A whole bunch of Hawkeyes hit Eugene, Ore. over the weekend to compete in the outdoor NCAA Championship track meet. Fifteen total athletes in 11 events represented Iowa at the four-day event, breaking records and taking names.
The action was on ESPN and if you missed out, well, I got you covered fam.
First, let’s take a look at the school record-breaking and third-place 4x400 relay of Mar’yea Harris, DeJuan Frye, Collin Hofacker, and anchor Emmanuel Ogwo. (They were, uh, pretty damn fast.)
The time? 3:01.91. That’s quick. Even better? All four of those athletes are underclassmen. It was also the first time this season Ogwo has ran the anchor part of that race. Hey, it’s the NCAA Finals, not like you have anything to lose, right?
If you recognize Ogwo’s name, it’s probably because he’s formerly an Iowa wide receiver. He decided to quit football and join the track team (which wasn’t an easy decision) though it certainly seems like it was the right one.
This squad will be back. Harris qualified individually in the 400m race as well and garnered second-team All-American status in that event, so his name could be one that’s called a few more times before the end of his career.
Speaking of goodbyes, Aaron Mallett ended his time at Iowa with a fourth-place finish in a time of 13.65, well off his career best.
Florida freshman Grant Holloway is fast and it showed here. Mallett, who sometimes struggles with his start, got a pretty good one. However, he faltered towards the middle of the race before gaining a little ground towards the end. That’s my armchair analysis and Mallett, speaking to HawkSports, broke down the race further.
"I was aiming higher," Mallett said. "I went out and put my best foot forward and coach Woody did everything he could to get me prepared.
"It was one of my best starts ever. I got a little excited over the second hurdle and the others surged ahead of me. I executed my race, but that little mistake cost me a higher finish. I am disappointed, but I can't be very disappointed."
Didn't physically finish first but, I've won on so many different levels over the years. Thanks to Iowa T&F and the Hawkeye fans, I can say that I am the most decorated hurdler in Iowa history. So grateful that my coach (Bobby) came to support me in my final collegiate meet and special thanks to the love of my life @heavleigh23 for coming all the way out here and believing in me. I can't thank you enough. I love you. Operation Take over Iowa was a success. 5x All-American, 6x B1G Champion, Co-B1G 110mh record holder, UIowa School Record holder in 3 events, 3x UIowa MVP etc. Thank you to everyone that supported me. Much love.
Mallett ends his career as a six-time Big Ten Champion and a five-time All-American. That’s impressive, no matter how you look at it. He’ll have a chance to go professional and this likely isn’t the last time you’ll see his name somewhere.
If Mallett and the 4x400 crew was a high point for Iowa on the track at the NCAA Championships, Brittany Brown’s 200m very well could be considered the low.
still can't get over the finish of the women's 200 at the NCAA Championships pic.twitter.com/6wRKxmO9jz— Jordan Hansen (@jordyhansen) June 12, 2017
Sigh. She’s in lane three and as Oregon’s Deajah Stevens falls to the ground, she ends up in Brown’s lane. Now, to be sure, Brown was not going to win this race. She finished in 7th, but as you can see in the full race here, she was starting to come on over the last 50m. Best guess if Stevens doesn’t fall? Sixth place for sure, possibly even fifth.
Brown is a junior so she’ll have another chance to redeem herself but this was disappointing, plain and simple.
"I am a stronger finisher and so I was picking up speed," Brown said to HawkeyeSports. "Everybody saw what happened after that. She went down and I had to go around her. That was shocking and I thought I was going to get DQ'd. I hope she is ok and I wish it would have went better but it is what it is."
Reno Tuufuli and Laulauga Tausaga finished 5th and 7th in the men’s and women’s discus, respectively. Both underclassmen, they’ll be back at this event for the next couple years. Senior Avery Meyers received honorable mention All-American status in the discus.
Meyers wasn’t the only one — triple jumper Antwon James was honorable mention, and the 4x100 quartet of Christian Brissett, Mallett, O’Shea Wilson and Brendan Thompson were second-team.
In the long jump, both Wilson and Jahisha Thomas received second-team honors, with decathlon competitor Will Dougherty grabbing honorable mention. The men’s team as a whole finished 17th — it’s best place in 50 (!!!) years — while the women finished tied for 48th.
Overall, it was a good performance from head coach Joey Woody’s group. There’s going to be a good deal of returning talent next year and with the addition of the new indoor track, recruiting should continue to pick up as well.
There’s still a lot of work to do for the Hawkeyes to be a consistent national threat, but the important thing is that they’re moving in the right direction. A few little changes, a better throw here and we’re talking about some national champions.
Not a whole lot of other Hawkeye sports can claim to be quite that close to this type of level. Good work and keep climbing that mountain.
The #Hawkeyes finished the NCAA Championships yesterday. Here is a clip of what it was like! #ClimbTheMountain pic.twitter.com/ABBc89e4k9— Iowa XC T&F (@IowaXC_TF) June 11, 2017