By JACK ROSSI
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In the beginning of a frantic weekend where athletes from all over the country vie for a coveted spot in the NCAA Championships, the University of Iowa track and field team secured two spots in Eugene with eight more Hawkeyes advancing to the quarterfinals at the NCAA West Preliminary on Thursday.
After advancing through today’s first round, Iowa’s eight quarterfinalists will compete one more time this weekend where they need to finish in the top 12 to clinch a spot at the NCAA final site in Eugene, Oregon, June 6-9.
HEAR FROM COACH WOODY
“I was excited about today. I thought out athletes came out and competed really well. We started off with Lagi (Tausaga) getting to Eugene in the shot put. That was a big step for her. Just getting here was a big step and then to be able to go to Eugene in the shot put, which is her second event in her mind. Jahisha punched her ticket as well after just one jump, so that was really impressive to show her dominance.”
“I was really excited about the athletes that came out and competed to make it into the quarterfinals tomorrow. Ray Clarke and Chris Douglas in the 400 hurdles, Bri (Guillory) had a dominant race in the 400 meters along with Mar’yea and DeJuan. We had some really good performances there. Matt (Manternach) had a tremendous performance. That is a big PR for him. I just love seeing that guy compete. It’s fun to see those guys compete and take the next step.”
With five first-round events complete and two more set to run tomorrow, here are the Hawkeye quarterfinalists after Thursday:
Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles; Friday at 9 p.m. (CT)
Chris Douglas – 51.07, 15th
Ray Clarke – 51.28, 22nd
Men’s 1,500 Meters; Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Michael Melchert – 3:46.56, 12th
Women’s 100 Meters; Friday at 8:15 p.m.
Brittany Brown – 11.38, 12th
Men’s 400 Meters; Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Mar’yea Harris – 45.64, 3rd
DeJuan Frye – 46.58, 9th
Women’s 400 Meters; Friday at 7:45 p.m.
Briana Guillory – 52.78, 6th
Men’s 800 Meters; Friday at 8:30 p.m.
Matt Manternach – 1:49.31 (personal best), 4th
Sophomore Laulauga Tausaga and senior Jahisha Thomas kept their seasons alive with top finishes to clinch their spots at the NCAA Championships.
Tausaga will head to Eugene for the second time in her career, but first in the shot put. Tausaga threw 54 feet, 1.75 inches to finish sixth overall.
Thomas cruised to her second consecutive NCAA Championship appearance with a dominating performance in the long jump. Thomas took the lead after her first attempt and never looked back, finishing with a best mark of 21 feet.
The Hawkeyes look to secure spots for the NCAA Championships in eight events tomorrow, while the 110-meter hurdles, 100-meter hurdles, and 200 meters run their first races of the weekend. Friday’s competition begins at 2 p.m. (CT) in the field with the men’s and women’s discus while the running events commence at 6:30 p.m. with the 110-meter hurdles.
Watch the NCAA West Preliminary on FloTrack or follow along on the live results page at hawkeyesports.com/tracklive.