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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Briana Guillory could not have gotten off to a faster start to her collegiate track and field career.
In 2016, she became a three-time All-American, two-time Big Ten Champion, and Big Ten Freshman of the Year and this season, she is taking all the steps necessary on and off the track to exceed expectations.
Guillory boasts the fastest times in the Big Ten in the 200 meters and 400 meters, which also rank 12th and fifth in Division I, respectively, but if you ask her, those times could be beat during any meet.
“I would like to be running faster,” she said. “(Those times) could change in a split-second any weekend.”
Guillory ran indoor personal bests at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invite, running 23.26 in the 200 meters and 52.57 in the 400 meters. She improved her standing in Iowa’s all-time rankings to second in the 200 meters and third in the 400 meters.
That added up to a Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week honor on Feb. 7, her second in three weeks and solidified herself in program history as the first woman to win multiple weekly conference honors in a season.
But her motivation this season stems back to last season. Guillory didn’t end the 2017 outdoor season the way she had hoped with an illness holding her from competing in most of the Big Ten Championships and 18th place finish in the 400 meters at the NCAA West Preliminary.
“I couldn’t even run at Big Tens,” Guillory said. “At Regionals, I was still hoping I could pull something out in the 200 meters, but with the way I was feeling, I wasn’t that strong and that fast and it showed.”
Guillory, however, wasn’t down on herself and she watched her teammates compete in Eugene, Oregon, at the NCAA Championships.
“As long as you are giving 100 percent effort when you are there then that’s all you can do,” she said. “I don’t ever get too down on myself. I was excited to watch my teammates at nationals. I was getting the break I needed.”
During the long break over the summer and through cross country season, Guillory began to, as head coach Joey Woody would say, live the life of an elite athlete.
“I’m trying not to be sick at all,” Guillory said. “I’m staying away from people that are coughing, drinking my daily orange juice, eating right, trying not to stay up too late, and getting enough rest each day.”
Guillory’s change in priorities also gives more focus to the weight room.
“I take lifting very seriously,” she said. “Probably more serious than running because I feel like it’s the things you do when you’re tired that solidify your workout.”
It can be difficult at times for Guillory to balance it all, but it is all working toward doing bigger things later this year.
“I’d like to break the indoor record,” Guillory said. “I am happy where I am at and hopefully that keeps me at No. 1.”
The Hawkeyes have two weeks until the Big Ten Indoor Championships and will have a final tune-up at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Indiana, on Feb. 17.