Editor’s Note: This is the first part in a five-part series previewing the University of Iowa track and field team’s indoor season. The first installment previews the Hawkeyes’ sprints and hurdles.
By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa hurdlers and sprinters look to continue their success from last year’s indoor season. Senior Brittany Brown, senior Jahisha Thomas, senior O’Shea Wilson, and junior Chris Douglas return as the Hawkeyes’ top sprinters and hurdlers.
Douglas enters his junior season as the team’s top returning 60-meter hurdler. He ranks third in Iowa history in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.82 seconds. He finished ninth at the Big Ten Championships last year.
“Chris is our top returning hurdler indoors,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “He is the second-best returning high hurdler in the conference based on his time. I am excited about his training. He has been training at a much higher level than he ever has.”
Brown bounced back in a big way in 2017. She set a school record in the 200 meters (22.79) at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, winning her first career conference title, and earned the silver medal in the 60-meters (7.39). She finished the indoor season fifth in the country in the 200 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
“Brittany Brown is our top sprinter,” Woody said. “She is poised for a big season. Her training has been more consistent than ever and she is dialed in to be the best in the country.”
Thomas set personal bests in the 60 meters (7.77) and 60-meter hurdles (8.28) in 2017. Her time in the 60-meter hurdles, set at the Big Ten Championships, ranks third all-time in Iowa history.
“(Jahisha) made the final at Big Tens for the first time last year in the hurdles,” Woody said. “She has a lot on her plate this year. We are training her with more volume so she can handle the long jump, triple jump, and hurdles at the conference meet and help our program.”
The men’s top outdoor sprinter from a year ago, Wilson, is back and he has improved his block work tremendously. Wilson finished the 100-meters during the outdoor season at the NCAA Preliminary and his personal best 10.22 is shy of Justin Austin’s school record of 10.21. He hopes to translate that success indoors.
ATHLETE POISED FOR A BREAKOUT YEAR
Iowa’s top 200-meter runner indoors last year was freshman Antonio Woodard. His personal best 21.26 tied for eighth all-time in program history.
“Antonio is the guy who has been under the radar because of injuries,” Woody said. “He has been healthy and made good progress this fall. He has been dominating some great workouts. I’m excited to see him run and I think he is ready to have a breakout season.”
FRESHMAN TO WATCH
Freshman Anthony Williams redshirted during his first year at Iowa. After spending his first year in the background, Williams is ready to share the spotlight with Douglas in the 60-meter hurdles.
“He was one of the top-five hurdlers in the country when he came out of high school,” Woody said. “He has been training right alongside Chris and he is talented. The biggest thing for him is to continue to develop throughout the season.”
The Hawkeyes host their annual Black & Gold Intrasquad today inside the UI Recreation Building. The meet begins at 3 p.m. (CT). Admission is free.