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 — While University of Iowa students headed to the beach, the Iowa track and field team opened the outdoor season with a dominating Spring Break performance at the Willie Williams Classic in Arizona.
The Hawkeyes tallied 11 total event titles, including three national leading marks and five other top-10 times. These performances were led by past All-Americans and hopeful 2018 qualifiers.
Senior Brittany Brown has been Iowa’s most consistent runner since the start of the 2017 season. Her blazing start to her final outdoor season earned her event titles in the 100 and 200 meters along with a new facility record in the 200 meters.
“This was a good start for her just for her own mindset,” Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody said. “She had high goals at NCAAs and didn’t accomplish what she was trying to do, so just proving to herself that she is in good form.”
Brown’s 22.83 is her fastest time in the 200 meters since the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships and is the fastest time in the country after the first weekend of competition. The Upland, California, native also ran the second-fastest time in the country in the 100 meters.
Tabbed as Iowa’s preseason breakthrough athlete, sophomore Antonio Woodard is already showing he belongs among the conference’s top sprinters. Woodard won the 200 meters while posting the top time in the NCAA with a 20.61.
Woodard has set a personal best in the 200 three consecutive races dating back to the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
“This was the hope for Antonio,” Woody said. “I’ve always known he has had the ability to be a mid to low 20 guys. I think he had a lot more to show, which is exciting and then the next event for him is the 100.”
In addition, Woodard ran the third leg of Iowa’s winning 4×100 meter relay with a time of 39.69.
Woodard will play an important part on the relay in Iowa’s future as they look to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the sixth consecutive year.
In the field, Iowa’s All-American discus throwers also posted top marks in the country. Junior Reno Tuufuli, who won the discus and shot put at the Willie Williams Classic, leads the nation in the discus with a throw of 58.95 meters (193-5).
Sophomore Laulauga Tausaga, Iowa’s first Big Ten champion in the discus, holds the second spot in the country in the event with a mark of 56.54 meters (185-6).
“Coach (Eric) Werskey has done such a good job with the throws group,” Woody said. “(Discus) is their event. That is the event they love to do and just to be able to get outside for that first competition and throw is always exciting for them.”
The Hawkeyes take a week off before splitting up for the Florida Relays, Texas Relays, and Stanford Invitational from March 28-31.