EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Iowa track and field men’s 4×400-meter relay team of freshmen Everett Steward and Chadrick Richards, sophomore Spencer Gudgel and junior Julien Gillum finished seventh to earn First Team All-America accolades at the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field on Friday. Sophomore Jordan Johnson finished as a First Team All-American in discus with an eighth-place finish.
The Hawkeyes tallied five First Team All-Americans on Friday to make a total of seven First Team honors this week. Iowa logged an additional 10 Second Team All-Americans (men: 10 total, 7 First Team; women: 7 total).
The men’s 4×400-meter relay qualified for the final sixth-fastest overall and second-fastest in program history. Steward, Richards, Gudgel and Gillum passed the stick around in 3:03.04 to finish inside the top-eight and secure First Team All-America honors. Steward and Gudgel earned the first All-America honors their careers, Richards earned his second First Team honor and third overall, and Gillum tallied his second First Team accolade and fourth overall.
“Those guys competed their hearts out Wednesday and came back and competed against some spectacular teams tonight,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “Those four guys deserve every bit of being First Team All-Americans. I’m proud of how they competed all year. We have a ton of depth in that group and that’s what it takes – when a guy goes down we’re always looking for the next person ready to go, and that was a huge reason why we were able to make it to the final and beat a lot of really good teams.”
Johnson used his third attempt in the first round of discus to launch a personal-best throw (58.92m / 193’4”) to go from 19th place to seventh place and qualify for the final. He eclipsed his previous personal-best throw (57.77m entering today) again on his second and third throws in the final. He saved his best for last – launching the disc 59.52m (195’3”) for a lifetime-best and No. 6 all-time mark at Iowa to finish eighth to earn the first All-America honor of his career.
“He pulled out a big throw on his final attempt in the first round to get through to the final and then another monster PR throw on his last attempt in the final,” Woody said. “I think that’s the mark of a great competitor, having big performances on final attempts when the pressure is on. I was proud of him for getting here and then competing his butt off to make that final and score. Being a First Team All-American is a big deal. He’s still young in the event and I’m very excited for his future.”
Junior James Carter, Jr. finished his season with Honorable Mention All-America recognition in the triple jump (15.49m / 50’10”) to go along with his Second team honor from Wednesday in the long jump.
The Hawkeye men finished the meet 39th with 8 team points.
“When you’re down five All-Americans that aren’t competing, that obviously takes a toll – it took a toll on us as a team this weekend,” Woody said. “We had a tremendous indoor season and an up and down outdoor season, but our guys never hung their heads once this year and just kept trying to fight and compete. We have amazing athletes and people on this team who will fight and compete for each other. They care about trying to win championships, and I’m excited about the guys we have returning. They’re hungry for next year and to compete to win a trophy at this meet.”
The Iowa women combined for seven All-America honors (LaSarah Hargrove, Lia Love, Erin Dowd, Paige Magee – Second Team 4x100m, LaSarah Hargrove – Second Team 100m and 200m, Erin Dowd – 400m hurdles).
“The women made some big moves as a program this year,” Woody said. “This is the biggest group we’ve had on the women’s side in some time with the number of qualifiers we had, and obviously our 4×400 relay should have been here. I think if you look at where the program is headed we are in a really good place. We have a lot of young athletes contributing to the overall success of the program and that’s a great sign. I’m excited about who we have coming back and we have some great incoming kids who I think will contribute right away.”
Men’s Triple Jump
22. James Carter, Jr. – 15.49m / 50’10”, Honorable Mention All-American
8. Jordan Johnson – 59.52m / 195’3”, PR, No. 6 all-time, First Team All-American
Men’s 4x400m Relay
7. Steward/Richards/Gudgel/Gillum – 3:03.04, First Team All-Americans