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 — The University of Iowa track and field team ends its 2018 indoor season this weekend at the NCAA Championships and it’s another opportunity for the Hawkeyes to prove they belong among the sport’s elite programs.
Iowa is sending 10 total athletes to College Station, Texas, to represent the program in six events and two relays. The group also consists of four first-time NCAA qualifiers, including freshman Bradford Garron.
“I am excited,” Garron said. “This was one of my goals this year. Unfortunately I didn’t make the goal I set at Big Tens, but I made the relay and did what I wanted to do there.”
Garron has run the third leg of Iowa’s 12th-ranked 1,600-meter relay and will be the only new member of Iowa’s group that placed fifth last year. He is reminded by his teammates that this is just another meet.
“When it comes to the 4×4 and all the meets we go to, it’s all the same guys,” said junior Mar’yea Harris. “There is no reason to get nervous because you are going to race these guys week-after-week.”
While Garron will experience collegiate track and field at its highest level for the first time, senior Jahisha Thomas will make her second straight trip to nationals. She is coming off an historic outing at the Big Ten Championships where she won the long jump and triple jump titles, but that meet is in the past.
“It was a great success, but now it is on to nationals,” Thomas said. “You have to keep moving up and can’t stay in the same place. You have to keep growing and progressing when there are more challenges out there.”
Thomas joins two other Big Ten Champions from Iowa in senior Brittany Brown and junior Briana Guillory. Guillory makes her first appearance at indoor nationals since 2016 and it will be her first time attending in an individual event.
“It’s a different feeling this year compared to 2016 because back then I was just going with the flow,” Guillory said. “I didn’t know the magnitude of making it this far and now I do. You need to remember that you’re one of the best too because you also made it this far and you can’t let the moment get bigger than you.”
Guillory will compete in the 400 meters on Friday and the 1,600-meter relay on Saturday. Guillory was part of Iowa’s last qualifying relay in 2016 and is Iowa’s only returnee from that group that finished ninth in the country.
“I do often think about how I’m the only returner,” Guillory said. “But I know my past girls are with me in spirit and I know my girls now are just as down as them.”
The Hawkeyes begin competing in the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday at 6:25 p.m. (CT) with the men’s 400 meters. A live stream of the meet is available on ESPN3.