-Best (20.94)
Jarerd Ganschow: Personal-Best (21.69)
Men’s Pole Vault
Andy Jatis: Personal-Best (4.90m)
Tess Wilberding: Personal-Best (4:29.60)