By JACK ROSSI
Live Results: http://live.pttiming.com/?mid=1177
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Iowa’s multi-event athletes are in good shape heading into the second day of the Big Ten Championships on the campus of Penn State University.
Junior Will Dougherty (3,919 points) and sophomore Tria Seawater-Simmons (3,245 points) sit third place in the decathlon and heptathlon, respectively, after the opening day on Friday.
Dougherty, Iowa’s decathlon school record holder, ended his day with two personal bests in the long jump (6.95 meters) and 400 meters (49.46). After starting slow, Dougherty found his groove in the final events of the day.
“Initially I had a bit of an injury, but I took it step-by-step and luckily I didn’t need any treatment,” Dougherty said. “I got off to a bit of a slow start but I battled back from there, took first place in the shot put, and closed hard in the 400 so I’ll keep building off of that.”
After five events, the decathletes will compete in the 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1,500 meters tomorrow.
“He (Will Dougherty) put some good things together today,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “He had a great shot put and finished it off with a great 400 race. He’s got a lot of positive energy going into tomorrow to set him up to be one of those top two or three guys.”
Seawater-Simmons and freshman Jenny Kimbro (3,122 points) are third and seventh, respectively, in the heptathlon. Seawater-Simmons and Kimbro both cracked Iowa’s all-time top 10 in the event earlier this season with Kimbro third and Seawater-Simmons fifth. The duo are both on personal best paces.
Seawater-Simmons won the high jump event with a mark of 1.67 meters while Kimbro was runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles (13.94).
“For a long time we didn’t even enter a women’s multi-event athlete,” Woody said. “To see those two fighting to be point scorers and potentially be in the top five, we’ve got a lot of promise in that area.”
In prelims, Iowa qualified five athletes for finals on day one with junior Brittany Brown taking the top spot in the women’s 200 meters. The top-seeded Brown qualified with a time of 23.27.
“My body was a little off, but I was happy to get through the race healthy,” Brown said. “My main goal was to make it to the final and secure my spot. I’ll be ready for Sunday.”
Iowa’s only event with multiple qualifiers was the men’s 400-meter hurdles. After a string of unlucky meets with unfavorable weather conditions, the Hawkeyes will send sophomores Noah Larrison (51.24) and Chris Douglas (51.53), who set a personal best in the event, to Sunday’s finals.
“It was exciting to see Chris Douglas put some things together,” Woody said. “He’s been a guy who has been knocking on the door to make the final both indoor this year and outdoor last year. I am looking forward to seeing him come around in that final.”
Senior Adam Jones, who was seeded 12th entering this weekend’s championship grabbed one of the final spots in finals in the event. Jones’ 3:49.08 earned him the eighth spot, a much-needed qualifier if Iowa wants to make a championship run.
“Adam has always been there competing to make the final to score points,” Woody said. “We’re looking forward to Sunday to see what he can put together.”
The Hawkeyes continue the Big Ten Championships tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. (CT) as they conclude the heptathlon and decathlon events.