By JACK ROSSI
DES MOINES, Iowa – The University of Iowa track and field team capped off its second day of competition at the Drake Relays with their first white flags of the weekend inside Drake Stadium on Friday night.
The men’s 4×800 meter group of freshman Matt Manternach, freshman Tysen VanDraska, senior Will Tuebel, and junior Carter Lilly won the event in comeback fashion with a time of 7:24.77 after trailing Iowa State heading into the final front stretch.
“I wanted to stay up there with him and I felt good the last 200 meters and outkicked him,” Lilly said. “It was a good race.”
This was Iowa’s second ever win in the 4×800 meter relay. The other victory came in 1929.
“Today was a great day for the Hawkeyes,” Woody said. “To finally get that 4×800 Relay title with four Iowa kids was spectacular. I am extremely excited for Coach Wakenight and that event group.”
Iowa won the race with all four Hawkeye runners from the state of Iowa and the group now ranks third in program history in the 4×800.
“These four guys all competed at the Drake Relays from separate high schools across the state and to bring them together to win relay as college teammates is something special that they will cherish for a lifetime.”
Running with two freshmen, this event group feels they finally have the pieces to compete at the national stage.
“We were really confident,” Tuebel said. “We think we are one of the best 800 groups in the nation so coming into this we were very confident in ourselves and have been training hard. We have been talking about this since last year so we have been ready to run four 800 guys in a race instead of three 800 guys and a 400 guy.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Drake Relays finale, the Hawkeyes had four relays and one athlete qualify for tomorrow’s finals – the men’s 4×100 meters (40.41) and 4×400 meters (3:08.22) and the women’s 4×100 meters (45.52) and 4×400 meters (3:41.75).
Both men’s relays hold the top times heading to the finals.
The Hawkeyes persevered through rough weather conditions earlier in the day and almost freezing temperatures to get senior Aaron Mallett to the finals in the 110-meter hurdles. He finished third overall in 13.88 seconds.
“It’s time to get ready for tomorrow and bring home some more flags,” Woody said.
Iowa returns for the final day at the Drake Relays tomorrow beginning at 9:35 a.m. (CT).
Men’s Shot Put
Reno Tuufuli – Runner-up (17.92m)
Women’s High Jump
Aubrianna Lantrip – Personal Best (1.68m)