By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa track and field team welcomed world champions and Olympians to the UI recreation building for day one of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational where the Hawkeyes had big opening marks and times in multiple events.
Senior Brittany Brown and junior Briana Guillory raced to the fastest times in the Big Ten in the women’s 200-meter premier race. Brown clocked a 23.54, a meet and track record, while Guillory went 23.58. Brown and Guillory now rank first and second, respectively, in the Big Ten 200 meters.
They also rank fourth and fifth in the country.
QUOTING COACH WOODY
“We had some great 600s today,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “That’s one of (Carter Lilly’s) best races on a banked track. We had some good things in the long jump too and to finish it off with the 200 was great. Antonio (Woodard) had a great race and I thought all the guys had a great race, but those two girls – Briana (Guillory) and Brittany (Brown) – to put together 23.5 races this early in the season is impressive and they did it against great competition. That’s what we are looking for this time of the year. It’s not necessarily about great performances, it’s about how you are going to compete head to head.”
Sophomore Jenny Kimbro and junior Tria Simmons made their mark in Iowa’s record books and the conference and NCAA leaderboard after their performances in the pentathlon. Kimbro finished the day with personal bests in the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, and 800 meters. Her final score of 3,900 points places her second all-time in Iowa history behind Tammilee Kerr, first in the Big Ten, and sixth in the country.
“I definitely know there are a lot of places to improve on, but I am happy with the high jump,” Kimbro said. “I was a little more comfortable than last year because I knew what to expect and know the routine of things, but I was still pretty nervous.”
Simmons ended the day No. 3 all-time with 3,859 points. After personal bests in the long jump and 800 meters, she is now ranked second in the Big Ten and seventh in the country.
“When I took over as head coach I realized how important it is to have a good multi-event program,” Woody said. “When we recruited Jenny, we recruited her as a hurdler and when we recruited Tria, we recruited her as a long jumper. That’s the way a lot of multi-event athletes get started. They are really good, elite athletes. Tria is not that far off from being a national qualifier and you can’t say enough about Jenny. She is a competitor.”
- Sophomore Antonio Woodard finished first in his section of the 200-meter premier, defeating two-time Olympic gold medalist Vernon Norwood.
“I focus on my race, do what I do in practice, and execute,” Woodard said. “I don’t really think about the competition. I am still trying to piece my race together, but I got the win nonetheless. It was good to knock the rust off.”
- Senior Carter Lilly raced alongside former Hawkeye and Nike athlete Erik Sowinski. Lilly paced himself to a time of 1:17.79, just shy of his 1:17.20 personal best. The second fastest time in school history behind Sowinski.
- Sophomore Laulauga Tausaga recorded the second longest mark in Iowa women’s weight throw history. On her final attempt, Tausaga threw 19.15 meters (62 feet, 10 inches) to placed seventh overall.
The Hawkeyes return for day two of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational tomorrow. The first event is slated for 1 p.m. (CT) inside the UI Recreation building. Admission is free to the public.