IOWA CITY, Iowa — Trophies, medals, or ribbons. No matter the prize, the University of Iowa track and field team is all-in.
Thirteen Hawkeyes continue pursuit of national titles when the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships continue next week in Austin, Texas.
Iowa sent 33 student-athletes to the opening round of the NCAA Championships May 23-25 in Sacramento. More than one-third are still in the hunt. The Hawkeyes are represented in 14 events, 11 on the men’s side and three on the women’s. They’re doubled up in the heptathlon and men’s 200 meters. Their range is wide, and Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody says it allows for multiple positions of attack.
“We have athletes in all different event areas,” Woody said Friday, two days before the team leaves for the NCAA finals. “It really makes you feel good about your team and being a comprehensive track and field team. We are definitely confident right now.”
Iowa is dually represented in some of those event areas. Karayme Bartley and Antonio Woodard both qualified for the semifinals in the 200 meters. Jenny Kimbro and Tria Simmons each reached the final site in heptathlon. The women also qualified a pair of thowers (Nia Britt, Laulauga Tausaga), while the men advanced two hurdlers (Chris Douglas, Jaylan McConico) and two relays (4×1, 4×4).
Woody says that is both coincidence and a case of iron sharpening iron.
“When you have training groups like we do, each person pushes the other,” Woody said. “Longi’s success is a tribute to Nia and Nia’s success is a tribute to Longi and what they have done for each other. The same thing with the multis. Those girls train every single day together and push each other every day, so when you have the bar set at a high level, that becomes the expectation. It’s not just that I want to get there, it is that I expect get there. I think that is why it happened that way. Now our goal is to keep getting more events like that.”
Tausaga may be Iowa’s best chance for a national title on the women’s side. She qualified for the discus finals with a school-record setting performance at the NCAA Regional, throwing 62.69 meters (205-8) to register the highest mark at either the East or West Regional.
On the men’s side, the men’s 1,600-meter relay enters the semifinals with the sixth fastest time in the country. That relay placed third in 2017 before falling to ninth in 2018. A return trip to the medal stand is within reach of the 2019 Big Ten champions.
“We have the ability and we have the athletes,” Woody said. “It’s going to come down to who has the freshest team out there and who wants it more. I feel like we have the team that can run three-flat, or whatever it takes to win. Hopefully we’ll be feeling good. Our guys are definitely ready to make that happen.”
The 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are contested June 5-8 at Mike A. Meyers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas. The championships begin Wednesday at 6:32 p.m. (CT). The final event is scheduled for Saturday at 7:51 p.m.
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
Fans can follow the NCAA Championships live results on hawkeyesports.com/tracklive. Live stats and a live stream for the meet are also linked on the Iowa track and field schedule page, hawkeyesports.com/trackschedule, and posted on the team’s official twitter account @iowaxc_tf.