IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa long sprints, mid distance, and long hurdles dominates the Hawkeyes’ all-time list. Current athletes are ranked on the indoor list 24 times and 28 times on the outdoor top-10 list.
The group coached by Jason Wakenight includes six All-Americans, including Mar’yea Harris, Collin Hofacker, DeJuan Frye, Antonio Woodard, Carter Lilly, and Matt Manternach. Mallory King also returns this season after qualifying for the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Preliminaries.
“I expect these athletes to continue maturing and progress as individuals,” assistant coach Jason Wakenight said. “Our men and women are at a point now where being in the top three of the Big Ten is a formality. We have the depth to have multiple people make the Big Ten finals, but what we’re going after is the team championships.”
The Hawkeyes look to capitalize off the success that this group has had over the last couple of years, and it starts with the leadership from national qualifiers from last season.
“As far as this group goes, there are a lot of veterans with very good credentials,” Wakenight said. “My expectations are higher than ever, and they know it. We aren’t out here to be at the back of the pack, we’re talking about winning medals across the board.”
Iowa returns one of the most decorated track athletes in Hawkeye history, Mar’yea Harris. Harris is a nine-time All-American and two-time Big Ten Champion. He holds the 400 (45.75 (I), 44.94 (O)) and 600-meter (1:16.60) school records and is also a member of the record setting 1,600-meter relay squads (3:04.76 (I), 3:01.91(O)).
The men also return Carter Lilly, the indoor 800 meters record holder (1:47.33) and a member of the record-setting distance medley relay (9:33.90) team.
Collin Hofacker, DeJuan Frye, Antonio Woodard, and Matt Maternach also appear on the Iowa all-time lists multiple times, and Coach Wakenight expects that the outdoor season will bring even more progress from them and the men’s 400-meter hurdles group.
“On the men’s side, I think we are good enough to potentially be the best 800-meter group in the country,” Wakenight said. “We have no less than four guys that are all nationally competitive.
“The long hurdles is another veteran group with Noah Larrison, Austin Lietz, and Raymund Clarke have made Big Ten Finals. We return three guys that are exceptional competitors, and I think Raymonte Dowe will be a breakout athlete.”
The women return Mallory King, who leads the mid distance group. Her 600 (1:3.25) and 800-meter (2:08.45) times both rank in the Iowa top-ten list, but there are big expectations for her teammates to step up and compete at the national meets alongside her this year.
“In our women’s mid distance group, this is the strongest we’ve ever been,” Wakenight said. “All six of them are capable of making the NCAA Championships. Mallory King was a Big Ten finalist last year in the 800 meters. It’s good to have the experience at that level. She’s back and doing great things.
“We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores last season that have taken huge steps forward,” Wakenight said. “It’s reasonable to have three or four athletes in the finals. Aly Weum looks extremely good. She is a great 600-meter runner indoors. Taylor Arco has had a breakout season. She looks better that she ever has before, opening up three seconds faster in the 600 meters than last year. Logan Akason and Tia Saunders are rocks in the group, and do a great job with their training and leading by example.”
Already in the first months wearing the Hawkeye uniform, junior transfer, Karayme Bartley has marked his name in the Iowa records three times. He ranks second in the 200 meters (20.81), third in the 400 meters (46.39), and ran the lead leg of the record-breaking 1,600-meter relay (3:04.76) this season.
Right in the mix with Bartley is freshman Wayne Lawrence, Jr. Lawrence ran the third leg of the record-breaking 1,600-meter relay and ranks second all-time at Iowa in the 400 meters (46.14).
“We have a couple of guys coming off their redshirt season that we have just now seen in the Hawkeye uniform this season.” Wakenight said. “Karayme Bartley could definitely be a national finalist in the 200 and 400 meters. We also redshirted Wayne Lawrence. He’s also a very special athlete in the 400 meters. Nolan Kemble also has a chance to show what he can do. As far as the newcomers, these three are all national caliber athletes.”
The Hawkeyes are a week away from the post season, starting with the Big Ten Championships hosted in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Feb. 22-23.