Track & Field Notebook: Jimmy Grant Alumni Invite

The Hawkeyes open their indoor season, hosting the Jimmy Grant Alumni Invitational at the Hawkeye Indoor Track Facility on Saturday, Dec. 9. Iowa welcomes Western Illinois and Wisconsin for this weekend’s competition. The meet begins with the start of the pentathlon at 10:30 a.m. (CT) at the indoor track. The weight throw kicks off the field events at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex at 11 a.m. Running events begin at 2:45 at the indoor track.

Results can be found on the live results link on the track and field schedule page at
Updates and results are posted on the team’s official ‘X’ account (iowaXC_TF).

On the men’s side, the Hawkeyes welcome back key pieces in the sprints group. The senior quartet of Damoy Allen, Khullen Jefferson, Austin Kresley and Kalen Walker lead a veteran group of sprinters. The hurdles unit looks to build on their strong reputation, led by Grant Conway and Gratt Reed. 2022 outdoor All-American Kalil Johnson is aiming to work back into the fold as one of Iowa’s premier hurdlers. Junior Lia Love leads the Hawkeye women’s sprints unit into the 2023-24 season. She holds five top-10 program marks, including the fourth-best 60-meter time (7.40). Love’s 23.85 at last season’s Big Ten Indoor Championships earned her an eighth-place finish in the 200-meter dash. Sophomore Holly Duax has emerged on the scene to join Love at the top of the sprints group. Senior Paige Magee returns as a sprints and hurdles specialist. Magee had three top-seven finishes at the Big Ten Championships, including third-place in the 200 meters. Sophomore Natalie Harris has her sights set on a breakout season.

The Hawkeyes welcome in a pair of impact transfers to the mid-distance group. Zidane Brown (Ohio State) and Rivaldo Marshall (Indian Hills) are projected leaders. Brown was an All-Big Ten selection last season, placing third in the 400 meters at the Big Ten Championships. Marshall arrives highly credentialed as a two-time NJCAA All-American and 800-meter national champion. Connor Belken and Ryan Schreiner are returners that have taken strides in the offseason to position themselves for strong seasons. On the women’s side, school-record holder Alli Bookin-Nosbisch takes aim at the mile school record. Returner Chloe Larsen is another key piece to the mid-distance group, building off of a successful 2023 indoor season. Freshman Olicia Lucas is anticipated to be a major factor in the group’s success.

The Hawkeyes return two of the premier multi-event specialists in the conference. Senior All-American Austin West prepares for his final season following an NCAA Championship appearance a year ago. West claimed ninth in the heptathlon in Albuquerque, earning a personal-best 5,965 points. Senior Tionna Tobias returns following her third-place pentathlon finish at the 2023 Big Ten Championships. Her 3,997 points ranks third all-time at Iowa. Tobias is also the reigning conference outdoor heptathlon champion.

Seniors Zack Pluff and Deandre Stapleton Jr. return to the men’s jump squad following impressive 2022-23 campaigns. Stapleton Jr., a Mansfield, Texas, native, returns as an outdoor All-American and Big Ten Champion in the 4×400-meter relay, proving his versatility on the track. While Stapleton was a key piece on sprints and relay teams in the outdoor campaign, he primarily focuses on jumps during the indoor season. He posted sixth and seventh place finishes in the long jump and triple jump, respectively, at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in 2023. Pluff, a high jump specialist from Freeburg, Illinois, placed fifth at both the indoor and outdoor Big Ten Championships last season. Pluff’s indoor mark of 6’ 11” (2.11 meters) from last season’s Hawkeye Invite ranks him eighth in program history. On the women’s side, senior Kayla Hutchins returns as the leader of the group. Hutchins won three triple jump titles during the indoor season a year ago (Jimmy Grant Invite, Hawkeye Invite, & Iowa Open). Freshman Daniela Martine Wamokpego has impressed jumps coach Hadrien Choukroun in her training and is poised for a record-setting campaign.

The distance group will lean heavily on cross country NCAA qualifier Max Murphy during the indoor season. Murphy opened 2023 at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Opener in Boston, posting a 14:15.23 in the 5,000-meter race. The junior from Bettendorf, Iowa, holds the Hawkeyes’ third-best mark in the 5k (13:58.57) set in 2022. Murphy also has experience running the mile and as part of the distance medley relay team. Yohana Yual joins Murphy atop the distance group, focusing on the 3,000-meter event. Amber Aesoph leads the women’s distance unit, specializing in the mile, 800-meter and 3,000-meter races. Aesoph shifts to the indoor season following a stellar cross country campaign in the fall.

Senior Quintin Lyons and sophomore Sean Smith are set to lead the men’s throws group in 2023. Lyons placed 13th in shot put at last season’s Big Ten Championships, while Smith competed unattached. On the women’s side, the Hawkeyes are led by the trio of seniors Alivia Bauer, Jamie Kofron and Kat Moody. The veteran core combines for four top-10 program marks. Moody holds the third-best shot put mark (54’ 7.25” | 16.64m) set at last season’s Tyson Invite. Kofron ranks 4th in the weight throw and 10th in the shot put. Bauer enters the season with the fifth-best weight throw mark (63’ 7.75” | 19.40m).

The Hawkeyes return to action after the first of the year, hosting the Hawkeye Invite on Jan. 13 at the Hawkeye Indoor Track Facility.