Track & Field Notebook: Hawkeye Invitational

The Hawkeyes continue their season with the Hawkeye Invitational on Jan. 12-13. Competition begins on Friday with the men’s and women’s weight throw and shot put at noon at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. The meet resumes on Saturday at the Hawkeye Indoor Track Facility with field events beginning at 11 a.m. and running events starting at 12:15 p.m. Iowa welcomes Ball State, Bradley, Central Methodist, Indian Hills, Iowa Central, Iowa State, Lindenwood, Northern Illinois, South Dakota and UNI.

Saturday’s action of the Hawkeye Invitational will be streamed on BTN+ (subscription required). Results for the entire meet 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).

For the first time in program history, the Hawkeyes swept Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors following the Jimmy Grant Alumni Invitational. Paige Magee, Sean Smith, Kalen Walker and Daniela Wamokpego each earned their respective award for the first time of their careers. Magee won the women’s track athlete of the week honor by breaking the program’s 60-meter hurdles record. Walker broke his own 60-meter school record twice in the season opener. The senior sprinter clocked a 6.60 in the preliminaries before speeding to the new program’s best 6.59. Wamokpego, a freshman from Meaux, France, made an instant impact with her triple jump of 13.12 meters (43′ 0.5″) to win the women’s field award. Smith set a facility record in the weight throw on his way to the men’s field honor, tossing a 21.66-meter (71′ 0.75″) mark. Magee, Walker and Wamokpego are ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in their respective events, while Smith holds the No. 3 spot amongst Division I NCAA competitors.

The Hawkeyes broke two school records at the Jimmy Grant Alumni Invitational on Dec. 9. Senior Paige Magee rose to the top of the women’s 60-meter hurdles all-time list, while senior Kalen Walker sprinted to history by breaking his own 60-meter school record twice.

Additionally, the Hawkeyes made 11 updates to the top-10 lists:
• Women’s 60-meters: Love (2nd), Duax (5th), Magee (7th)
• Men’s 800-meters: Marshall (4th)
• Women’s Pentathlon: Wirth (6th), Rochford (9th)
• Women’s High Jump: Wirth (6th)
• Men’s Weight Throw: Smith (2nd), Busch (10th)
• Women’s Weight Throw: Bauer (5th)
• Women’s Triple Jump: Wamokpego (2nd)

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. Kresley and Walker opened at the Jimmy Grant Invitational. The hurdles unit looks to build on their strong reputation, led by Grant Conway and Gratt Reed. 2022 outdoor All-American Kalil Johnson opened with a 7.97 personal best in the 60-meter hurdles on Dec. 9.
Junior Lia Love leads the Hawkeye women’s sprints unit into the 2023-24 season. She holds five top-10 program marks, including the second-best 60-meter time (7.28). Sophomore Holly Duax joins Love at the top of the sprints group and climbed to fifth in program history with a 7.42 at the opener. Senior Paige Magee returns as a sprints and hurdles specialist. Magee leads the country following her record-breaking 60-meter hurdle performance. Sophomore Natalie Harris has her sights set on a breakout season.

The Hawkeyes welcome a pair of impact transfers to the mid-distance group. Zidane Brown (Ohio State) and Rivaldo Marshall (Indian Hills) are projected leaders. Following his facility record 1:47.83 in the 800 meters at the Jimmy Grant Invite, Marshall was named the USTFCCCA men’s athlete of the week. Brown was an All-Big Ten selection last season, placing third in the 400 meters at the Big Ten Championships.
On the women’s side, 800-meter school-record holder Alli Bookin-Nosbisch takes aim at the mile school record. Bookin-Nosbisch began the season with a personal-best 4:48.08 in the mile. Returner Chloe Larsen is another key piece to the mid-distance group and started with the 600-meter title (1:30.26) on Dec. 9. Freshman Olicia Lucas opened her campaign with the 300-meter title at the Jimmy Grant Invitational, clocking a 38.54.

The Hawkeyes return two of the premier multi-event specialists in the conference. Senior All-American Austin West claimed ninth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships in 2023, 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. The Hawkeyes opened 2023 with the debut of four multi-event specialists. Annie Wirth led the women in the pentathlon, while Carlee Rochford and Isabelle Woody made their Hawkeye debuts. Sal Capaldo represented the men in the pentathlon at the Jimmy Grant Alumni Invitational.

Seniors Zack Pluff and Deandre Stapleton Jr. return to the men’s jump squad following impressive 2022-23 campaigns. Stapleton posted sixth and seventh place finishes in the long jump and triple jump, respectively, at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in 2023. Pluff placed fifth in the high jump 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 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 Wamokpego opened her 2023 campaign with the second-best triple jump mark in program history (43′ 0.5″ | 13.12m) and leads the NCAA through the first couple of weeks.

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. He holds the Hawkeyes’ third-best mark in the 5k (13:58.57) set in 2022. 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 claimed the shot put title in the season opener, while Smith fired the programs second-best weight throw mark (71′ 0.75″ | 21.66m). The women are led by the trio of seniors Alivia Bauer, Jamie Kofron and Kat Moody. 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 (66’ 0.25” | 20.12m).

The Hawkeyes host the seventh-annual Larry Wieczorek Invitational on Jan. 19 and 20 at the Hawkeye Indoor Track Facility.