By JACK ROSSI
Live Results: http://bit.ly/2F2KIae
GENEVA, Ohio — The Hawkeyes waited until the final 10 minutes of the Big Ten Indoor Championships, but Iowa quickly rallied two Big Ten titles and a runner-up finish on the first day of competition at the Spire Institute on Friday.
The men’s distance medley relay of freshman Nathan Mylenek, sophomore Chris Thompson, senior Carter Lilly, and senior Michael Melchert started the snowball with a come-from-behind finish in the event. Melchert closed the final 200 meters, passing five other teams on his way to claiming Iowa’s first ever conference title in the event.
Minutes after the DMR won, junior Reno Tuufuli set the school record in the shot put with a mark of 19.28 meters to finish second overall.
“It feels good,” Tuufuli said. “It’s been a long time coming. I feel like I have been throwing school records in practice pretty much every week and it feels good to finally put it on paper.”
Senior Jahisha Thomas followed suit with a Big Ten title of her own in the long jump. She jumped 6.42 meters to rank sixth in the country in her third meet of the season.
“After my first jump I thought that this could either really just start sinking or I could find a reason to pick it up,” Thomas said. “I wanted to think positively and knew I could do better if I didn’t jump so flat.”
In addition, Thomas is Iowa’s first female Big Ten long jump Champion.
“Its amazing and I am super happy to have that title,” Thomas said. “Hopefully I can lead a path for other athletes and leave a legacy. We were talking about that in our team meeting. It’s about what you want to be remembered for when you leave.”
LEADING THE QUALIFIERS
Junior Briana Guillory and senior Brittany Brown led the Hawkeyes by qualifying for two event apiece, including the 200 meters.
The duo ran the two fastest times in the preliminaries. Brown clocked in at 23.09, while Guillory followed with a personal best 23.25.
On the men’s side, junior Mar’yea Harris recorded the top time in the preliminary for the men’s 400 meters. The Big Ten leader ran 46.68 to make his second straight conference final in the event.
Harris looks to win his first Big Ten title tomorrow after earning two silver medals in 2017.
The Hawkeyes garnered nine points in the pentathlon thanks to a fourth and fifth place finish by sophomore Jenny Kimbro (3,930 points) and Tria Simmons (3,848 points). Kimbro’s total is a personal best in the event by 30 points and is inching her closer to Tammilee Kerr’s total of 3,974 points from 2008.
Simmons solidified her fifth place finish by finishing third in the 800 meters to close the pentathlon with a five-second personal best (2:17.71).
Senior Will Dougherty and freshman Daniel Gaynes finished the first day of the men’s heptathlon in eighth place and 11th place, respectively. Dougherty, who finished third last year, will enter Saturday’s competition with 3,037 points, while Gaynes will start with 2,860 points.
The complete list of Big Ten qualifiers include:
Matt Manternach – 800m
Tysen VanDraska – 800m
Brittany Brown – 60m
Kyara Avant – 60m
Mar’yea Harris – 400m
Jenny Kimbro – 60mH
Brittany Brown – 200m, 60m
Briana Guillory – 200m, 400m
Antonio Woodard – 200m
Michael Melchert — Mile
Nathan Mylenek — Mile
The Iowa women finished the day with 19 points, while the men tallied 18 points after the first day of competition.
The Hawkeyes finish the Big Ten Indoor Championships tomorrow at 9 a.m. (CT) inside the Spire Institute. The meet will be stream on BTN Plus and FloTrack.