T&F Notebook: NCAA West Regional 2022


University of Iowa track and field continues its championship season this weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the NCAA West Region Preliminaries. The men qualified the third-most entries in the country (28) behind only Texas (32) and Oklahoma (29). The women qualified 18 entries to make 46 total between the men’s and women’s teams. Action for the Hawkeyes begins at 6 p.m. (CT) Wednesday with the men’s 110-meter hurdles. On Thursday, the women start their weekend with Amanda Howe in the hammer throw at 10 a.m. (CT). The men’s quarterfinal rounds start at 1 p.m. (CT) on Friday, and the women wrap up regional action on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. (CT).


Fans can follow the meet on the live results page at hawkeyesports.com/tracklive. Results will also be posted on the team’s official twitter account @IowaXC_TF.


On the men’s side, the Hawkeyes have 12 entries ranked inside the top-20 regionally, plus sophomore Austin West in the decathlon. West has already secured a berth to the NCAA Championships on June 8-11 as the No. 3 seed. Senior Nik Curtiss enters regionals ranked fifth in shot put (No. 8 in NCAA) and junior James Carter, Jr. comes into regionals with the sixth-best long jump mark (No. 23 in NCAA). For the women, senior Erin Dowd (No. 7, 400m hurdles), sophomore LaSarah Hargrove (No. 9, 200m; No. 11, 100m) and junior Mariel Bruxvoort (No. 11, 400m hurdles) are the top-ranked athletes regionally for the Hawkeyes. Senior Payton Wensel (No. 15, 400m hurdles) gives Iowa a third 400-meter hurdler entering regionals ranked inside the top-15. Junior Alec Still (No. 10, 800m), senior Josh Braverman (No. 11, 110m hurdles), Carter (No. 13, triple jump), junior Gratt Reed (No. 15, 110m hurdles) and sophomore Armando Bryson (No. 15, 800m) all rank within the top-15 in the West Region. Junior Amanda Howe comes in ranked just outside of the top-15 (No. 16, hammer throw) and sophomore Paige Magee is the 17th-ranked 400-meter hurdler in the region and the fourth-fastest Hawkeye in the event. Freshman Nylah Perry makes five Hawkeye 400-meter hurdlers to qualify, coming in at 44th in the region. All four of Iowa’s relays enter regionals ranked inside the top-10. The men’s 4×400-meter relay team is seeded No. 4 in the region and the 4×100-meter relay checks in at No. 6. On the women’s side, both the 4×100-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay qualified as the No. 10 seeds.


The Hawkeyes crowned a pair of individual champions at the 2022 Big Ten Outdoor Championships on May 15. Junior Amanda Howe won the women’s hammer throw and improved her school record (64.84m / 212’9”). On the men’s side, junior Julien Gillum won the 400-meter hurdles (51.12) and became the third-consecutive Hawkeye to win gold in the event at the Big Ten meet (Jamal Britt – 2021, Chris Douglas – 2019). 2022


The Iowa men won their first Drake Relays Cup championship since 2018 last weekend at the 112th running of the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, behind a win in the sprint-medley relay (Austin Kresley, Khullen Jefferson, Julien Gillum, Alec Still). The Hawkeyes finished second in the 4×100-meter relay (Kalil Johnson, Kresley, Gratt Reed, Jefferson), and third in the distance-medley relay, the 4×400-meter relay, and the 4×800-meter relay. Additionally, the Hawkeyes won the shuttle-hurdle relay (a non-Relays Cup event) with the team of Grant Conway, Josh Braverman, Johnson and Reed for the first time since 1984 and set the school record (56.74). Junior James Carter, Jr. became the first university division men’s athlete at the Drake Relays in 16 years to complete a sweep of the horizontal jumps, winning the long jump (7.84m / 25’8.5” w) on Friday and the triple jump (15.79m / 51’9.75”) on Saturday – the second and third Drake Relays flags in his Hawkeye career.


Sophomore decathlete Austin West produced a record-setting week in the Golden State at the Mt. SAC Relays. West broke the 8,000-point plateau for the first time in his career (8,179) – breaking the Iowa school record and finishing runner-up to Arkansas indoor heptathlon national champion Ayden Owens in one of the best decathlons in NCAA history. West’s point total is No. 10 in the world this year and third in the NCAA. West’s 8,179 points ranks him as the 24th-best performer in NCAA history. West set personal-best marks in seven of the 10 events, including a personal best of 46.41 in the 400 meters – a time that before this season would have ranked tenth all-time at Iowa. West was named B1G Field Athlete of the Week on April 20 for his performance. On May 15, West finished as the runner up at the Big Ten Championships.


Sophomore LaSarah Hargrove broke the Iowa 60-meter record this indoor season (7.25) and put down a blistering time in the 100 meters in her outdoor season debut on March 19 at the Baldy Castillo Invite. Hargrove ran a wind-aided mark of 11.13 to win the 100 meters — a mark good enough for a school record, but was just outside of the wind-legal threshold. The speedy sophomore continues to challenge to take down the record (11.28). Hargrove added to her hot start of the outdoor season with a win in the 200 meters (22.79) at the Jim Click Shootout (April 9). Her time was No. 2 all-time at Iowa and is 18th-fastest in the NCAA this season. She was named B1G Track Athlete of the Week on April 13 for her performance. Hargrove qualified seventh-fastest (11.37) in the prelims and made the 100-meter final at the Mt. SAC Relays, finishing eighth (11.38). Her 11.37 preliminary time moved her to fourth all-time at Iowa and was a wind-legal personal best. Hargrove finished fifth in the 100 meters and fourth in the 200 meters on May 15 at the Big Ten Championships.


Returning men’s outdoor long jump All-American junior James Carter, Jr. won the triple jump at the Jim Click Shootout on April 9 (15.84m / 51’11.75). Carter, Jr. improved his lifetime-best in the long jump at the Mt. SAC Relays (7.81m / 25’7.5”) – the fifth-furthest jump ever at Iowa. Carter, Jr. became the first university division men’s athlete at the Drake Relays in 16 years to complete a sweep of the horizontal jumps, winning the long jump (7.84m / 25’8.5” w) on Friday and the triple jump (15.79m / 51’9.75”) on Saturday – the second and third Drake Relays flags in his Hawkeye career. At the Big Ten Championships on May 15, Carter finished as the runner-up in both events.


Junior Alec Still was already one of the best 800-meter runners in program history, but at the Bryan Clay Invitational he dropped nearly a full second off his lifetime-best (1:47.50) to finish fifth in a field of 196 athletes and cement his status as one of the fastest 800-meter Hawkeyes ever. Still moved to No. 4 all-time at Iowa with his Big Ten-leading time that ranks 24th in the NCAA this year. Still finished fifth at the Big Ten Championships on May 15.


At the Musco Twilight (April 23), senior Nik Curtiss broke the 20-meter plateau with the eighth-farthest throw in the NCAA this year (20.04m / 65’9”) to finish runner-up to All-American Darius King of UNI. Curtiss became the first Hawkeye ever to go over 20 meters in shot put. Curtiss now owns the indoor and outdoor school records, recording both in his lone season as a Hawkeye after a decorated career at Tiffin University. Curtiss made the move to Iowa with former Tiffin coach and first-year University of Iowa throws coach Ray Robinson and earned Indoor All-American honors in shot put. Curtiss took fourth at the Big Ten Championships on May 15.


Senior Erin Dowd (56.77) leads a deep group of 400-meter hurdlers into the NCAA West Regional, entering the weekend at No. 7 in the region and No. 13 nationally. Junior Mariel Bruxvoort (57.45, No. 11), senior Payton Wensel (57.63, No. 15), sophomore Paige Magee (57.89, No 17) and freshman Nylah Perry (59.67, No. 44) will all join her at regionals. Dowd won bronze in the event at the Big Ten Championships on May 15. The 400-meter hurdle event squad ranks atop the nation in the USTFCCCA Rankings. In the 100-meter hurdles, Myreanna Bebe’s season-best time (13.35) is No. 29 in the West Region this year. Tionna Tobias also qualified for regionals, 47th fastest.

Four men’s high-hurdlers qualified and rank inside the top-22 in the region entering the weekend. Big Ten bronze medalist Josh Braverman leads the way (13.56, No. 11) and is followed closely by Gratt Reed (13.67, No. 15), Grant Conway (13.74, No. 18) and Kalil Johnson (13.81). As a unit, the men are ranked second in the USTFCCCA event squad rankings. The 400-meter hurdle group is ranked second in the event squad rankings as well, due to five men with times under 52 seconds – with four qualifying for the West Regional. Big Ten Champ Julien Gillum (50.98) comes into the weekend at No. 22 in the region, Drake Woody is currently 26th (51.20), Phillip Jefferson (51.35) is 34th and Raymonte Dow (51.38) is No. 37 in the region.


Iowa’s relays put on a show at the Jim Click Shootout (April 9) with the women’s 4×100-meter relay (Hargrove, Love, Dowd, Magee) getting things started by running the second-fastest time in program history (44.06) – just two-hundredths of a second off of the school record. The men’s 4×100-meter relay (Walker, Kresley, Reed, K. Jefferson) followed by breaking the school record (39.03) – 18th-fastest in the NCAA this year. The 4×400-meter relays had similar results, as the women (Bruxvoort, Roberts, Wensel, Dowd) ran the fourth-fastest time in school history (3:35.40), improving their time at the Mt. SAC Relays (3:35.08). The men (Steward, Bryson, Gillum, McKiver) capped off the Jim Click with the third-fastest time ever at Iowa (3:02.39) – clocking in at No. 10 in the NCAA this season. The 2021 season marked the eighth consecutive postseason that the Hawkeye men qualified a 4×100 relay to the NCAA Championships, and the fourth consecutive postseason that the Hawkeye men qualified a 4×400 relay to the NCAA Championships.


School-record holder Nik Curtiss started the outdoor season with a win in shot put at the Baldy Castillo Invite (March 19) and also cracked the top-10 list in the hammer throw (58.62m / 192’4”). Curtiss continued his impressive season by going over 20 meters at the Musco Twilight with the No. 8 throw in the NCAA this year (20.04m / 65’9”) to finish as runner-up to All-American Darius King of UNI. Junior Elijah Barnes (18.51m / 60’8.75”) enters this weekend ranked 27th in the region in the shot put. Big Ten discus runner-up Jordan Johnson (58.63m / 189’1”) comes in ranked 19th.

The Musco Twilight was a great meet for the Hawkeye throwers all around, as junior Amanda Howe improved her school-record mark in the hammer (62.92m / 206’5”) and broke the meet record. Sophomore Kat Moody won the shot put (15.64m / 51’3.75”) and was runner-up in the discus (52.62m / 172’7”). Howe proceeded to break her own school record again at the Big Ten Championships on May 15 (64.84m / 212’9”) to claim gold. Moody advanced to the regional round in both discus (53.23m / 174’8”) and shot put (16.15m / 53’0”), coming in at No. 28 and No. 29, respectively.


The Hawkeye men have eight top-10 NCAA Outdoor Championship finishes in program history, the last coming in 1932 (sixth). The Hawkeyes finished third on three occasions (1921, 1923 and 1930). In modern history, the Hawkeyes best NCAA finish was in 2021 when they placed 12th. Other top-25 finishes include 17th in 2017, 19th in 1995, 21st in 1993 and 21st in 1989. The Hawkeye women’s best finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships came in 2018, when they placed 13th with 19 points. Laulauga Tausaga scored 10 points that year, placing fourth in both shot put and discus. The women also placed in the top-25 in 2019 (25th), 2006 (20th), 1992 (19th) and 1985 (20th).