The Hawkeyes picked up three individual Big Ten Track Championships over the weekend as hurdler Aaron Mallett, sprinter Brittany Brown and thrower Laulauga Tausaga picked up titles.
Brown ran the second-fastest 200-meter time in the country (22.30) in the finals of the event. It was the first time Brown has won the outdoor iteration of the 200, though she did win the indoor version earlier this season. She also picked up second place in the 100 as well.
Regardless, however, it’s impressive. Brown missed last season with an injury, so this year has been something of a revenge tour for her. It’s nice to see.
Aaron Mallett continued to do Aaron Mallett things, winning the 110-meter high hurdles in 13.24, which WOULD have been the best time in the nation, except it was severely wind-aided. The wind was blowing at 6.2 m/s, which is well over the 2.0 threshold required for official times.
Regardless, Mallett is running the best he has all season. He’s well past any injury issues that sapped at him early in the season and seems primed to do some crazy stuff at the West Regional and the NCAA Championships that follows.
In the throwing ring, Tausaga threw 55.00m to win the title. She’s the first female discus winner Iowa’s ever had and didn’t even know it!
"I didn't know I was the first one in Iowa history," Tausaga said to Jack Rossi of HawkeyeSports. "I am very shocked. I didn't expect to be first. I wanted to PR, but I am so grateful that everything turned out in my favor."
Reno Tuufuli had a good day on the men’s side, finishing in second and setting a personal record in the event.
It’s the first time Tuufuli has thrown over 200 feet in a competition, which was a big barrier for him to break through. It’s good to see him PRing at this point in the year. Obviously all athletes want to peak at the end of the year, but it’s especially important with throws.
Starting to hit these type of marks late in the year is a very good thing.
Now that we’ve got the individual stars out of the way, let’s take a look at the team picture. The Iowa men finished 5th with 70 points while the women took 7th with 54 points.
It certainly was not a bad showing for either squad. The thing that the Big Ten Championships really pointed out was how condensed the Hawkeyes points are.
Not having much in the distance events really hurt Iowa (both men and women) as well as some of the field events. However, this is right about what was expected from this team. The men might have been able to shoot for the top-3 if a few things would have gone their way — namely a few more points in the 100m and 200m — as well as anything at all in the 800.
All-in-all though, this wasn’t a bad performance by the Hawkeyes by any means. There were some great individual highlights and several events that will contend for a national championship.
There’s young talent on both of these squads and with how nice the new indoor track is, more help will be coming. Iowa’s moniker with this track team has been #ClimbTheMountain all year.
They’re getting close. Not only to the end of the season, but to something larger and better as well. On to regional and national competition, ladies and gents.